Tuesday, October 24, 2017


For the last number of years, I woke up in the morning and immediately grabbed my phone to check Facebook. With my recent exodus from social media, there is no more Facebook or twitter or anything to view with my morning eyes. Nevertheless, my conditioned mind still reaches for the phone and turns it on immediately to be reminded that the apps are gone. But even without the social matrix, there are still endless notifications. Little red dots with numbers to indicate how many emails or text messages I’ve received between the hours of midnight and 7am. There is almost no human who emails me during these hours, but still, every morning, the reminders are there. There recollection that I requested a nudge. Nudges from vistaprint, Disney, Guitar Tricks (I practice guitar for about 3 weeks each summer), picMonkey, amazon and a cascade of other entities that I’ve allowed to invade my inbox with shallow reminders.

In the spirit of detaching from all of the noise, I’ve found pleasure in the “unsubscribe” function at the bottom of these emails. There is a service called Unroll.Me that will bulk unsubscribe you from all of your reminders. Last month, they notified me that I had a whopping 913 subscriptions. My jaw dropped. How could this be? There is no way I could have subscribed to all of these services and I don’t receive 913 unique emails each month. At least I don’t think that I do. It’s extremely tempting to push the button and let Unroll.Me do my dirty work, but I think it is important for me to manually click that unsubscribe button at the bottom of each email as they come in. I dug this hole and it’s my responsibility to climb out. I’ve become so conditioned to react in the way the internet tells me to react, and I’ve clearly allowed my brain to be rewired. However, what can be programmed in one direction can certainly be unprogrammed, and then reprogrammed in a different direction.

So, moving forward, I’m taking back my inbox. I’m manually deleting all of the subscriptions that I don’t really need (which is most). I’m reinforcing my decision one click at a time and forming new pathways in my brain that favor simplicity, minimalism and detachment. Even more importantly, I’m leaving my phone in the kitchen at night, so that my morning routine no longer starts with a screen and a little red notification. 

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