We all have our daily habits. Our monotonous cycles that we go through on a daily basis, from the moment you wake up, to the moment you go back to bed. Some people, as soon as they wake up, look at their phone and scroll away the morning. Others wait to have breakfast or a quick jog before they decide to check their phone. My cycle had been pretty regular ever since I got a phone, I get up and I check if I missed any messages from the moment I fell asleep the night before, no social media, just messages. I used to think that I was addicted to my phone and I would try to limit my time with it, delete certain apps, and even turn it off at a certain hour. Eventually, I gave in and just used it how I always do with no guilt or judgement. I figured if I am using it for things I need and not just scrolling mindlessly through then it was okay and even efficient.
That was until I was forced to live without it, by nature. I was in the lower part of the island, in Yauco, when Hurricane Maria hit us. No electricity or running water just, for now, silence after the storm. People sheepishly walking out of their houses to access damages and looking around at what was left. The few days after the storm my phone died and all that I had left to do was sit and read. Being an avid reader I didn’t have much problem not having my phone around, in fact, I felt weirdly peaceful. In my phone would supposedly be my school assignments, To do list’s, Emails, and the hopes that the guy I liked had texted me. All of these things buzzing in my head everyday became my normality and with the storm they all eventually died along with my phone. There were no worries and no screens. Only books, coffee, and indifference, my days were serene and warm. Some nights, as soon as the sun went down I would go down with it after some light reading. Other nights I would lie in the driveway and look at the stars. Stars I haven’t seen for years due to light pollution on and around the island. I would wake up without a care and go to sleep without a thought for tomorrow; It was the happiest moments of my life.
The light came back and my worries along with it. I started to realize all that had happened around me. Everyone that needed help during the storm, and missed phone calls would soon explain the actual terror that was happening to people in the island. I realized that even though I was happy, I was oblivious. I wasn’t helping any one but the people in my own neighborhood, I didn’t know what had happened pass my street. The web was an important tool that was being used to show who needed help and how urgent; people without water or roofs could look for help on Twitter, Facebook, and even Instagram. The web even helped expose flaws and corruption in our government as well as in FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency).
Like a lot of things in life, there’s a good and a bad to everything and as long as we do what we think is right, or what makes us happy with the Web, then I believe that the time on your phone is well spent just don’t let the web consume your life. Use these things for good as much as you use them for fun. Connect with family, friends, and people in need. If you fell like you don’t want to use your phone for a while, indulge in the silence; if you feel like you should be doing something for a cause, start a help website. Don’t be afraid because the internet or Web only ever have as much power as we give it because we are the creators and sustainers, Remember that and let yourself be happy.
-With love, Nahir.