A Moveable Feast
I'm sixty years old, and I love my iPhone.
I've had one since the first one, since 2007, and have never looked back. The current model sitting horizontally in a stand, propped up beside my MacBook Air as I write this, is an iPhone X (that's ten, not X). It has a gorgeous screen that is letting me keep up with the Masters golf tournament as I work on some projects this afternoon. It has Face ID, which lets you simply glance at the phone to unlock it. It works seamlessly with my favorite software to get things done, suggest things to me and anticipate needs before I ask. It's a tiny miracle between two sheets of glass.
All that is cool, but do you know what the feature is that I cherish the most in an iPhone, the one that I use over and over again? It's the ability to change things about the display, as many times and in as many ways as I desire.
Do I want only the apps that I use every day to be on the homescreen? Fine. Do I want all apps visible all the time, on successive screens? Piece of cake. Do I want to group them by function, all on the first screen? Easy. Do I want no apps at all on the first screen so that I can only look at my favorite photograph there before I dive in? Nice.
The ability to change things on a whim for one day or one week or one year, to move things around, change the brightness, change icons, alter notifications, makes me happy. I am a very obsessive person, too much I know, and change both makes me nervous and makes me feel good at the same time.
Life itself is not static. It os constantly changing and moving and being modified, and this is reflected by the tiny microcosm on my favorite tech gadget.
I am sixty, and by virtue of having reached that age, I realize that some of my desires, routines and schedules are relatively fixed. They feel comfortable to me. I don't really want to change them. So I try to keep things the same. I think we often fear change and what it will bring. We don't want to modify our lives. The funny thing is, whether we move things around and change them or not, life goes on. Much like my iPhone, which doesn't care at all about which icon is where, life doesn't care how I try to make things different or bend them to my own will. It is simply life. It simply is. It goes on.
When I want things to work differently on my gadget, I change them. For a while, I am happier. Then, maybe I change them again. Repeat.
In life, we try to hold on to the past, to keep things static. We fear change, We fear growth.
I just watched Elizabeth at 90 last evening, a wonderful documentary about the Queen and how her family reacted to some very old never before seen footage of her from the time she was a very young girl. One of her grandsons paid her and her husband a compliment when he said (I paraphrase) that they had been so successful because they stayed enthusiastic, curious, and flexible.
One of the important lessons that my gadget teaches me is that no matter how many times I move things around, structure things differently and change the way it looks, the underlying system, and life itself, remain remarkably the same. No matter the filter, no matter the manipulation, flexibility and adaptation to life remain key.
Happiness today is flexibility.