You know what notifications are, right? If you answered yes then bare with me while I explain to someone who may have answered no. Notifications are the little beeps, buzzes or sound effects that your phone makes when it wants to alert you of someone trying to connect with you. Maybe it’s a text message “bee-dee-beep” or a “brrrruding” when there’s breaking news from your local news station. Or perhaps, it’s gotten to the point where it’s the “PIngggg” of someone sending you a Facebook message.
The notifications almost never stop and every single app you download to your phone will ask you if you want notifications turned on and you’ll probably say yes because what difference does it make. Plus, you want to know when someone’s trying to reach you. Strangely, if you turn OFF the notifications for Facebook Messenger it will ask you EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU OPEN THE APP to turn them back on.
About 10 months ago I decided I’d had enough of the dings, pings, zings and alert sounds on my phone. 99% of the time my ringer is on silent anyway so what difference does it make? At first, I was worried about missing a new follower on Twitter or missing a new message on Facebook or not hearing that I just got a text message from a friend but slowly and surely that anxiety went away. Finally, the pinging and ringing of the device attached to my fingertips and always in my pocket had seceded. Finally, I was anxiety free.
I know what you’re thinking, “What if work calls or texts?”, “What if your loved one is trying to reach you?” and all of those questions have come and gone for me. In fact, I took it upon myself to make sure that work never has to text or call me because I do my best to finish all of my work and leave it at work. I try to tie up all the loose ends so I don’t have to worry about it anymore. As for the loved ones, if it’s of dire importance they’ll call me.
Let’s not get carried away, I still check my phone quite regularly but I’m not torn away from whatever I’m interested in by pings of alerts and notifications. I’m not a slave to my phone anymore. Too many of us are consumed by the alerts. We can’t focus on our favorite TV show or our loved ones at dinner time because our phone is ringing and pinging and lighting up to let us know that someone liked our picture on Instagram or someone commented on our status on Facebook.
Notifications will never stop but life will. As morbid as it may sound, even after we pass away, our Facebook notifications will continue. Whether it’s friends posting stories of memories on our wall or the random person sending us 8-Ball Pool game requests because they don’t know they’re sending them. Notifications are running people’s lives even they fail to realize it and that’s why I did away with them.
I will not be torn away from REAL LIFE EXPERIENCES because my smartphone thinks that I need to be beckoned every single time someone in the virtual world wants my attention. As William Earnest Henley said, “I am the master of my fate, I am the Captain of my soul.” Thanks to this decision to turn off my notifications for every single app (yes, even text messages) opened my eyes to the world I’d been missing out on. It reminded me that what I want to focus on and what I want to do with my attention is up to me and nobody else. That’s true freedom. That’s truly living.
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