Even If It Is Just For A Day
I will be the first to admit that I can be extremely addicted to my phone. When I wake up in the morning, well most mornings at least, I roll over and check my phone for the time. Lucky for me I am not so popular that I have a ton of missed messages, most of my friends know by now that texting is the wrong way to get ahold of me. But the first thing I do, 9 times out of 10 before I am even out of bed, is to start scrolling through Instagram, checking all the stories and new photos. Then I go through my notifications, my emails and check all the updates on my games (yes, I still play a fair amount of mobile games… will I ever grow up).
How is this the new normal? I used to love my mornings not too long ago where I woke up, grabbed a coffee and sat outside, either enjoying the weather or reading a good book. Now, yes the weather has not been great, but that does not mean I should be substituting in my phone instead.
I recently got back from a trip abroad with Rye, where we spent almost the entirety without any internet access (wi-fi in the middle of the ocean is pricey, to say the least) and very limited cell service (any Canadian will tell you that the second you leave the country, you may as well sell your second kidney if you want to be able to use your phone). So not by choice, but of necessity for my bank account, I had to put my phone away and honestly, I forgot how great it felt.
- Being present in my conversations. I truly listened to the person in front of me, without thinking about what was going on elsewhere and having the urge to check my phone. My conversations became meaningful because I was fully there in the moment listening and contributing back. Surprise, we can actually learn something about others when we listen! (This should not be something I need to re-learn at this age haha)
- More time on my hands. When you no longer have the ability to be on your phone, it becomes very clear just how much time you spend on it. I honestly can say that I spent a very large amount of time on my phone (hours upon hours), without even thinking about it. Without my devices, I was free to spend my time effectively. There really are a lot of hours in the day when you are not staring at a screen (being on vacation also helped).
- I did not miss the constant consumption of information. While it is good to be informed and up to date in the world, there is something to say about how good it feels to not know that Starbucks has now released a Cyborg Frap and they sold out within 10 seconds. No seriously, not going through Instagram stories for hours on end to find out what the hundreds of people I follow are doing was actually nice!
- I was more connected to the people around me. Because I was actually listening and contributing back to my conversations, I created a deeper connection with people. Rye and I had some awesome moments being present together and enjoying the time just the two of us without checking our phones constantly. We also met 6 amazing people while away. And within a week, we became great friends with them and all shared so many awesome experiences together. I honestly don’t know the last time I had this kind of connection with complete strangers. It is amazing what happens when you are forced to actually interact with people you do not know.
- I didn’t feel the need to capture every single moment. When I was packing for the trip all I could think about is what outfits would make for a good Instagram and how amazing the different backdrops were going to be. After it poured rain the first day of being disconnected and taking only a few photos, my brain somehow switched out of snap, snap, snap mode and instead just enjoyed the moments. The entire trip, Rye and I took very few photos and instead just enjoyed things. It was nice to not feel the need to capture the perfect outfit photo or get the perfect landscape composition. Instead, I was able to capture every little piece of the scenery with my brain, locking it in mentally. (However, my vacation outfit posts are now lacking … oh well)
- I actually read something without interruption. Now I am normally good at putting my phone away while I read because I can’t stand the distractions from a good book. However, if I hear or see my phone go off multiple times, I will put a hold on my reading and check my phone (even just the distraction of it going off is enough to bring me away). I have also been known to make notes on my phone or look up something I am more curious about mid-sentence when reading articles instead of actually finishing what I am reading. It is amazing how much more you can transform yourself into a novel when you aren’t distracted by the buzzing of your phone and it brought me back to my love of reading as a kid where the novel became me and my world.
- I enjoyed being disconnected. At first, I was unsure what to do with myself, not being able to turn to my phone for quick entertainment, but after adjusting it was nice to just enjoy what was going on around me. Towards the end of the trip, I did not feel the need to actually grab my phone and check on things or look up funny videos, I was enjoying life, the one in front of me right at that moment.
When I finally did turn my phone back on, my notifications poured in for a solid 5 minutes of constant buzzing and yes while it was nice to be in contact again, I will admit there was a part of me that wanted it to just throw my phone into the ocean. Now don’t get me wrong, I am glad to have my phone and could never fully give it up, but going forward I am going to be more conscious to unplug and have real face time.
It is so easy to forget that life is happening in front of us and not on our phones. So yes, while it is nice to have the social media and a technological connection, there are so many stronger connections to be had off of our phones in real life.