I have been increasingly thinking about turning off the outside world because my phone buzzed at 07.18 this morning. Not for the first time, and as before, not my alarm, I had turned that off at 5am when I had finally given up on sleep because my mind was whirring, but by a text. A text that had been sent with a query that needed to be dealt with fairly urgently. This on the back of another interruption from the outside world last night at 10.15pm.
I am always attached to my phone. Where I go, it goes. If I am not holding it, it is in my pocket, and if I don’t have a pocket it is tucked in my bra. So when I see the little red light flashing that alerts me to a new message, I read it. That message is then in my brain and even if I resolve to not answer it, I am already stressing about dealing with it.
We live in an age now where we are constantly connected. The outside world comes into our house. Constantly. Whether we invite it in or not. Somebody pings an email because it is on their mind, late on a Friday night, they don’t want me to read it until Monday but it doesn’t just sit in my inbox, it is there on my phone. The phone I pick up on Friday night to order the curry. The phone that I use to text the teens. That message is there, and I read it. And then it is in my head.
Tweets / Facebook messages / texts / blog comments / phone calls. They are constant intrusions into our personal space these days and it had never really bothered me before. I embraced it and thought it was kind of cool.
But not anymore. I have had enough. I am done with constantly being connected. I am fed up with people assuming I am always there. And having my privacy invaded. I don’t mind during the day, in fact, during the day I love it, though I have taken steps to turn off some of my notifications. But not in the evenings anymore.
So much has happened recently that I have had to deal with that I physically can’t do it anymore. And mentally it is killing me. I am constantly on the go, I never get to stop. My alarm is set seven days a week, for different times. But actually because my mind is constantly on the go, constantly switched on, I am always awake before the alarm. I never get to lie in bed in the mornings and read a book. I get up because stuff needs doing. Things need to be sorted out. Dealt with. Organised. It all falls to me and, quite frankly, I am swamped.
I have reached saturation point and something has to give. So it is the outside world.
From now on, as of 9pm the phone is off. I am not checking it. I am not allowing the outside world in. Allison Pearson wrote a piece in the Telegraph on Saturday that actually made me weep. The headline was “No wonder women are cracking up” (please go and read it, it is a really important article) and the reason I read it and wept is because it is me. I actually had this post in draft as I started it last week and when I read that article I thought “bloody hell I should copy and paste that”. Allison says exactly what I want to say.
I joke that I am a bit bonkers, “a mad mum of three and wife of one”. But actually is it a joke? I have sometimes said to Mr B “I think I am on the verge of a breakdown” and in the past few weeks I have felt that more than ever. Stuff keeps happening. Stuff keeps coming into our house that needs to be dealt with that I don’t want to deal with. And it is me that has to deal with it.
I want it to stay at the end of the drive.
So at 9pm every night I am pulling up the draw bridge. The outside world can now wait in line until the following morning.