Juliana Writes...

Living with the best of intentions

Friday, May 6, 2016

One Week Of Phonelessness

Almost exactly three weeks ago my friend Alyssa and packed a picnic bag (the modern girl’s picnic basket – less chic, more room for bread and cheese), wrangled four dogs into the car, and headed north toward a slightly cleaner ocean and a county that doesn’t care if you have pups (or champagne) on the beach.  I learned two things that day:

#1: Basically anything you do with four excited dogs in tow is hilarious, first to the people watching you attempt to handle it and later to you when the melee is over.  Mostly to the people watching you. 

#2: Don’t put your fancy phone that you’ve only had for 4 months in the broken pocket at the top of your floppy, beach bag, sling it over your shoulder, and go running maniacally along the surf line with your equally insane dog.  Your attention will be focused on your canine companion and it won’t be until he does something adorable and you reach for your fancy phone that you’ve only had for 4 months that you realize…it’s gone. 

Photo by Alyssa Rosenthal (@alyssajrose)

I lost my phone to an eager tide that day; even as we frantically retraced our steps I knew it was gone.  And I resigned myself to that fact easier than I think most would because hey, what could I do?  My phone was in the ocean.

When I got home I went through the standard steps – put a message up on Facebook, texted my parents from James’ phone, hated myself a little for being so careless, both with my possessions and with my sunscreen application…worst sunburn I’ve had in years.  My parents messaged me back saying they had my mom’s old iPhone 4, her first smart phone, most peoples’ first smart phone, and would send it the next day for me to use.  Great!  I’ll at least have something to be in touch with the world soon. 

My dad sent me an email the following day saying he’d put the phone in the mail, it should arrive on Thursday.  It was Sunday.  Woof.  Alright, I think, I can be without a phone for a while.  It’ll be good for me!  I’ll read more!  I’ll get so much done! 

Here’s what I experienced during my days without a phone:

I did not read more.  I watched just as much TV as I do when I have a phone and browsed Facebook from my laptop instead of writing or cleaning or being productive.  Same story, different screen. 

When I was productive I found that being without a phone was sort of like having a phantom limb.  I would reach for it constantly while I was cooking, when I woke up in the morning, when I got home and flopped onto the couch, when Wizard or Ramsey did something silly…I would sometimes even hear it buzz when I was home alone.  I was totally haunted by my absent phone. 

I missed – genuinely missed – taking pictures of my food.

I could not go anywhere I didn’t already know the way to.  Like, I’m bad with directions even when the phone is telling me step-by-step how to get somewhere.  It takes several times of driving the same route for me to be able to get there from memory.  Unless I was printing out some good ol’ Mapquest directions there’s no way I was heading outside of my little comfort zone.

I got out of bed and went to sleep so much faster.  When I wake up I am so guilty of scrolling through a billion social media sites before getting out of bed.  It makes me feel lethargic, usually means I’m comparing myself to a slew of other people before I’ve even had my coffee, and kills sometimes up to an hour of valuable morning that I’ll never get back.  I hate this habit.  Without a phone it wasn’t an option.  I’d wake up, stare at the ceiling for a few minutes, and get up.  It was fantastic!  I felt better about myself and it was somehow easier to start the day productively when I felt successful about simply getting out of bed.  The same goes for falling asleep – without my phone I didn’t lie in bed for hours browsing Pinterest “to unwind,” I just turned the light off and went to sleep.  Yes, I still fell asleep with the TV on, but hey, one less screen right before bed can’t be a bad thing.  My TV didn’t fall into the ocean, people, one bad habit at a time!

My mom and I text every day, usually just little things here and there, but we’re constantly in touch.  I love it.  Without my phone I felt so far away from her, so we started emailing.  Instead of little texts throughout the day we would send one long, detailed email each, and it felt like such a deeper communication – I suddenly realized I had so much to tell her.  We exchanged some thoughtful, hilarious, and tearful emails, even when they weren’t long-winded I felt more connected to her.  Moms make wonderful pen pals.

I got my iPhone 4 on Friday (UPS made me sweat it out one extra day, bringing me to six full days without a phone) and activating it felt like Christmas morning.  I was back!  And even though it sort of barely functioned (even sending and receiving text messages took longer for it to process.  Basically there have been too many updates since the little brick’s time and it can’t keep up) I found myself slipping back into old habits – the emailing stopped, mornings and evenings were filled with scrolling, etc.  Now, as I sit here writing this, two weeks later, about to head to the Sprint store to get a new phone, I find myself wondering how to find the balance between the two worlds.  There were things that I loved about not having a phone; there were things that made me miserable.  I love social media, but how much is too much?  I love texting, but maybe I need to look at what I’m not taking the time to share.  Maybe I need to be that person who sets their phone across the room so I have to get up to turn the alarm off.  Maybe (definitely) I should turn all the screens off every once in a while and just…read.

I’m getting this new phone with a commitment to balance.  That’s my May goal – no list this month, just…focus on finding the areas in my life that are off and bring them to balance.  If anyone has the secret ingredient please share, I’ll do the same if I find it. 

1 comment:

  1. I just read this from my bed. I've been awake for an hour, but I'm still in bed and jumped over to your blog from Instagram. So ya, I definitely relate to everything you said! Very well said! Let me know when/how you find the balance. And I can't wait for you to be snapping again!