Monday, December 02, 2019

Three Days Without a Phone

The Husband and I had been running and gunning for two straight weeks cleaning the house and getting food ready to host Thanksgiving dinner at our house. Shortly after collapsing into bed Wednesday night content that everything was taken care of, I heard my phone issue its dead battery warning. I'd been hearing this warning for months. The phone had been intermittently denying that it was plugged in, and it often failed to charge the battery leading to unexpected "oh dear god my battery is dead I'm powering off oh the humanity" warnings at all times of day or night. But this warning on the eve of every-business-closed-for-Thanksgiving-followed-by-everyone-in-the-world-shopping-on-Black-Friday-good-luck-getting-personal-help-buying-technology-any-time-soon, my phone played out its death scene for the last time.

Thus began my three day journey of enlightenment.

I am here to tell you, friends, living without a phone was not the experience I had expected.
I spent all of Thanksgiving Day... visiting with family.
I spent two long evenings... reading books.
Entire days passed without Facebook drama.

I didn't miss my phone.


I will be the first to admit that I had developed an unhealthy relationship with my mobile device. I'd been spending so much time with my head bent over it and hands cupped around it that my neck, shoulders and thumbs were in almost constant pain. So I am both amazed and relieved that I did not miss my phone as much as I believed I should.
And I was delighted to learn that the things I did miss were not the things I'd grown addicted to.

Things I didn't miss:

  • Texting - Oh sure, multiple times a day I wanted to share a funny thought with the Husband and I felt the absence of this quick, private connection. But almost always the text was more of an entertaining distraction from work more than a communication necessity. If I'd had something urgent the Husband needed to know, I could have called him from my desk. While it was sad not to have the ability to text, living without it was not the obstacle I thought it would be.
  • Games - I had granted myself one game app to use whenever I had long waits to endure like at the DMV or during TV shows the Husband liked that I didn't care for. It was supposed to be a backup plan, a simple time filler for special occasions, but I'd fallen into the habit of choosing to play the game over doing any other activities that I used to enjoy. I wasted hours every day on it. I wanted to delete it from my phone, but I'd already spent so much time climbing to high levels that I couldn't bring myself to throw it all away. All that time invested for nothing? I couldn't do it. So, I'd been afraid that being without this game would cause painful withdrawal, but it didn't. Am I sad all my progress is lost? Sure, but I didn't miss the game at all once it was removed from my life. I don't need it. I have other things to do that I enjoy. And frankly, what's wrong with just waiting? What's wrong with passing the time with nothing but your own thoughts? Who says we need to be entertained all the time?
  • Facebook - the only time I even thought about checking Facebook was when I was waiting for something else... like a program to load on my computer, or for the Husband to return to the room I was sitting in. Almost always my intentions to "just check it quick" would turn into a 10-15 minute diversion from what I was supposed to be doing. Facebook was also a time filler that I didn't need and didn't really miss when it wasn't available. And again, what's so wrong with just waiting?
 Things I did miss:
  • The camera - Because really, what else does anyone use to take pictures anymore? No one but professional photographers carry an actual camera. Yeah, I missed the camera.
  • The clock - Guess what? I use my phone as an alarm clock. If it hadn't been for the Husband's collection of backup alarm clocks, I wouldn't have had a clock in the house that had an alarm I could use in the interim.
  • A weather app - I know the TV and radio stations all have a ten minute weather guarantee, but I never pay attention long enough to hear what the temperature is now and whether or how many layers I'll need to wear. I can live without this app, but it's funny how I didn't even realize how much I used it until I didn't have it.
  • Sticky Note app - This is a note pad app where I had gotten into the habit of jotting notes to myself. I kept a shopping list on there, ideas for blog posts I hoped to write someday, timed reminders that pinged when it was time to take a break from work or to pay monthly bills. This nifty thing held a lot of information so I didn't have to remember it. This is one app I'm putting back on the new phone, but I'm also going back to writing the more important notes on paper.
What I learned is that my phone is a useful tool that I should be grateful to have and that I should use happily without any guilt. But I should be careful not have to let it have me.

By Saturday night, I had a new phone.
I spent all of Sunday complaining about how I couldn't figure out the settings on it.
I dislike getting used to new phones.


Bob Lee said...

You do all of that on your phone? Wow! I mostly use mine for talking to people. Oh yeah, and the clock on it is handy.

Roses said...

Believe me, Bobby Lee, I never wanted to have a phone to entice me into "all of that". I'd still have a flip phone that doesn't send texts today if I hadn't needed one for a previous job.
Smart phones are like microwave ovens in the way that you do just fine without one until you use one, and suddenly, you don't know what you ever did without one.