I upgraded to a new smartphone the other day, an iPhone 6. It’s much snazzier than my iPhone 4; it has new features I will likely never figure out. The best part is the added storage space and the camera—it’s awesome. I can now take as many photographs as I would like. Snap, snap, to my heart’s content.
To get the phone up and running, I did a bit of clean up: deleting apps I wasn’t using, downloading apps I’ve wanted to try but that only worked on an upgraded operating system, and organizing photos and videos. Decluttering, if you will. In doing so, I realized what I appreciate most about my smartphone:
- Pictures and videos of my kids. The kids are always thrilled to look at pictures of themselves when they were very small, and today, as we celebrated the Day of Leftovers (as important as the actual Thanksgiving holiday), we snuggled on the sofa with our cousins, watching videos from Thanksgivings past. In the videos, little R and G toddled about, singing songs, laughing, and learning to ski. Those videos shocked me with how much they have changed in the past few years. A flip phone can’t do that!
- My Kindle app. I recently downloaded this app onto my phone, and it has changed the way I read. I still prefer to hold a book in my hands, turning the pages as I progress through a story. For a busy mom on the go, though, the Kindle app has been a lifesaver, allowing me to skip back and forth through books in waiting rooms, in line at the grocery store, and waiting for the elevator in the parking garage.
- My C25K app. To find this app, I ask my friends on Facebook for running app recommendations, and universally, C25K was offered up. It’s been a helpful way to get me to realize that a) I can get back into running and b) running doesn’t have to be a chore. I’m one week away from finishing an eight-week training program (with a break in the middle for my trip to India) and being ready to run a 5k!
And, of course, there are things I’m conflicted about:
- I can find the answer to any question at any time. And my kids know this. I wonder if I am missing some teachable parenting moments by not sending them to a book to figure out their questions. Of course, since their questions tend to be all about a) Star Wars, b) Legos, or c) unicorns, it’s probably good I can access Google no matter where we are or what we’re doing.
- GPS. I can go either way on this one. When I got lost walking the streets of Mumbai, India last month—after misreading my map, it was the GPS that got me back on track. But part of me misses the days when people would figure things out on their own. Following a map is how I found my way around Boston when I first moved here years ago, and I’m nostalgic for the “old school” way of getting to know a new place.
- It’s too easy. It’s too easy to check my email, hop on social media, and become distracted by my phone. I try hard not to use the phone in front of my kids, but I fail too often. What would my days be like without a smartphone? I wonder about that.
Despite my conflicts, I’m sticking with my iPhone…and I might just convince my Mom to get one, too. Now, that would be a holiday miracle!