Life

My 4 Days Without a Cell Phone

So, Russell broke my phone. Yes, I’m just going to throw it all out there. In all of the years I have had a cell phone, I have never broken or destroyed one but then, I asked Russell to carry mine because I didn’t have a pocket.

Long story short mine died and it would take 4 days to get a new one to me. Turns out, it was a total blessing in disguise. (I find a lot of bumps in the road fit that qualification.) If you are wondering how it went, let me tell you.

broken phone
My actual phone.

The Crashed Cell Chronicles

Day 1, Friday – Russell was working on my phone in an attempt to repair it and I was at work where I sit in front of a computer all day anyway, so it was just a little annoying. The biggest obstacle was making sure every one on campus knew they would have to email me if they had a problem and not just send me a text. It wasn’t a huge obstacle, I sent out an email. On a side note, when he decided he couldn’t fix it (had broken it beyond use), he had to call me on my work desk phone to give me the news.

That night at home also wasn’t terrible because our grandson was there and he keeps me busy.

Day 2, Saturday – (Ok. I feel like I should be typing “Captain’s Log, Stardate 96555.55”.) Anyway, my normal routine wasn’t so normal. I normally fix my coffee and check the day’s weather forecast. Didn’t happen. While I am getting ready for the day, I listen to music or a podcast or a book on tape. Didn’t happen. I often think of things I need to pick up at the store while I am getting dressed to and I make a list in my phone. Didn’t happen. I use an app to keep up with where I am in my read the Bible through commitment. Didn’t happen. Are you seeing a pattern here?

However, by Saturday afternoon, I had started to adjust and had stopped looking for my phone. Before that, I had actually asked several times, “Where’s my phone?” before I realized it didn’t really matter because I couldn’t read the screen.

I thought that not being on Facebook would be more of a problem than it was. I did have a nagging feeling like I was missing out on something, but there were other apps and uses that I missed more.

Day 3, Sunday – By Sunday, I had decided I was just stupid. It seemed like everything I wondered or wanted to explain required a googling. I had forgotten what life was like when we didn’t have the answers in the palms of our hands.

BTW, anyone with a definitive answer on whether you can substitute marshmallow cream for marshmallows and, if it is possible, how much cream for 10 marshmallows, hit me up.

Other than that, it wasn’t a bad day.

Day 4, Monday – I was back at work and feeling a little more connected since I was back in front of a screen that connected me to the world. I got on Facebook and shared a few events from the weekend.

Monday night was great! I go so much done. With nothing to distract me, I was able to really focus on things I needed to get done and do them without interruption.

Things I learned during my cellular exile.

  1. No one is going to die if I am unreachable – even if it is for several days. Of course, I wasn’t completely unreachable. I was at home and people could physically come to my house but there was a real freedom in not answering texts and emails every few minutes or hours. I also realized that when I received a text and responded, I would often sit and wait on a reply. I never realized how much time I was wasting!
  2. I felt very alone when everyone else had their noses in their phones. I thought about what small children must feel like sometimes. All the grown ups on their phones and no one even answering me when I asked a question.
  3. Even though I was technologically disconnected, I felt more physically connected to the spaces I occupied. I suppose it was that whole “being present” – knowing what the people and animals around me were doing.

When the arrival of a new phone makes you a little sad, it’s time for a change.

Yes, I love technology. I love being able to show Russell which professional wrestler that guy looks like. I love being able to see if I can substitute marshmallow cream for marshmallows. I don’t love that something like texting, which used to seem more convenient and less obtrusive than calling now permeates every minute of my life.

I plan to text less…a lot less or at least a lot less often. From now on, the best way to reach me is with a call. We can talk and then get off the phone and on with our lives. How often have I spent 30 minutes texting back and forth when I could have said everything in 2 minutes or less?

Next step, spending less time on social media. I have always known it was a time suck but didn’t really realize how bad it was until now.

I plan to make a “Be Present” box for my cabinet.

When we are all together, I want my family to actually be together. It is about more than just being in the same room. I wonder when we die if any of us will say, “I wish I had spent more time on Facebook.”

Do we ever wish we could get just one more text from the person that’s gone or do we wish we could hear their voice?

As the new year starts, I encourage you to look at your own techno habits.

Are you putting electronic connections before people? Are you skipping being social because a screen makes you feel like are being social? Do you wish you had time to do ?? but can’t figure out how to manage it? Cutting your screen time might be a good place to find the time. (Yes, I realize that you are reading this post from a screen and there is about a 70% chance it is a phone screen but I want good for you. If you don’t read my posts, my life won’t change. If you don’t pay attention to the life going on around you, I’m afraid one day you will wish you had.) Spend a little time in self reflection. There are apps that can help you see just how much time you are spending on your screen – yes, I see the irony. 😏

I look forward to sharing with you in the new year and I hope to hear from some of you!

Happy New Year!

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