THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley

The illusion of happiness

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There are a couple of things I’ve been contemplating lately. A few months ago I got a screen time message on my smartphone from time spent with my face on that and it made me sick. So each of the last 8-9 weeks I’ve been reducing that number pretty well each week.

It was easy in some respects. First off the list was reading work email when not working. No, I’m not being lazy, I just said I’d instead be spending time they aren’t paying me for doing something else. The second was to not read the news a few times a day and cut down on the volume I was reading on that device. This is also a benefit health-wise because the eyesight that you will discover isn’t as good as when you were much younger when you get this old. And trying to read on that small screen can’t help. Then again I’m no optometrist but common sense tells me if you make it more difficult and have to strain then change devices.

Look away from the phone and love your pet. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ve never been a game player so there was nothing to cut out on that end. I like the weather but there is no need for that on a smartphone. All I need to do is determine if it’s a day the top can be put down on the Miata for a ride or not.

Texting is a hard one to cut back on but I have set some limits. If a conversation is going on for several minutes I suggest a phone call. I don’t feel the need to respond to all the memes people send. I don’t read every message CVS sends me. I don’t go back and reread things unless I’m looking for something specific.

I used to look at stocks once or twice a day to see what the market was doing. That’s gone because if I’m going to a market I’m getting something to eat. I’m not spending time on work chat through Slack and I’m not reviewing the online product when I’m not working.

I’m not browsing on the smartphone unless it’s a specific need, electronic receipts or address, phone number, or other things I might need to look up when mobile.

And each week I feel a little better when the time appears and it goes down again. I even left the house the other day and when I got to the car I realized it was charging and I said the hell with it, I’m going solo.

Then I had a flashback to our youth where we would cruise looking for each other meeting up and one spot, going to see if people were home, and then returning to the dead-end street or parking lot at the Church or one of the local watering holes. There were no cell phones or text devices or anything except conversations. Bits of information passed to each other like a puzzle. And then by some miracle, a group of 20-30 of you are all at the same spot having the best time partly because everyone was so lucky to hit the right spot at the right time.

Yes, I have shifted some activities to the computer but I’m so much more efficient at that device because I can see and type on it. But more have been just time reclaimed for other things. I thought these smartphones were wonderful but now I’m sure I’m happier the less that little box has control over my life.

Author: Mike Hartley

With a lifetime and a half in the Newspaper industry I'm preparing for my retirement career as an Artist, Writer, Photographer and Video content provider. I'm a proud father of two wonderful children and I'm still married to the first girl I fell in love with and probably only one that would have me.

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