I will readily admit that I am addicted to my phone. It’s terrible, actually. But I go on about, addicted to it, pushing those thoughts aside. I can’t really do anything about it, I think.
I can put the phone down.
A couple of weeks ago, I did the unheard of – I left my phone at home. And not just at home for the day. I left my phone at home in Atlanta, and I didn’t realize it until I was halfway back to Athens. (Under other circumstances, I would have turned around, but I had a test I was headed to.)
So for 24 hours, before my mom met me halfway with my phone, I lived without it.
And you know what? I did just fine.
Here are 5 things I learned from putting the phone down:
1) We think that without our phones we’re missing out on everything: what pictures are posted on Instagram, what tweets are written, who snapchatted who. But actually, with our phones, we’re missing out.
I walk to class, phone in hand, occasionally looking down at my screen to swipe through my feed. I’m at an event, bored, and swipe open my phone. I’m sitting at a stoplight, and pull up my emails.
While walking, I could have been appreciating the weather, looking into the faces of others, or using the silence to talk to God.
Bored at an event? I could be interacting with others, drawing them into a conversation.
Sitting at a stop light, or simply driving, there’s an opportunity to be still and process.
We miss out on some of the richer things with our nose in a phone.
2) What I missed most without my phone wasn’t texting, social media, or the camera: it was being able to call. It’s funny, calling was the original function of the phone and is its most essential one. I could text on my computer, catch on social media on my computer if I really felt like it, but I couldn’t talk to another person.
During the 24 hours, I took a test, and after exiting it, my instinct was to call my mom and tell her how I did. But without my phone, I couldn’t. If I was facing a dilemma, I couldn’t call my sister and talk about it.
Not having that ability made me value phone calls even more.
3) Phones are mindless.
When I pick up my phone, I don’t have to think. I can mindlessly swipe through feeds. Sure, we all need a little time to take a break and not have to focus, but if I’m constantly filling my time with it, what will be my reward?
4) Time spent on phones is time lost on thinking.
Our brains are such miracles and magnificent creations! One thing I know for sure, my time on my phone doesn’t birth incredible thoughts and revelations.
I want to use my spare moments (that are often spent on my phone) thinking: about God, about life, about my relationships.
5) Listening only to the radio in the car stinks.
Praise the Lord for the phones ability to hold music and podcast and for things like Spotify and Pandora. Driving for 2 hours with only the radio is incredibly boring.
So where does this leave me? Well, I want to become a conscious phone user. I want to recognize the times that I reach for my phone the most and choose to stop myself. Maybe not all the time, but start with just part of the time. Instead of being on my phone during breakfast this morning, I read a magazine. Easier on the eyes and left me more filled. Secondly, I want to be on my phone for shorter amounts of time; time is money – how will I spend it?
I’m glad I left my phone at home that day – otherwise, I wouldn’t have learned what I know now.