I’ve officially diagnosed myself with thumb RSI (thanks, WebMD). RSI = repetitive strain injury where fine repetitive movements in the thumb cause tiny tears in the muscles and tendons. The tendons run out of lubrication as there is insufficient time to rest and recover.
I blame Instagram, but I mostly blame myself for making scrolling on my phone my default posture when I’m not doing anything else. This post will be brief, because I’m down a digit.
After several days in an existential crisis, I realized that my sore thumb was a symptom of a much larger problem. Not only am I abusing technology by wasting time on my phone, I am actively seeking those dopamine rushes when a new e-mail, text, or notification comes through. I’ve silenced all phone notifications and quit Facebook, but that doesn’t help much when you’re checking your phone every 5.8 seconds.
My first solution to this general feeling of emptiness is to find more hobbies. If I’m looking to my phone for entertainment too much, I should probably pick up oil painting. My husband gently reminded me that I’m already an aspiring baker, fairy gardener, recipe organizer, writer, crafter, reader, runner, and QuickBooks novice, so perhaps my problem was not too much time on my hands but a misplaced hope.
We live most of our days with a vague longing that something will come in the mail one day that will change our lives forever. It’s not just my phone I’ve been looking to for fulfillment. I keep hoping my life will provide me with an unexpected excitement that I know I’d despise if it came because the anticipation is greater than the realization.
My thumb needs time to rest and recover from my anxious scrolling and so do I. Instead of finding another distraction, my goal is to more fully participate in the hobbies, relationships and rituals I already enjoy.