Cell phones have become such an integral part of our society. Everyone has one and, of course, we use them for much more than actually calling someone and chatting. We use them to check and update social media sites, we text each other constantly and we use them as alarm clocks among many, many other uses.
Now, I’ve used my own cell for the same reasons for a good number of years now, but a while back a situation came up for me and I made a conscious choice. While I enjoyed my phone, I was not as enamored with it as a lot of other people, using it mostly to text. If I could text, as well as check FB and Twitter, then I was good.
I never forked out a ton of money to buy a big, fancy phone. Laugh if you’d like, but I actually got my phone from Wal-Mart and was on their month-by-month plan. My phone had everything I needed it to have, so that’s all that mattered.
So, nearly three months ago when it came time to pay my bill for the upcoming month, I decided to do a little experiment and see how long I could go without my phone and not go insane. It would definitely be an adjustment and I anticipated a few issues, but I also thought it would be interesting to see what happened.
I let my phone die.
Of course, I did a little prep work before then, such as letting those who need to contact me in case of emergency know what’s going on and how to reach me. Other than that, if you needed or wanted to speak to me, you can message me on Facebook or Twitter and I’ll see it when I turn on the laptop at my own leisure and see it.
This was going to be tough.
Now, another thing to know about me if you don’t is the fact that I am a smoker. I know, I know…gross. A major time I would find myself checking my social media would be when I was out on a smoke break at work and that was fine, seemed normal to me. However, something odd happened. With no phone to check those sites, I had to, you know, communicate with people face-to-face on breaks and it was nice.
After a full day of work, I found myself rushing home to jump on the laptop and catch up on everything I missed. I did this for a few days until I was rather exhausted coming home from work one day and fell asleep on my couch. I woke up to realize it was past 9 PM and spent the rest of the night completely unplugged, outside of the television my lazy behind was watching.
Driving into work the next day, two things hit me. One was good and one was worrisome.
The good one was when I realized I went a day without social media or a phone…and the world didn’t explode. I never caught up on the past day’s events, life continued and the sun came up the next day. Weird!
It was right about that time I was cut off in traffic and had to slam on my brakes. The car behind me was following too closely and had to swerve into the other lane on the highway, making it around without rear-ending me, but man, was it close. This leads me to the realization that was worrisome.
If I would be in an accident or stranded somewhere, I don’t know anybody’s phone number. Who does anymore? After we load the number into our phone, we forget about it since their name pops up after that rather than their number.
After that, I began to carry the dead cell phone around in my murse (that’s a man-purse, for those of you who don’t know) from then on. The phone may not work, but the numbers are always with me in case of a bad situation.
The whole experiment has been interesting. It has forced me to slow down both my body and mind, which is a good thing. We’re always running around, crazy busy and never taking enough time to relax and recharge, so removing one obstacle to my reboot was very beneficial.
Most importantly to me though about this experiment was the fact it allowed me to be present for my kids even more. While I felt I was good in this department before, it gave me even more quality time with them because I wasn’t taking the time to take a picture of my babies, followed by immediately posting it online. I became that parent on the swings and slides with the kids even more than before, rather than those parents who sit on the sidelines, looking down at their phones instead of watching their children play.
The greatest moments, those moments that can never be duplicated, can happen in an instant. If our heads our down while looking at our phones all the time, we can easily miss those incredibly special moments.
Can I tell you a secret though? Don’t tell anyone…this is just between us.
I miss my phone and this experiment is going to be over soon.
The difference in me after this lifestyle reboot is I now know how to better balance my need to keep up with everything and my need to be the best father I am capable of being.
Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to sneak a Twitter pic of my beautiful babies online from time-to-time once I return to the land of the living. It just means they will be at much more appropriate times, not taking my time and attention away from where it should be.
What about you? How long do you think you could go without your phone? Leave your comments below!