About a month ago, I got off Whatsapp. Completely.
And though there was a part of me that wasn’t sure how I’d survive without it, I’m now in a space than is not dictated to by nanoseconds of distraction. I now can truly give something my full attention.
Prior to this, when I’d glance over at my phone to check the time during a consultation, my eyes would automatically scan the messages that I may have received.
In the days when desktop computers first made their appearance, I read that receiving notifications about new email reduced your IQ by about 10 percent. Given that the average person checks their phone 150 times a day, I dreaded to think what Whatsapp was doing to my brain. But that wasn’t why I deleted the app. I did so, because it was time to have real human relationships.
As human beings, we tend to measure our worth by things like where we live, what we do and where we go. What we often forget is that all that is nothing without people to share it with. Family, friends, a significant other; these are the people that make up the threads of the tapestry that is our life. What I had started to realize is that my tapestry didn’t look quite as bright as I wanted it to look.
Whatsapp is a medium of communication that I would call low investment. Most people, when they Whatsapp you, are doing (at least) one other thing. And while they do want to be “talking” to you, they also don’t. It fills the time. It keeps us from getting bored. These are not the kind of conversations I want to have.
I want to have conversations because I want to have them, not just to pad out my already-preoccupied day. I want to talk to someone and express genuine concern about an issue they may be facing, rather than firing off a quick message. I want to resolve an argument before it even gains momentum. I want to tell someone I miss them in person.
And what’s happened in just a week? Everything.
I became acutely aware of who I was prioritizing and who was prioritizing me. I realised who’s meant to be in my life. And the conversations I’ve been having are deep and meaningful. It’s exactly how I want all my conversations to be, and why shouldn’t they be? Why shouldn’t they all enlighten me in some way about some thing?
They say that we’re the average of the five people we spend the most time with. I’m feeling that more and more now I’m off Whatsapp, especially now that I’m consciously choosing who those five people are.
And with that, I invite you to try this liberating experience.
And what about my next step? Well today, I took email off my phone. It almost feels scarier than getting off Whatsapp. I figure if there’s anything really, super-duper important, I’ll get a phone call. Otherwise I can check in a couple of times a day on a weekday and maybe once or twice on the weekend. What I get emailed really isn’t as important as I think it is. Being present with the people in my life is.
It’s just up to me to make that choice.