Remember life when you did not own a mobile phone? I used to save up my 20p coins in order to ring my mum from the telephone box and ask her to pick me up. Luck was needed, because she had to be home and there was no other way to reach her.
If I had to wait, I could not look glance at a screen. I had to actually stand and awkwardly look into the distance – praying that my distance was not the view of a person wondering why I was staring at them. In summary, it was like being stuck on the London Underground – for a very long period of time.
This month I had to endure a phone detox. My phone broke twice – just yesterday it was repaired and the technician declared that he had to “change my entire main board”. In short, my data was wiped and my mobile is now practically brand new.
Going self-hosted drove me to the brink of despair. Three weeks later and I can actually go back to being a blogger again. No more live chats, emails and screaming. I have to mention that my comments were not working – apologies to anyone who wrote to me recently. After back-and-forth discussions trying to solve the issue, it turns out that a plugin was responsible and my comments now work once more.
When my phone died, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t cry. I had a somewhat meltdown because shockingly it takes over a stupid percentage of my life. I had hundreds of pointless images that I made excuses for keeping, WhatsApp conversations that I never looked at – but refused to delete.
There is social-media to keep up with and of course the significant factor – being able to communicate 24/7.
I faced up to my anxiety
As a child, did you keep a comfort object; conceivably a blanket or a cuddly toy? That is what my phone became. It was a type of protection barrier which gave me to access to my friends whenever I felt anguish. It also guarded me when I became self-conscious – look at my screen and block away my surroundings.
Meeting up with my friend without my phone was the most daunting task. What if my train was delayed? I could turn up late and he could disappear (ok he wouldn’t do that but still), what if I could not find him? I analysed those consequences. How would I go up to a stranger and ask to use their phone if I could not find him? Should I put down his number in case?
His reassurance was correct. We met and I grasped at the enlightenment that bestowed me. I am an adult and can indeed leave my house with zero digital devices.
I caught up on my reading
My New Year’s resolution for the past decade (one of many) finally began. I adore my bed but not enough to just lay in it and sleep. I had to read and it was not long before the “had to” become “chose to”.
My stress decreased
Majorly stressed without it and overly panicky with it. It felt good not continually non-stop checking for messages, comments and likes. And although I dearly judged that my time on my mobile was minimal, I really did need a phone detox.
Time was of the essence and I felt the freeness absorb into my body – I am convinced that I spent 7 hours dreaming of flying. It is far too easy to let time pass and watch videos. Oh – how is it 9 o clock already? I only witnessed a funny cat, funny meme, eyebrow tutorial, and beauty mistake video….oh.
I faced up to my fears
Losing my images is rather pathetic compared to the loss of a loved one or a burnt down house. However, I am a photo hoarder and it has a negative downside. There is too a large an amount of variety and it can be exhausting. At least my childhood images are full of holidays, birthdays and special moments.
My phone had hundreds of shots of my little sisters (I love them but there is simply countless of them at random times), an album of blog photos, vainly a ridiculous quantity of me. There are dozens of similar pictures of my family and I could not manage to cut them – despite the fact that they are all similar. I must have 30 images of the sky in Ibiza.
I had not backed-up my phone. Luckily I have plenty of photos on social-media, my laptop and WhatsApp (thank you to my back-up friends). In a way, it has brought new meaning to my images and that I want to keep what I will actually treasure.
I lived more in the moment
I forgot how relaxing a walk with my dog is, because I used the instance to catch up with my Instagram followers. It is cliché; when you look up from your screen and suddenly notice that the sky is grey. I felt more present and aware of my surroundings.
All this wisdom gained and from a few days without a phone. I am not suggesting that I will go mobile-free; nevertheless I will cut down on my digital world. Stepping away from my phone prior to bed and not allowing hours to vanish from browsing.
Would you do a phone detox and cut down on your usage?