The week before Christmas I broke my tablet. While it will still turn on, the screen is so shattered I can’t run my finger across it without risking a cut. I am devastated. I keep reliving the moment when I set it down on a counter because someone asked for something and I quickly realized I had misjudged my place in space and missed. It fell quickly to the hard floor, screen down, and smashed. As it was the week before Christmas and I had spent way too much money on gifts for my family I knew, instantly, that I would be without my beloved iPad for some time. And I cried. Well first I imitated Steve Carrell, then I cried.
Now, I know how I sound. A person who cries over the loss of her tablet sounds like a person who may be a bit too “plugged in”. I may be giving you the impression that I am someone who has too much “screen time” and who is too dependent upon this device for her happiness. Well…yeah.
My tablet was vitally important to keeping my life organized. All of my email accounts are synched to that iPad. Any meetings and commitments are transferred to my calendar app with a quick touch. My calendar app is set up with alerts and reminders and alarms to keep me aware of and on time for meetings, lessons, and appointments. I have an app filled with lists (Wunderlist). These lists were also linked to my calendar. I have a list of bill due dates, work tasks, home tasks, and volunteer tasks. I have an app for notes that I take throughout the day (Evernote). The app organizes my notes into notebooks so I have notebooks documenting my work with students, I have a notebook filled with notes from every meeting I have attended, and I have notebooks with notes related to personal tasks and commitments. I need to take notes and I love having them all in one spot. I remember nothing without them.
I also use my iPad to read. I read several blogs religiously and I use an app that aggregates all of those posts into one spot (Feedly). I can then like and share posts to social media through that app. I also use an app that aggregates news and blogs related to my profession so I can stay current with ideas, tools, and topics related to my work (Flipboard). I read books through the Kindle App and I use Twitter and Pinterest both professionally and personally to find blog posts, activity ideas for work, and journal and news articles.
Finally, I use my tablet for fun. I have several mind-numbing games I play to relax and I follow my friends’ and family members’ lives through Facebook and Instagram. While I have most of these apps and games on my phone (along with my calendar and email), looking at the smaller screen begins to tire my eyes and brain after only a short time. I certainly cannot read the volume of fiction and non-fiction that I am used to reading on such a small screen.
So I am counting the days until I can justify the cost of a new iPad. In the meantime, I am trying to use my phone to keep me organized and on time and I found the power chord to charge up my old Kindle so I can read my novels. My laptop will help me keep up on some of the non-fiction reading.
This tablet-free time has helped me realize something important, however. I did, indeed, spend too much time on my iPad. Since I’ve been without it I have, surprisingly, filled my “screen time” with much more worthwhile activities. I’ve spent more time chatting with my daughter during her bath time (instead of mindlessly crushing candy while she played). While cooking dinner, instead of finding something to read while I stir and saute I’ll grab a daughter as she walks by and talk with her about her day or help her study her spelling words. Instead of being engrossed in my blog reading while my husband watches television, I have become more engaged in the programs he prefers (documentaries and sports) leading to more discussions and shared interests in the evenings. I am not as active on social media throughout the day as it drains my cell battery life and I’m not always near a charger. This has led to a bit of relief since, let’s face it, some of the news and statuses we see on Facebook and Twitter can be disappointing, depressing, and infuriating.
Has this revelation lessened the angst and sense of loss I have felt since losing my tablet? No. If anyone hears of a sale on iPads somewhere, please let me know. Will I bury my head back into the screen when I replace it? I hope not. In fact, I think I’ve found a New Year’s Resolution that may stick.
The author was not paid to endorse any products or apps mentioned in this post.