I was challenged today to spend the entire day without my beloved iPhone. I didn’t think I would be successful at this, but the day is nearing an end and it has remained in my room the entire time. No phone calls (not that I make those really, well, ever…), no texting, no phone internet, no calendar…Scary? Just a little. But I thought to myself, now really…how hard can this actually be?
I didn’t really think prior to today about all of the things I do on my phone. This morning I went through the Starbucks drive thru. However, I didn’t have my Starbucks card because it’s on my phone. I had to pay with cash for the first time in almost two years, and I earned no rewards towards my gold member status. I then rode in a car and had absolutely nothing to do except for talk. I discovered that I talk a LOT when I don’t have my phone, about completely random things.
I went shopping and was in the fitting room trying to remember what the balance was in my checking account to calculate whether I had enough clothing budget left this month to buy two skirts instead of one. But I bank on my phone. Really. There’s an app for it. I pay my bills with my phone, I deposit checks with my phone, and I check my balance with my phone. So, just to be safe, I bought one skirt. (Oh, and a new camo scarf that I can’t wait to find an excuse to wear somewhere.) But one thought I did have in the fitting room was that it was nice to not have to worry about leaving my phone places or having it fall out of my pants pocket as I was changing.
Everywhere I went today, I found myself reaching for my phone for something—Facebook, banking, my email, reading, gaming et cetera. We live in a society where we have the technology to remain connected continuously. We know too much about each other lives, and we share too much with each other at times. I, personally, seem to rely on my phone to communicate and receive information about the people in my life rather than getting it from, well, physical life. Without it, I seem to be paying more attention to the world around me. I was actually looking up at people when I was out and about instead of looking at my phone. I noticed things today while shopping that I don’t remember noticing before. I’ve gotten a lot of reading done. And really, I’m not as bored as I thought I would be.
One sad downside is that I have learned to rely on my phone for getting news. I didn’t know about the plane crash in San Francisco today until I opened my laptop to write this post. I like to be up on my news; this tells me that I need to find secondary ways in which to review it.
I miss my phone. That’s for sure. I couldn’t finish the book I started on my Kindle last night because it’s an app on my phone. But I got to read a good old fashioned paperback, which was somehow even better. And now I’m writing in a completely undistracted fashion, because if my phone is lighting up and notifying me of the world, I don’t know about it. I can get some work done on my memoir; I can do a little more of what I refer to as “real” reading. I’d be interested in doing a complete unplug at some point, perhaps going on a camping trip in the middle of nowhere for a day or two. I think it could do everyone good to disconnect and unplug, even just for a little while.
My phone to me is like a baby blanket, an inner security, and a connection to the world. Without it, I do feel alone in some ways. But I feel more grounded as well. I’m really quite shy; I use my phone to get away with texting, emailing and Facebook messaging to avoid conversational situations in which I find myself unsure. I don’t want to see people’s reactions to the things I think a lot of the time, because I care much too much about their opinions. So I write. Everything. But this has only encouraged my difficulty in making conversation. Today has shown me that I need more face time. And not the type on my phone either—the actual living, breathing, in person face time. People do care about me, and they care about what I have to say. I shouldn’t be afraid to actually talk to them. What’s the worst that will happen?
I know that when I go to bed tonight, I will have a great many little red notifications. But what I learned today is that they can wait until tomorrow and no one will die. Including me.