Our phones are our lives. Let’s face it: we are glued to them. When we are not texting, we are scrolling through emails, our social media feeds, or clicking “purchase now” on our favorite retail apps. We don’t keep magazine racks with magazines in our bathrooms for toilet entertainment; we bring our phones. Amazing how far the technology has come! Of course, that dependency is even more apparent when our device dies. Such has been the case for me this weekend. I saw it coming. It started last Sunday when I couldn’t restart it. As the week progressed, the phone would only hold a charge with certain cables. Yesterday, the phone stopped holding a charge altogether. As of last night, I have been phone-less (gasp!).
Immediately, I wondered, “How will my office reach me”? How will anyone reach me if they need anything? Does anyone really need to reach me? All the important people I needed to connect with were with me (my husband and daughters). Could I free myself from my beloved compact Sony phone until I replaced it? Rather than rush to purchase a new phone–which I wasn’t keen to do, I decided to turn my inconvenience into an opportunity to explore a weekend without a phone.
Admittedly, it was difficult to not have a phone on me. I was a little phone envious, because everyone in my social bubble had their own phones. I constantly patted my pockets for my phone when I wanted to take a photo of either of my daughters, or just scroll through my Instagram feed. When I went to Walmart with my Mom, I couldn’t just wander on my own. I had to either shop with her or agree to meet at self check-out at a specified time ( I ended up shopping with her). I wrote my shopping list on a little notepad versus rely on my trusty Evernote app. It took some getting used to, because I had to rethink how to do tasks without my phone.
As the hours progressed, I began to feel less anxious about not having my phone. I focused on being present in conversations and activities. I made more eye contact with my loved ones. I stopped multitasking. My daughter Ilse did not have to tell me, “Mommy, look at me. Put your phone down.” For someone who is in constant planning mode, being engaged in one activity versus multiple activities was surprisingly refreshing.
When we returned home from our weekend away, my husband powered up an old phone for me to use. At first, I was excited to catch up on what I missed in the last 24 hours. After about five minutes of getting logged into all my apps, I was done. I just placed the phone on the charging dock and returned to unpacking from our stuff. I wasn’t ready to reconnect just yet. Even now, as I have had a phone for a few days, I am not itching to be social. Freeing myself from my phone has been good for me, an activity worth scheduling into my day, like everything else. Can you free yourself from your phone?