We constantly hear about how we have become too addicted to our phones, that phones and technology are ruling our day-to-day activities, that we don’t spend enough time talking to strangers and that we use phones to escape casual human interaction.
Critiques like these are so commonplace that we hardly notice them. Rarely do we test our actual reliance on our phones and other gadgets. Maybe we use some justification like, “Society is addicted to their phones, but I, as a single unit, am not. I only use my phone because it would be an inconvenience to others if I am not always reachable.”
I certainly have used excuses like these before and had no intention of putting my phone on the shelf for a few weeks.
Then my phone broke. I had no choice but to go without a phone for three weeks. Luckily, it was an iPhone that had synced across to my computer, so I could still easily contact people. However, I finally had to face how ingrained my phone is in my routine.
I expected the experience of having no phone for so long to be a miserable hassle. I was pleasantly surprised at how relieving it was to, in fact, not have a phone.
I had better control of my schedule because things rarely just popped up. It was a creative challenge to communicate without it. I would check for new texts every two hours instead of every two minutes.
The biggest hassle was not being able to answer phone calls. I cheated by using an iPad someone had given me for graduation, but that still wasn’t as similar as you’d expect. iPads are bulky, so I rarely checked it. I was not going to stand in line at the C-Store with an iPad in hand.
I should probably write a thank you note to the person who gave me the iPad since it finally had some use beyond bougie redundancy.
Unexpectedly, it lifted my spirits to have no pocket computer, no escape from avoiding awkward moments or strangers. I had more time to think during the day.
So, it was bittersweet when the phone was fixed and responsive. I wondered how I would integrate having a phone back into my routine now that I have gotten so used to not having one.
More importantly, I wondered how I would prevent not simply falling back into old habits of being glued to my phone during any quick break.
The best answer I have come up with is keeping my phone inconveniently in my backpack so I only check it a few times a day. Often, it takes more willpower than I have to avoid my phone.
However, if you are looking for a new February challenge, aside from predicting the weather, try decreasing time on your phone, even if it’s only for a few days.
Find out just how reliant you are and see if its a breath of fresh air to leave the tiny tech on the shelf. It might just help brighten up this dreary month.
Robin Emmons, a Contributing Writer for the Voice, can be reached for comment at REmmons18@wooster.edu.