There’s a commercial, now, that runs through a series of people so focused on their phones that they’re ignoring the world around them. I’d call it great (maybe even clever!) were it not just a build-up for a different phone that’s supposed to magically bring us back to the world around us.
Right. Nice try.
But there’s a scene in this commercial that stood out to me: a woman (who looks suspiciously like a mannequin) stands ignored by her husband in their bedroom. This should seem especially strange when you see that she’s rocking some kind of slinky lingerie and looking very upset that her dear husband hasn’t even noticed.
He’s on the phone, after all.
It’s a silly commercial, like I said, but those few seconds alone got me thinking.
What happened to the bedroom? What happened to that haven of peace and quiet? What happened to the one room in the house that was a good place just to get away from it all?
“It” creeped in. The screens got in. I think it’s time we kick them out.
KEEPING OUT THE SCREENS (AND THE CLOUD, WHILE WE’RE AT IT)
Do you text in the bedroom?
Or, better yet, open the laptop in bed? Have you ever found yourself sitting quietly under the sheets with your significant other, both of you with eyes locked on the television screen — not on each other?
Doesn’t that seem strange?
Doesn’t that seem impersonal? What happened to the bedroom? What happened to the one room in the house where two people could truly take a step back from the world and focus on the one they loved?
The cloud crept in. You sit in bed, now, but you’re not alone — your Facebook friends are with you. You lock eyes on your iPhone and skim through the latest updates, (vaguely) interested in seeing what other people are doing, when your time could be far better spent focusing on the people that genuinely matter.
That’d be you. And your husband/wife. Every minute in the cloud is a minute away from your significant other, that person you care for most. And even if you’re single, the point still stands: every minute in the cloud — every minute with a screen — is a minute not spent on the person who should be most important in your life: you.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Unplug that stuff. Move it.
It’s as simple as that, really. Move all of those tech toys into another part of the house. Designate your bedroom as an official “screen-free” zone, and try really hard to never bring your phone inside it. Considering leaving your cellphone on the kitchen counter overnight.
That might seem drastic, but I promise it’s not. It’s actually pretty simple. You’re taking back your bedroom, and you’re doing it by disconnecting from the outside world — that never-sleeping Internet that has sneaked into our homes over the last decade.
And once you’re screen-free, you should find those evening hours to be ripe with possibility. Here are a few ideas on things you can do:
1. Read. When you get ready to go to sleep at night, don’t turn on the TV or flip open the laptop. Read a book. Stop watching reruns of American Idol and focus on improving yourself via some of the greatest tools we own: books.
2. Talk. What do you have to lose? With the TV absent and the computers left in the living room, you might find yourself in an interesting situation: you have to talk to your significant other. There are no easy distractions here. You’ll need to have a genuine conversation — maybe the kind you haven’t had in years — and rediscover, bit by bit, how you and your significant other operate without the constant flicker of a laptop screen beside you.
3. Meditate. Don’t get wrapped up in definitions of what it is. Just do it. Sit comfortably with your legs crossed and back straight and try and listen to your mind for awhile. It’s not easy, certainly, in today’s world of constant distractions, but taking time to focus on yourself can have incredible benefits.
4. Sex. It goes without saying, I hope. (And Adam Baker over at Man Vs. Debt claims couples without a TV in the bedroom are two to three times more likely to have sex. He has kids, so I’m willing to take his word for it.)
5. Sleep. Why not go to bed early for a change? Your body will thank you for it, and you’ll find that you have a far easier time snoozing when you don’t watch TV for an hour before bed.
6. Write yourself a letter. The post calls for a computer, but there’s no reason you can’t do it with pen and paper.
You’ll notice the common trend here: all of these things benefit you and yours in some significant way. That’s not to say you won’t learn something by watching the History channel late at night, but what would you rather gain: a passing interest in a subject not particularly relevant to your life, or a meaningful conversation with the person you love most?
Easy choice, right?
IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU
It’s your room.
I can’t stress that enough. Our homes, now, don’t always feel like the one place in the world where we can truly get away from it all. Anyone with kids can probably agree with that, especially since finding a nice, quiet place to relax and just be you can be so difficult in a crowded house.
Take back your bedroom.
Decide, now, that you want a room for you. You want a room where you can read or work or talk or just sit still for a few damn minutes and really, truly live in the moment.
Decide, now, that you want a room for you and yours. You want a room where you can focus solely on the other most significant person in your life, a room where you won’t spend any more nights sitting together and staring at a shiny screen. If you’re living with this person, live with this person. Don’t waste any more minutes being near them but not with them.
And decide, now, that you don’t want to reach for the laptop. You don’t want to see what’s on TV. Hell, you don’t want to interact with the cloud in any way, bringing your Twitter feed or Facebook friends into the one room in the house that should be just for you.
Take some time for you. Take some time for yours. And take back your bedroom, now, and turn it into what it should be: a place where the world can’t find you, a place where — for those few hours each night — there is nothing else in the world save for you and the person you love most.
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