I didn't have my first cell phone until I was 12 or 13, I think. I grew up in a world with no iPhone or any other kind of smartphone. Of course, there are several exceptional ways that smartphones enhance our lives. They make life easier. Banking is easier. Traveling is easier. Getting discounts is easier. Staying connected to each other is even easier with a smartphone, ironically. I can stay connected with my friends that live far away. I am thankful for the convenience and ease I can get through a smartphone (and it's almost necessitated in some ways now), but I am also thankful I was able to grow up without one.

First of all, let me just acknowledge what a privilege it is to be able to write about the conveniences and inconveniences of owning a smartphone.

I am fully aware that my privilege has allowed me to experience what it's like to own a smartphone. While I appreciate how useful smartphones are, I don't like the disconnect that they potentially cause for a multitude of reasons (#firstworldproblems). In America, we live in a culture that is so engrossed in technology, as is no surprise to anyone. I think I was honestly born in a sweet spot in time, though, on the brink of major technological advancements.

I grew up without a smartphone, which allows me to appreciate them more now.

I really had no interest in owning a smartphone as a teenager. My parents sort of made the decision for me to switch over from my rad flip phone. I simply didn't see the need to have a smartphone. What would I use it for? I had everything I needed. I stayed connected as I needed to through a mobile device but didn't have a word of information at my fingertips yet. I lived in the moment and spent time as a kid playing outside with neighbors and friends. Actually, all I wanted to do was read as a kid.

I enjoyed being a kid without feeling the constant need to be plugged into a smartphone.

I think I'm pretty reasonable about when I use my phone and when I don't today. Though I try to stay engaged in the moment, sometimes I do catch myself turning to my phone. It's so easy to turn to it for validation, to pass time by, or to make sure you sent that email. I want to focus on people and conversation rather than being on a phone. There are a million things you can do on a smartphone, but I'm honestly just glad that I didn't grow up knowing what its like to have the world at my fingertips so I can appreciate that I do now.