When it happened, I felt a little embarassed that she caught me.
On Saturday morning, I drove to the local gym for my weight lifting class. In the middle of an hour session, the instructor asked us to add more weight to our barbell. Instead of listening and paying attention to the task at hand, my right arm reached for my purse, pulled out my phone, and checked my email and text messages.
While I checked my “important” messages, I heard a voice in surround sound bellow, “Oh, I love it. Multi-tasking at its best. Checking your phone in between lifting weights.” I look up, knowing the instructor’s sarcastic comments were directed toward me. The echo of her words prompted me to put my phone away and pretend like she wasn’t talking about me.
For most of the weekend, I pondered her comment and wondered why it had such an affect on me. I’ve noticed a trend in my own behavior especially when it comes to my phone. I have this constant need to check it at all times of the day. Sometimes I check the news, other times it’s my email or my google reader or my blog stats or to make certain I’m not missing a “important” phone call message.
It reeks of addiction, but that seems like too easy of an explanation for my taste. I’ve realized that I’m unable to cope with uncertainty. I’ve always craved to be in the know. I’m tuned into CNN or MSNBC, making certain that I don’t miss an important headline. When the information wasn’t readily accessible with the advent of phones and computers, I recall watching the nightly news or fetching the paper. If I’ve sent an email or text, I want to be aware of a possible response the moment it arrives. Why the need for this, I’m not quite sure. And why I need all of this sometimes extraneous information is still is a mystery to me.
I attribute part of this need to be plugged in as a reluctance to surrender to uncertainty. It’s why I don’t like to fly. Or why I need to have printed and emailed directions when I am going to a new place. When my husband has a date night planned, I need to know where we are going and what we are doing. I am uncomfortable with uncertainty although I recognize intellectually that there are very few things that I can control.
It’s the need to busy myself at all times so I don’t have the luxury of thinking about the future. Because thinking about five years or ten years from now, makes me feel anxious and nervous. It’s the ultimate monster of uncertainty.
But I’m looking at the gym embarassment as a wake-up call. I won’t be bringing in my phone to my workouts anymore. I’m going to try to be uncertain for at least one hour of everyday. No checking phones or computers or turning on the news.
It’s a small leap, but I am going to try to surrender to the uncertainty.
Are you constantly plugged in to your phone? Are you comfortable with uncertainty? How do you cope with not being in the know?
Image by Horia Varlan