Sunday, January 7, 2018

My 2018 New Year's Resolution!

I know my Canadian Winter is here when I can see wisps of my breath in the air.

This morning, in search of steaming orange pekoe tea and toast, I was meandering down the tree-lined street I grew up on.  I was headed to my parent's early '70's red-brick, ranch style house, sans baby blue shag carpet, and encountered this wintry scene.  I stepped out of my ice encased SUV onto crunchy snow and ice underfoot and snapped this pic with my phone.

Taking the photo in the cold, cloudless morning air was ironic.  The irony stems from the smartphone.  On the one hand, it captures this moment in a manner no words could ever convey to you, and on the other, my use of the phone has made me less and less aware of simple beauty around me.  It dings at me all day with notifications of texts, emails, Ebay reminders about auctions ending and sports updates.  There is seemingly no respite.

Lately, my phone has caused me to become a person I don't like.  Head down, constantly distracted and basically in a higher level of stress than I would have been had I never owned one.  A subtle hurry-sickness gradually casts a long shadow over much of our soul as we get updates on Trump's latest tweet, Pinterest, Instagram, NFL scores and whatever social media we have stupidly signed up for.  Most of the information is useless and will not make a difference in our lives, but somehow we want more and more.  Maybe our little phones make us feel intelligent and important when actually they cause the opposite.

The snowbound street got me thinking.  I need to put the phone down and focus on what is important.  Simplifying my life.  Staring at a tiny, handheld screen a couple of hours a day is not the answer.  Of course, I can't get rid of it because of work issues, but I can minimize its use big time.  So, today, I decided here in 2018, my New Year's Resolution is to disconnect for small periods of time like a morning, then an afternoon, and maybe a whole day, so that weekends become weekends again.

Today, I experienced technological withdrawal.  I shut the phone off, put it in a drawer in my basement office, and I went upstairs to the living room, grabbed a copy of The New Yorker and started reading.  But, reading was difficult because I felt the irrational need to have that cursed phone nearby.  Maybe there is a text or a call I will miss?  I got through the afternoon somehow.  It didn't help that my significant other sat across from me on her iPad in the sunny living room, but I somehow conjured up the courage to continue.

A view from downtown near my favourite coffee shop!
And you know what?  I felt better.  Eventually, I forgot the phone and just read some brilliant writing on what is going on in Gotham's art and theatre scene.

That's what's great about a pastime.  You lose yourself in it.  You forget about work and the stresses weighing down on us.  When I go golfing or fishing, I escape my worries.  So do you.  My challenge to you friend, is disconnect and get reacquainted with your favourite pastime.  You will feel much better.  Just ignore the irony of me having uploaded this post from my phone!

Happy New Year!

Jason Debly

P.S.  Don't worry, I won't be to preachy in my next post.  It will be back to some whisky reviews!


  1. I'm lucky enough to be able to put my phone on the bench when I get home after work, go outside, pick some fruit, play with the dogs etc. and not give it a second thought. Hate being on standby (on call) where phone doesn't leave my side. takes a day or two to get over it when my week is done. Cricket is my other escape. Enjoy watching now I've stopped playing. Don't need phone for that! At work... I need it when I'm around the plant be it for any work or safety issues. Hate social media even though Ive been put on Farcebook.... Starting to ramble... sorry.. I plan on doing more walking and without anything in my ears.
    AL(from OZ)

  2. I hear you Jason. We aren’t bad but look at the kids born into the technology. Flirting, going out, having a real conversation and making eye contact are becoming scarce. Yes absolutely we should all try disconnecting if not for an entire day for work related issues at the very least later in the evenings. Kids, spouse, loved ones, friends need us to be there physically yes’s but also mentally and emotionally. Turn the damn thing off. Life is short and it’s only when it’s too late or you are too old that most realize it... kids growing up, beauty of things around us, our relationships, TIME passes so fast already that it’s not worth looking at another tweet or text for. All the best in 2018 for you Jason. I think you’ve just gave us all an eye opener and something to think about. Now let’s get some whisky stocked in the liquor cabinet before prices skyrocket even more. Gio from MTL

  3. Wonderful little article. Surprised me that I am not the only one realizing that the world has more to it than a bloody gizmo. I personally never use mine except for a cell phone but what I see everywhere is pathetic. A good idea is to relax look around at the world then sit down with a good book/magazine and read albeit with a nice dram in hand.

  4. Thanks! I hate smart phones. They are turning people into socially inept creatures who miss out on the real world.


    Jason Debly