I run the social media accounts of several organizations, and I thoroughly enjoy my work. However, just because I am a Social Media Director, does not mean that I don't get sick of social media/ my phone. If I am being completely transparent, I often have the urge to toss my phone out of the window like it's a leech. I love my work, but sometimes I dislike the constant attachment that comes with it.
One day, my wildest idea came true. I was without my phone for an entire day. And, the gag is, I survived.
I woke up to find my phone screen gone black, so logically I concluded that my phone had died during the night. I plugged my phone in and waited for it to come back to life with hundreds of notifications. But after twenty minutes my phone still had not turned back on, I realized that something was wrong. Of course I jumped on my laptop to text my mom and let her know that I was alive, and to Google what was wrong with my phone. Apparently, it was a common problem: my display had burned out.
It felt very strange, eerily quiet in my house. At first I felt disconnected, but then I felt liberated. I realized that not having my phone meant being out of contact with my friends, but it also meant being out of reach of anyone who could be asking me to do them a favor. I felt free, and my personal goals came to the forefront of my day instead of many small favors from every person under the sun. It was a blissful feeling.
Fortunately and unfortunately for me, I was headed to a mall that day which had an Apple Store. My mom and I were going to have my phone repaired, and I would soon be back in touch with the digital world. But, when we arrived at the Apple Store, we were greeted by a covered storefront and an "Under Construction" sign. I felt that God had placed me in the path of a temporarily Out of Order Apple Store, I was subtly thankful.
This bought me a few more hours of time uninterrupted with my mom. And I must say, it was one of the best times in my recent memory. My mom and I laughed and enjoyed genuine time with each other. I was not bombarded with messages of any sort, and I didn't have any way of knowing what time it was. Not one person was able to interrupt my time with my mom. We let time slip away, we ate churros, we shopped and talked about our goals in life. I noticed the small details around me: I remembered where I parked, I didn't misplace my debit card, I took note of things that my mom liked, I interacted with friendly strangers, I thought carefully about the purchases that I made. It was beautiful.
On our way home from the mall we stopped at yet another mall in search of an Apple Store. This Apple Store was actually open, so we went in to hear a verdict from a Genius. They told me that my display had indeed died, and that it would be a $200 repair. We dropped my phone off and the waited two hours for the repairs to be complete. I was allowed two more hours of time without any ties to the world. My mom and I got dinner, and we laughed about the disproportionately small decor inside of Five Guys. We decided that buns are better toasted, and we listened in on a heated political discussion at the table behind us. We enjoyed our food together and laughed about the extra mound of surprise French fries that we found at the bottom of our bag. We had a pleasant time in the complete presence of each other. Soon enough, it was time to pick my phone up, and we returned to the Apple Store to retrieve my phone.
Thinking back about that day it was probably one of the most meaningful days in my recent memory, even though it was a simple and uneventful day. Having a day without my phone meant a disconnect from some things that I missed, but it also meant a peaceful retreat from all favors, requests, and work orders. It was a beautiful day that I can remember vividly because my nose wasn't inside of my phone.
What I thought was going to be one of the weirdest and most disconnected days of my life turned out to be a day that I was able to feel most connected to my surroundings and the things that matter most. Thus, I encourage you to take charge of your life and forget your phone for a day or two. If you know that many people will be searching for you, let them know about your plans ahead of time. Just announce that you are taking a break from your phone, and then turn it off and leave at home. See how different your day is, and take note of the world around you. For some reason the colors will seem brighter, the smells stronger, the people more intriguing, and the moments more meaningful. Try a day, phone free.