The Beacon

{I’m struggling lately with how to determine if my thoughts and feelings are valid, if they have any basis in reality or if they are simply constructs of a tired and overworked mind. Most of the time I just push them down and hope that if I ignore them for long enough they’ll go away. Sometimes I write about them. This is one of those times.}

My phone is a beacon. This is true both literally and figuratively.

In the mornings my phone actually lights the way through the pre-dawn darkness. I try to have all my clothes sitting neatly by the bathroom door before I go to bed but I inevitably need to sneak back into my bedroom and fumble around for my glasses or some other necessity. The light on my phone gets my safely through the halls and down the stairs, it helps me find my shoes, and it allows me to open the garage door without impaling myself (we really need to get a new garage door). At school it sees me through the dark parking lot and across the pitch black expanse of concrete between the campus and our “trailer park” of modular classrooms. So much of my morning routine happens under cover of darkness and I’m always thankful for the light on my phone.

My phone is also my lifeline to others. It is my primary portal to the outside world. Some days I exchange more words with my husband via my phone than I do in person. On the rides to and from work I listen to music or audiobooks so I don’t feel so alone. At home I take pictures of my kids so I can share them with my friends because they are all so far away. Through my phone I get glimpses of other people’s lives via FB or blogs. Sometimes I even leave comments, which gives the impression that I’m interacting socially. Loneliness is a constant companion these days, but without my phone it would be absolutely unbearable.

I literally don’t know what I’d do without this small, dense rectangle of circuits and glass. It keeps my life in order. It’s where I keep track of everything: my commitments, my to-do lists, what I need to get at five or six different stores, my spending, my exercise. It’s where I jot down tracking and confirmation numbers, contact information, reminders. It’s where I access my email, heck, it’s even where I access my financial institutions. I frequently shop using apps on my phone.

I can’t decide if this is a pathetic admission, that I am so completely dependent upon a piece of technology, that without my phone I’d be wholly unproductive and feel very much alone. It’s the truth, though, so I guess, on some level, it doesn’t matter how embarrassing it might be.

Life is crazy these days. I’m living at a frenetic pace, rushing from one obligation to another. I’m trying to carve out time for myself, and in many ways I’m succeeding, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. I never manage to fill my cup. It’s like I’m stopping to get gas but I’m only filling my tank to the quarter-full line and then driving around, watching the gauge, aware that I can’t get too far if I don’t stop again soon. I never have the time or money to fill it all the way to the top, so I keep putting in just enough to get the next few things done and then the whole cycle starts over.

But none of it would work, it would all fall apart, without my phone. And I’m not sure what that means.

What does your phone mean to you?


  1. You took the words out of my head. I would be so lonely without my phone (calls, texts, Facebook), but I am embarrassed how attached I am to it.

  2. My phone enables the introvert in me. When I have it, I can avoid awkward conversations with strangers. It is all of the things you stated too, but for me I wonder if it isn’t a crutch that I don’t necessarily need.

  3. I’m guessing you’re not alone on this – I definitely am very attached to my phone. Since getting my new one and only having 1 charger for it, it’s been HARD for me to have it 5′ from my bed plugged into the charger instead of right on my headboard for me to grab without getting up. Sad, but true.

  4. Wow, this (and the comments) are interesting. For a long time, I had a love-hate relationship with my phone. I loved the connectivity it gave me, but I hated the intrusions – whether it was overnight, or when I was out an busy and doing something where I didn’t want to be reminded of other stuff, difficult stuff. I still do have a love-hate relationship with my phone, though the hate (for various reasons) is rapidly ebbing these days.

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