October 7, 2013

Lessons Learned from State of iPhonelessness

My phone has been 'drying out' in a bag of rice and without a mobile device to hold in my hands, I've had a lot of extra time on them instead.

So, I've been pondering life without my phone. And here's what I've learned so far.  

1. It is hard to function in today's society without a phone. 

I had to cancel plans with someone this afternoon, and let me tell you what a palaver it was to get a hold of the person without the use of my phone. For starters, I didn't have her number, because it was stored in my phone. (Who memorizes phone numbers nowadays?!
2. I am waaaaayyyy too dependent on my iPhone. 

Years ago, the Sailor bought me a Nokia smartphone -- back when that term first popped up. He promptly dubbed the Nokia 'second husband' because I spent so much time with the phone. It wasn't that I was TALKING on the phone so much per say as I was texting, surfing, and playing games (solitaire proved to be my drug of choice on many occasions). 

It really was the beginning of the end. 

After that, the Sailor bought himself an iPod touch and when I started playing too much Fruit Ninja on it, he bought me my own. Apps, music and calendar entries galore ensued. My iPod touch and I were inseparable. And, as my old faithful Nokia started falling apart (literally -- keys cracked and those little rubber stoppers meant to keep dust out of crevices were suddenly missing...) we realized it was time for a new phone. Not just any phone though. I was finally going to get an iPhone.

Once I transferred my data, I gave my mom my iPod touch (part of our 'no need for excess' household policy) and I was thrilled to now have everything on ONE device.   

But that one device soon went everywhere with me. I'd take it to get the mail. Or to the gym, even if I wasn't listening to music. I'd walk to the garden, thinking that I was just going to take photos of growing peppers, but in reality, there was a slight bit of separation anxiety if I was away from it for too long. If I left the phone on the counter, I'd check it as soon as I walked in the door.

It was the first thing I looked at before I even got out of bed, and the last thing I looked at before I switched the lights off at night. 

I am not a Hollywood celebrity. Wall Street does not depend on me getting all of my messages. I don't have a job where lives are at stake if I don't answer my phone. I don't need to be with my phone ALL OF THE TIME.

3. It is good (and necessary) for my creativity to disconnect every once in a while.

I may not have crocheted or created more than usual lately, but I feel like I had a few extra hours in the day to breathe and to think. The other night I sat on the balcony, candles burning. My drink was finished and it was too dark to continue knitting. I was about to go inside -- what would people think if they saw me just sitting there, doing nothing? But I stayed anyway. Sometimes you need to do absolutely nothing. (It's also good for your neck to look up once in a while. Your chiropractor will thank you.) 

Over the past few days, I realized that I sometimes spend more time looking to see what other people are blogging or tweeting about, than I do on any actual creative project. I have a renewed sense that I need to set aside more unplugged time to brood over ideas and projects. Technology for sure has its place (I'm a total closet tech geek, if you couldn't already tell...) But sometimes it gets in the way of plain and simple imagination.

Apparently sometimes I need to simply unplug and watch a candle flicker. Who knows - it may spark the next great idea. Hopefully though, next time I'll do so willingly, and not because of another phone incident.

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