It all started on my birthday. I reluctantly woke up, as usual. I went to work, as usual. And I had the same cup of coffee I do every morning. My day seemed average at best. What set it apart was what happened next. Attempting to stuff my oversized smartphone into my undersized pocket, I missed, and watched, frozen in horror, as it fell to its death. A corner smacked the sidewalk, and just like that, it was over. With no other choice, I watched as the device that ran my life slowly died like a geriatric slug on a salt lick.
I’d mused over the possibility of eliminating my phone several times, but I was never able to for more than maybe one night. Getting rid of my phone was like ending a relationship. In the immortal words of Jerry Seinfeld, “Breaking up is like knocking over a Coke machine. You can’t do it in one push. You gotta rock it back and forth a few times, and then it goes over.”
It’s not too different than normal. It feels a little strange not having something so large in my pocket, constantly vibrating with the latest UD Communications and Marketing email or random Facebook message from a friend. Walking outside this morning, I noticed things more. It was a really beautiful day, and I could actually notice that for once instead of looking down or listening to something to drown out the sounds of nature.
I already feel more peaceful, not having to look at it constantly. Still, being phoneless has made some situations a little awkward; passing last weekend’s drunken hookup is all the more difficult without having something to look down at.
I have a strange sense of freedom about me today. I took the bus for the first time in a week and watched my fellow passengers clinging onto their phones like bastions of false hope.
On a lighter note, I learned my alarm clock is useless – I woke up on time through sheer willpower.
I’m missing appointments, forgetting deadlines. I never realized how much my phone actually ran my life. Yikes. There have been some positives. I’m writing more, getting things done faster, and using Spotify less. The only thing that hasn’t changed is reading … I’m doing just about as little of that as I did before.
This is tremendous. I haven’t felt more free in my life! I’m sleeping more, I’m running more, I’m enjoying things more. It’s been sad seeing how many people walk around staring down at their friends’ lives instead of looking at the beauty that surrounds them. SAD!
My phone came in the mail today. As much as I felt like I needed it back, having it back in my pocket was weird. It was burning a hole in there. It was uncomfortable. I got so irritated I had to move it into my backpack. I was so upset by its presence I was dreading turning it on again.
What I was able to realize was that as necessary as our phones can be, sometimes it’s healthy to live without them for a while. The world didn’t end because I couldn’t answer my texts. Nobody died, nobody thought I disappeared. In fact, I didn’t even miss that much. So my homework to readers is this: turn off your phone, try something new. Read a book or something.