Day 18 is to Meditate. Spoiler alert: I didn't do it. I know meditation brings many people a lot of joy and meaning. I know that some very high-functioning, productive people like Yuval Harari swear by it. I know some good evidence (albeit tainted by low adherence rates) exists for its practice.
Here's the thing: I hate it. Every time I've tried meditation, on my own or in groups, I've heard a voice inside my head yelling "You're wasting your life. You're wasting your life. YOU'RE WASTING YOUR LIFE," over and over. I don't think that counts as an insight.
There is one exception. I have trouble going to sleep at night. It's not a new problem. Once upon a time, someone taught me to repeat a mantra to myself as I lie in bed. I take a deep breath and think to myself, "I'm relaxing my feet, I'm letting go." I exhale and do my best to completely relax my feet. Then I take another breath and think to myself, "I'm relaxing my calves, I'm letting go." I exhale and relax my calves. And so on, until I'm either asleep or to the top of my head. It works. But I don't think true meditation is supposed to put me to sleep.
And since the entire reason I'm trying to break up with my phone is to stop wasting my life in a different way, I refuse to meditate. And I damn sure refuse to download a "meditation app." Using my phone, which I'm trying to free myself of, to engage in an alternative activity that also makes me feel bad is what they call a "double whammy" in my neck of the woods. No thanks.
So on to Day 19: Prepare for Your Trial Separation. Catherine tells me to identify what it is I'll be taking a break from. She recommends going screen-free, including movies, computers, and television. I'm not sure I want to do it. My kids loooooove going to movies, and A Wrinkle in Time just came out, and I'm not sure I want to miss seeing it with them. Plus, Catherine says to make plans for fun things to do. So I'm making plans to see a movie.
Then I'm supposed to tell people what I'm doing and get them on board. This is actually pretty easy. I don't want to be obnoxious about this. My goal here isn't to make people think I'm superior. And I suspect people who can't get ahold of me will just call my wife. She recommends setting a phone greeting to let people know I'm phone-free, but I don't think I'll need it. I don't have a landline, so I can't forward calls.
Preparing with hard-copy instructions is next. I have a bike race Saturday that I'll be using my Garmin to navigate. No phone needed. But Sunday, I'm expecting no travel. So I shouldn't need a map.
Catherine says to carry a pen and paper for a "to-phone" list once I'm done. I've already started doing this, so I'm set.
Podcasts: those are gonna be hard. I'm not sure how I'll brush my teeth without the sweet, sweet, honey-filled timbre of Mike Pesca's voice in my ear. But I'm committed to giving it a shot.