POSITIVE CHANGE: Unplugging to reconnect
I was devastated.
But, sometimes it takes a tragedy to teach you a lesson. OK, I’m being a little overdramatic. But, for the first time in forever, I was forced to live without a cellphone. I lasted two days in this foreign world before I reactivated my dad’s ancient indestructible box of a phone.
For the next two weeks, I was reminded of what life was like before smartphones. A time when phones were only good for two things: talking and texting. A time when you had to log-on to the computer to check your email and Facebook account.
At first, being unplugged was frustrating. Then, it was freeing.
I was no longer pulling out my phone every five minutes to check Facebook, tweet my random thoughts or Instagram a photo. I wasn’t distracted during my conversations with friends and family members. And, I wasn’t wasting time constantly scrolling through the feeds on my social networks.
In fact, I was annoyed at others when they’d pull out their phone mid-sentence to check a notification or snap a photo. Maybe, it was the fact that I couldn’t do the same, but I’d like to think that it was because I’d finally realized how consumed we are with our social networks. It disgusted me that I couldn’t carry out one conversation without someone pulling out their phone.
Although it was difficult and frustrating at times to be smartphone-less — like when I hopped in my car to rush to an interview only to realize I couldn’t use my phone’s GPS to direct me there — it was a relief to be able to unplug and disconnect for a while.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the ability to connect in an instant and check your email on-the-go. I got an iPhone 5S as soon as possible. But, I’ve learned that it’s also important to plug-in to the real world around you. Instead of dinking around on my phone while talking to friends, I started becoming more engaged in the conversation. I heard everything my friends had to say and didn’t have to ask them to repeat themselves. I was engaged with the environment around me. A few times I wished I had my iPhone to capture the moment in an Instagram photo, but instead of worrying about snapping a picture and choosing a filter, I was able to fully enjoy the moment.
I always have my new iPhone on hand, but I’ve learned to leave it in my purse and enjoy real-life company. After all, there are plenty of quiet moments — like waiting for an oil change or a doctor’s appointment — when I can catch up on my social networks.