No Phone!

Day One
:  It’s about noon on my birthday, and my phone just stopped working.  I tried to push buttons, charge it, and troubleshoot it from my computer.  Nothing is working, and I’m in a bit of a panic.  When cell phones arrived on the scene, I NEVER imagined being dependent on one.  I thought a cell phone was bad for our daughter, especially in high school.  My mantra was, “How can you concentrate on your homework, if you stop to look at your phone every few seconds?”  Things have sure changed in just a few years. It turns out that she was able to concentrate just fine, and now I’m lost without my phone.

I’m in kind of a foggy place without it.  I didn’t count calories today because my app is on my phone.  I didn’t walk today because my pedometer is on my phone.  Even though I barely know how to use Instagram, I am experiencing FOMO!  What is Roscoe the bulldog doing?  What is the temperature?  I need my weather app.  I didn’t crochet without my stitch-counting app.

Day Two:  I woke this morning realizing how ridiculous I had been yesterday. I drank my coffee in front of The Weather Channel (TWC) and felt prepared for the day.  I ate my breakfast, and opened my calorie-counting application on my laptop.  It worked fine.  Instead of walking, I rode the stationery bike because it told me how far I had ridden, and how many calories I burned.  Emma also follows Roscoe.   If he does anything spectacular, she’ll let me know. 

I made some necessary adjustments, and it’s a darn good thing I did.  Because when I described the problem to the gentleman at the phone store, he said that there was probably no hope for my broken phone.  I knew I might need a new one, so I ordered a new model just in case.  Sean took my poor perpetually black-screened phone to the store where they confirmed its demise. The new one will take two days to get here.  Arrrrrgh.

Day Three:  Today, I woke up not missing my phone.  Seriously.  Again I got my forecast from TWC, and liked having the overview of the whole country’s weather including an update on the wildfires out West and snow in the upper Midwest.  I logged my food on my laptop again.  I like doing it on a computer rather than a phone.  It’s more user-friendly, and easier to read.  I walked without my pedometer or clock.  I had to tune into my body and my bad knee to guess how long and far I’d been walking.  Rather than playing games or reading my “news” feed, I started a new crochet project using the huge stash of vintage crochet thread I have.  Emma updated me on Roscoe the bulldog’s posts. 

I am surprised at how well I’m doing without my phone.  It feels pretty good to feel some independence from it.

Day Four:  I have my new phone.  It actually feels like a nuisance…setting it all up again, especially realizing that there was no backup data from my birthday until today.  If anyone texted me with wishes, I missed them.  While I’m glad to have a phone again, I’ve made some decisions about how I’ll use it going forward.  For me, being sans phone was eye-opening.  Here’s some of what I learned about myself:

What I missed most:

Texting is by far the most valuable and used feature of my phone.  Being able to be in touch with family and friends instantaneously is precious to me.

My camera has also gotten to be a priority for me.  I’ve gotten into the habit of taking pictures often and, my phone does a good job with photos. 

I’m learning to use and like Instagram.  I can do without it, but found that I can keep up with topics I choose.  I follow crafters, organizations and people that add value to my day.  Plus, I do indulge in cuteness, like “Roscoelovescoco,” Lewis Hamilton’s bulldog!

What I can now do without or use elsewhere:

Calorie counting.  At first, I thought it was great to be able to keep track of my meals on my phone.  But when I had a phone, I started recording my meal while I was still eating with my family!  When I began using my laptop for the recording, I realized it was easier, and I didn’t feel the need to record my meals immediately, making for a better family meal experience.

I like having a pedometer,but I can survive my walks without it.  Plus, keeping track of steps doesn’t seem valuable for me.  It’s not something I want to add to my list of things I need to accomplish daily.  Recording a daily walk or workout is more important to me than the number of steps I’ve taken.  So I did put a very simple pedometer on my phone to track workouts.

My phone is a Google Pixel, so it has a built-in news feed feature.  It’s always there with just a swipe.  Previously during spare moments throughout the day, I checked the news feed.  I spent way too much time looking through titles that just didn’t interest me.  From twenty headlines, I probably chose two articles to read daily.  In the paragraph above I put news in quotes because it’s not really all news.  Google says you can customize what you receive, but it still sends you useless articles.  I kept receiving Salisbury Steak stories, even after I told the phone that I wasn’t interested in Salisbury Steak!

Without my phone, I found better things to do with my spare time.  I whipped up a crochet bookmark made from granny squares.  These squares are generally crocheted with yarn and sewn together to make afghans or blankets.  I used crochet cotton thread and enjoyed it immensely.  The result is a cute little square.  The yellow and white one is only about an inch and a half!  I’m going to have to come up with a project using mini granny squares.  By the way, I don’t have the Stitch Counter on my phone anymore. 

Weather is fine on my phone for a quick temperature check, but I will still tune it to the broader picture on The Weather Channel

I haven’t opened a gameon my phone for more than a week.  I’ve found much better things to do.

I’m not sure how I ended up with so many games and apps on my phone.  I think the novelty of it lured me in.  We think we’ve opened ourselves up to the world because we can access anything with our phones.  The truth is that I turned inward with my phone.  Most of my apps kept my nose down in the phone, rather than being present in the world around me.  Other applications actually made tasks more complicated for me and added a level of unwanted stress.  I’m not thrilled that I had to buy a new phone, but I am thankful for the opportunity to rethink my phone use, and make some welcome changes!

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