Today it is nearly impossible to go a whole hour without responding to a text, email, or checking social media on your cellphone. After starting this post I put my phone on silent and set it face down. I feel like my phone is constantly interrupting me while I'm trying to work. But how has it been interrupting my social life? I think we have started taking our time with our friends for granted. Since these are our moments when we're not at a desk working, we consider it ok to be nose deep in our phones, instead of leaving them face down. And everyone else is doing it too. Next time you go out to dinner look around and count the number of people on their phones.
The best thing my girlfriends and I did was book a vacation on a cruise. Why? It forced us to put our phones away and look up at each other from across the table. About two hours after our ship sailed away from the port, our phones began roaming and we immediately turned them to airplane mode. A moment of panic set in for me. I really wasn't going to be able to talk to anyone besides the people around me. I felt as if my world suddenly became smaller. But then I realized the benefits of living life uninterrupted.
On the ship while we were waiting for our dinner to be served to us, looking at our phones to pass the time was pointless. Instead we had to make real conversation and at some points not be afraid to sit in silence. We were invested in what everyone was saying because there was nothing in our hand distracting us. It took away that thing we call selective hearing.
Not having our phones also made us more dependent on each other. We had to stick to our word. If we were going to be somewhere at a certain time, we had to be there. There was no way for us to contact each other to figure out where someone was. We had to physically do it ourselves. And it was fun adventuring around the ship to try to find the friend who decided to diverge for a few hours. Having to rely on someones' word about where they would be built a new form of trust. I trust these girls more today because they kept their word.
Without our phones we became more attentive and interested in each other. We also came to love each other more. Being unplugged became therapeutic. Not only did I learn more about my friends, I also learned more about myself. Without my phone I became a little more outgoing and a lot happier. I felt like I could breath for once because I wasn't constantly worrying about whether I missed an important email, text, or phone call. Since I've started writing this post and kept my phone face down I've missed... one phone call and voicemail, 7 emails, and 10 text messages. Aye ye ye. Being unplugged allowed me to invest the time I normally set aside for answering messages, making social media posts, and scrolling through news-feeds; for myself and my friends. Maybe vacationing on a cruise allowed me to do this, but it is something I hope to make room for in my everyday life. If I am going to make it a priority to send messages and make posts, I should make it a priority to unplug. Not just for myself, but for the people I love most too.