Sophomore year of high school, I lost my phone for over a month and I didn’t care. It was the type of phone you had to slide open to text. It was quite the upgrade from my pink flip phone. But because my life was not connected to that slide phone, I honestly didn’t care that I had lost it, much to my parents dismay. Thankfully, I found it towards the end of the school year, lodged in the living room couch.
Then, it happened. Christmas of my junior year, I received my first smartphone. Surprisingly, I never lost it in a couch for a month, because I never let it leave my side. Suddenly, it began to replace everything. No longer did my alarm clock wake me. No longer did I need my iPod for music. No longer did I have to be tethered to WiFi to access the internet. And while having my phone has helped with daily tasks, I fear my dependence on it has grown.
Over the last school year, I have given up my phone on three separate weekends. And let me tell you, it was liberating! I enjoyed not having to check for my phone every second or having it to fall back on in moments of boredom. And better yet, seeing the shock on people’s faces when I told them I didn't have my phone.
Now, I didn’t do this to have a life changing experience or to find myself, but as a way to cut out an addiction. And this is something I would encourage everyone to do, for their own peace of mind, because sometimes, we all need to step away. However, I know there are some concerns out there about giving up your phone.
What if I need to get in touch with someone?
When I hear this concern, I laugh. I sound like my parents, but yes, there was a time when people survived without being in immediate contact with someone else. And unless you are doing a solo trip in the wilderness, I promise, there will be a way to contact someone. You might even have to ask another person to make the call for you. But in my experience, there was never a time that I had to be in contact with someone right that second. Everything could wait until I was talking to that person in person, or wait until Monday when I had my phone back. We need to stop playing what if games. I promise this will not be the weekend you happen to break your leg in the middle of the woods and have no idea how to send smoke signals to a nearby town. Plus, this gives you a great excuse to ignore people who might be contacting you 24/7.
But what if I am doing something that weekend and have to take pictures. Well, I have two solutions. Either give it up another weekend or don’t take pictures. I promise we will take your word for it if something amazing happens and there is no photo evidence. I am a firm believer of living in the moment and I think the best way to do that is by being present. You cannot be present if you are constantly touching up an Instagram photo or perfecting a Snapchat. Just try being there. And live these moments for yourself, not your followers.
And I totally get that. Since receiving my smartphone, I have made it a part of everything I do. I understand it is hard to give that up. Sadly, our phones have become like an extra limb that we determined we cannot live without. But I promise, you can. All joking aside, for yourself, give up your phone. And I am not saying for the rest of your life. Just for a bit. Like our phones, we need to recharge, but we recharge a little differently. By removing your phone from your daily life, you are removing an obstacle that prevents you from just being. And in this crazy world, we all need the chance to just be.