Yesterday I walked into the phone store to pick someone’s brain about my soon-to-be-finished phone plan —
I started to tell the sales guy that I was only 5 weeks out from my contract end-date, meaning I would own my iphone 6 outright and be (finally) free to do as I please.
Normally I would just go ahead and re-contract. I’d be dying for the latest upgrade and I’d convince myself that my current model was now two years old and therefore “not really working”.
Today, though, I had other plans — but before I could get much further than “I’m almost out of contract” the sales guy interrupted me to presumptuously respond:
“Yeah cool, so you want to re-contract and upgrade?”
No mate, shutup and let me finish — I thought.
Impatiently, I replied:
“No. I want to change to a ‘sim only’ plan — this phones fine, I don’t need the new iphone 7. I want to get a new phone too — but something really old and shitty, you know? — not a smart phone”
I could tell I’d really thrown him by this point—like he didn’t know whether to laugh and playfully answer: “Good one!” or to take me over to the “shitty pre-paid phone” section of the store…
Sensing his confusion, I admitted:
“I need it for my social media detoxes. You know, my smart-phone-free stints”
After a pause (no doubt concluding that I was batshit crazy) he replied:
“Why don’t you just turn your data roaming off?”
He stood back, crossing his arms, looking smug…assuming I hadn’t thought of that before and he’d just solved a really complex problem for me…
“Well, no.” I replied, half laughing:
“I’ve tried that before. I just flick it back on when I’m bored or when I need to transfer money over…I’m not very disciplined — I want an old school phone with none of the temptation”.
I envisioned something with buttons, something that flipped or a good old Nokia brick phone— that were only really good for texting and making phone calls and had those fun games like ‘snake’ and ‘tetris’ —
Finally, he suggested some ‘under $100’ choices. With limited stock to choose from, I settled on a fun flip phone — with big, oversized buttons and a large screen
“Their especially designed for the elderly”, he told me
Perfect. My essay texting days are over, I thought. It weighed less than half the weight of my heavy iPhone and I immediately took it home to unpack it SO I COULD START FLIPPING IT
Yes, for 21 days (and then periodically whenever I feel the need to hermit from the world — as all gentle introverts do) I’ve ditched my smartphone in favour of an un-cool and un-talented little flip phone and I will EAT MY OWN HAT if I dont feel calmer, less distracted and happier, as a result.
Don’t get me wrong, I DO understand the importance and validity of smartphones and social media — in this day and age
Hell, I have a blog I’m supposed to run, and publications I write for — having a smart phone just makes it all easier, social media makes sure I’m both seen and heard…
However, I can’t help but notice that somewhere along the way I’ve developed an unhealthy addiction to both; checking and refreshing my ‘notifications’ every 4 minutes of a day and driving home to get my phone if I forget it in my rush out the door to work.
I think people are slowly becoming privvy to this addiction too— and the bliss of a quieter, simpler life
Occasionally unplugged and IN THE MOMENT…
Anabel writes about this quiet life in her article “I live without a smart phone. This is why”. A self-confessed minimalist, Anabel inspired me to make the switch back to an old faithful, brick phone.
I liked the way she says:
“…It turns out that sometimes I actually just want to sit on the couch with a cup of tea and that’s that. Just sit. Even my husband looks at me weirdly when I do that. What are you doing? He asks suspiciously (I usually don’t notice that he’s been observing me for a while). To which I roll my eyes and say: I’m sitting on the couch. I know it’s a strange thing to do in our day and age. Try it, people get freaked out.”
“I charge it every two weeks. It has little sentimental value to me because it can only save about ten messages. If ever I lose it, I can buy a new one for 30 bucks. And the screen? Uncracked. Always.”
Real Simple recently wrote an article on the topic too. They found that:
“Three out of four people admit to being rude and disconnected because they are more focused on their phones. As a result, they later experience feelings of guilt, disappointment, embarrassment, or regret.”
Pre-experiment I’d practically sleep with my phone. At 5am when my alarm started blaring I’d roll over in bed and reach for it, flicking it off ‘aeroplane mode’ and be simultaneously inundated with the ringing of text messages and incoming emails that haven’t had a chance to overnight.
(I’m exaggerating a bit. I just wanted to let you know I have friends)
Often, I’d read or see something that would piss me off.
The rest of the day would continue much the same, every spare minute I had between a task — waiting for my eggs to cook, my coffee to spurt out of the machine, EVEN WHILE DRIVING — my hand would automatically grab for my iPhone, like: “QUICK REBECCA — what have you missed in the last 3 minutes?”
My mind acts like everything is ridiculously urgent.
The unquenchable thirst for instant gratification and this feeling of ‘urgency’ follows me around all day— pulling me away from the present moment — THE ONE REAL PLACE YOU’LL FIND YOUR HAPPINESS.
It also encourages our (often unconscious) obsession of focusing on the things we WISH we had, and the things we WANT to accomplish, rather than being grateful for what we have.
Real Simple surveyed 1,000 female Instagram users in March and found that 65% say their feeds only focus on the good, Instagram-worthy aspects of their lives — not the real-life moments, like the dirty dishes or spilled coffee
Why does that matter? Well, as Tim Urban (funny writer guy you should immediately stalk) explains in his article: Why Generation Y Yuppies are Unhappy:
“Social media creates a world for us where:
what everyone else is doing is very out in the open,
most people present an inflated version of their own existence, and
the people who chime in the most about their careers and lives are usually those whose careers (or relationships) are going the best, while struggling people tend not to broadcast their situation. This leaves Lucy (us) feeling, incorrectly, like everyone else is doing really well, only adding to our misery.”
Our expectations of life are therefore unrealistically high and when our current situation doesn’t reflect that which we imagined — we get sad.
Oh. No sailing off the east coast of Italy today — like Georgia, the lucky bitch? Shit. My life sucks
So, I’ve gone out, I’ve gotten myself an old basic flip phone and it’s charged up and ready to go. Whatever and whoever needs to reach me can do so via text or call — if it doesnt come through that medium then it can’t be that important — I’ll get to it when I’m by my laptop.
Will you make the switch too?
(originally posted here on MEDIUM)