Last week, as the spring semester started to pick up speed, I started to crave roughly a week to myself in the wilderness. I needed to detox. At the very least, I needed to shut my phone off for a few days. Since my first day of college, my phone has felt like a part of me, and I hate it. I hate my dependence on it. I hate the physical feeling of it attached to my hand. I hate the constant urges to check my notifications. If I could choose which of my toxic relationships to kill, I would choose the one between my phone and me.
However, for a college student a long way from home, a phone is a necessary evil. I needed to determine a way to drastically lessen my attachment to my phone while still carrying it with me and using it when necessary. Skimming some headlines, I came across the idea of using black and white mode to make my phone less stimulating. In a desperate attempt to regain a sense of freedom from my phone and re-sensitize myself, I decided to turn on black and white mode for a week and write about my results.
The first day, Sunday, was easy. Sunday is my designated social media-free day, so I was already accustomed to spending less time on my phone. I felt clearheaded and controlled. Without the distraction of my phone, improved focus allowed me to powerfully kick off the week by making a careful plan, getting ahead on homework, working on my art business, and reading a good book.
On Monday, however, I cheated a bit. When preparing social media posts for the week, I turned color back on, justifying it by telling myself, I'm an artist; I need to see the colors of my work. After editing my images, I shut color back off.
By Tuesday, day three, I felt the calmest I've been in years -- like my phone had no power over me. The next day, however, before bed, I turned color back on to watch a new conspiracy theory video. It was simply too good to watch in black and white. I turned color back off when I was done.
Later in the week, by Thursday and Friday, I was thoroughly enjoying black and white mode. My phone's lack of color drove me away from Instagram and Snapchat, two of the most depressing apps ever created, in my opinion. My phone felt more like a practical tool than a source of overstimulating entertainment.
I felt free. I was becoming re-sensitized to the world around me. Reading a book felt exciting. Going for a walk alone in my thoughts -- feeling the Florida sun on my skin and taking deep breaths of fresh air -- felt like having fun. I was present in the real world.
Originally, I planned for today to be the last day of the challenge. Now, I don't even want to turn color back on. I don't want to let the temptation of my phone back into my life. I'm free from my phone, and I want to stay that way.