So if Week 1 was the accident that kicked off Five Day Discipline then Week 2 was the week that showed me that I didn’t have to overthink this thing for it to be effective. After my failed attempt at eating at a new restaurant every day the week before (curse you, ribs!) I was ready to give Week 2 the proper care and attention that it needed. Except that’s not really true. I had been slowly mulling over the idea of continuing a new discipline each week but I hadn’t decided what I was actually going to do. The weekend flew by, as it tends to do, and I found myself on Monday morning knowing I wanted to try something new but unsure of what.
That particular Monday just so happened to be my wife’s birthday and she wanted to celebrate by staying at a hotel in Fort Worth, going to her favorite restaurant (Joe T. Garcia’s) that evening and then going to the zoo the next day. The plan was for me to meet her and the kids out there once I got off work. Great. Except I still hadn’t chosen my Five Day Discipline. So, I did what any former good Boy Scout* would do: I decided at the very last minute what my Five Day Discipline would be for the week.
Like the previous week, my Five Day Discipline for Week 2 was very circumstantial. I got off work, met my wife and kids at a park in Fort Worth, went to dinner at Joe T. Garcia’s and then went to the hotel to put the kids to bed and relax for the evening. Except if you have kids and you’re staying in a hotel room together you don’t just get to put them to bed and then relax. You’re in the same room which means they don’t sleep. So, we decided to turn the TV on and lo and behold a Christmas miracle happened: Full House, one of the greatest sitcoms ever, was on. Excellent. If you aren’t sure which of the late 80s early 90s sitcoms Full House is, it’s the one that features an uncharacteristically wholesome Bob Saget, the A-dorable Olson twins (“You got it, dude!”), possibly the world’s most handsome man John Stamos (Have mercy!) and the highly underappreciated Dave Coulier dropping goofy quotables such as “Cut. It. Out.” My wife and I grew up watching it but our kids had never seen it. To our joy they loved it. And to the joy of the whole family we lucked into three episodes in a row.
Once the last episode had played it was really bedtime. The room was dark, the kids were all drifting off to Slumberland and I sat there deciding what to do with the rest of my evening. I was tired but not tired enough to go straight to bed. Should I wait until the kids were safely asleep and turn the TV back on? Grab my phone and surf the web? I wasn’t quite sure where my phone was. I thought for a moment and Eureka! My Five Day Discipline for this week would be not touching my phone once I got the kids down to sleep until I woke up the next morning.
Five Day Discipline: Don’t pick up my phone after my kids go to bed (roughly 8pm) until I wake up the next morning.
What I learned: Nobody really needs to get a hold of me. Granted, an emergency could have happened during that week but if it had my wife was keeping her usual vigil over her phone so I could be reached if necessary. Another thing to note is that while the world doesn’t stop for you-most of the time nothing of consequence is happening. Whatever gets posted on Instagram or Facebook might be entertaining but all of it’s content is there in the morning same as it was the night before. Except stories. I get that. But disappearing stories are just a sliver of the social (media) scene.
My normal routine is to put my phone away the moment I get home from work and then not pick it up again until after my kids go to bed. Once they are in bed I often grab it and begin the mindless scrolling. Week 2 was just a good week of taking time out of my evening to focus on other things besides my phone. I read more, got stuff done around the house and had more conversations with my wife. All positive things. There is life outside of your smart phone. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to the smart phone it is an incredibly useful tool, but every once in a while it’s nice to Cut. It. Out.
*I was actually a bad Boy Scout. I dropped out of Boy Scouts after one year and I still don’t know how to tie any knots. I’m an introvert who got homesick well into Middle School so that first year of Boy Scouts was rough. I didn’t mind the meetings but I wasn’t fond of the camping trips that took me away from home. One particularly memorable moment happened on a long camping trip when somehow a pair of my underwear slipped out of my bag. Not just any underwear-“tighty whities”. The most embarrassing undergarment an adolescent boy can wear. Did I mention that they were rolled up and sealed in a sandwich baggy? (Thanks, Mom!) Had I worn boxers or boxer briefs it probably wouldn’t have been an issue but some of the older Scouts got a hold of my underwear and were making fun of it as they tried to figure out who it belonged to. Thank god my name wasn’t written on the tag. Obviously, I denied they were mine. I never went camping with the Scouts again and didn’t sign up the next year. And that was the last year I was a Boy Scout.