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Last night, while I sat on my couch for four hours before falling asleep halfway through 500 Days of Summer, I realized something. No, it wasn’t that I was a washed up old man who went to bed by 10 p.m. on Friday nights. I realized that last weekend when I left a Vegas nightclub in the middle of the headliner’s set. And no, it wasn’t that I found both Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel to be the most annoying acting duo to ever grace the big screen, although I did fall asleep out of self-defense against that horrible movie. It was something much worse.
I realized that I was (attempting to) watch a movie on my TV, browse Reddit on my computer, and scroll Twitter on my phone, all at the same time. And I was failing in all my endeavors. I kept having to rewind to figure out what the hell was going on (forcing myself to watch more of the two main characters’ punchable faces), I wasn’t understanding what the Reddit post was about, and if you saw any of my tweets from last night, well, they weren’t great. Basically, I was fulfilling what all baby-boomers believe about millennials. I was hooked on the screens.
My name is Nick, and I’m a technology addict.
I’ve noticed this addiction manifest itself in a variety of ways, most notably, my phone. Guys, I can’t put that thing down. I don’t know if it’s the high-def screen of my iPhone X (not-so-humble brag), the fact that I’m constantly seeking validation through social media likes, or that I essentially have all the media in the world in my pocket, but I swear I can’t go five minutes without using it.
I’ve walked into light posts. I’ve had it slapped out of my hand for checking twitter in the middle of an argument with my girlfriend. It took me months to finish Narcos, not because I was slow at binging, but because I had to rewind every ten minutes to actually read the subtitles. That’s just not a phone-friendly show. Hell, just a couple weeks ago I was so distracted by the comments on one of my columns that I locked myself out in the snow with just my laundry and a thin pair of joggers to protect me. Did I continue to browse social media while I knocked desperately for someone to let me in, racing to intake more useless information as my fingers slowly grew too numb to use? Of course. I was out there for like 20 minutes, and I was bored as hell.
During the course of my battle with this addiction, I’ve made all the excuses. “I have to stay up to date with current events.” Please. There’s not that many current events. Checking the news twice a day is more than enough. “I have to engage with my followers.” I’d be doing the world a service if no one ever had to read another one of my dumb tweets. “How am I going to find my way around without Google Maps?” This one’s valid. I have the sense of direction of Christopher Columbus. Without my phone I just walk confidently in a random direction until I find a bar and claim that was my destination all along.
But throughout all those signs and excuses, I never hit rock bottom until last night. The worst part wasn’t that I was simultaneously using three pieces of technology and failing to intake any of the medias I wanted to. The worst part was that I was still bored. I was so bored I actually reached for my phone while playing on my phone. That’s not a good sign. I had literally every single piece of human existence at my fingertips three times over, and it wasn’t enough. My tolerance is too high. Nothing can quench my thirst for a fix. So today, I’m turning my life around. I’m beating my addiction.
The road to clean living will be long, as evidenced by the fact that I stopped four times to browse twitter while I wrote this column. It’s been 30 minutes. That’s not a good sign. However, I have some tactics I’m going to use. When watching a movie or show, I’m going to put my phone in the other room, knowing that the only thing more powerful than my addiction is my laziness. I’m going to try to look my girlfriend in the eyes when she’s talking to me every once in a while. I’m going to meditate? I guess? I’m not sure about that one. I might try and eat a meal without letting it get cold while I desperately search for something I haven’t seen on Netflix. Maybe I’ll even go on a run without music. Just kidding. I would rather die.
Mark this day in your calendar as the day I finally began my path to beating my addiction. In just a few months, I’m confident I’ll be able to go for a hike without my phone, watch a game without live-tweeting it, or even view a feature-length film without being forced to rewind. I’m definitely not going to stop sharing my shitshow of a life on Twitter and Snapchat though. Don’t worry about that. .