Surviving a Day Without my Phone

In 2021, it is almost impossible to go through a day without touching or looking at a phone, and it is significantly harder for the younger generations. Our society is consumed by phones. We yearn for acceptance through an online community when we have friends and family in front of us. We rely on our phones for every little task: to order food, get from point A to point B, call a taxi, remind us we have an appointment, and to post life updates. The list goes on and on. When you stop and think about the connection between a human and a phone, it is quite terrifying. Think about how many times you check your phone from the moment you wake up to the moment your head hits the pillow at night. That can be exhausting!

After going almost 20 hours without turning on my phone, those are some of my thoughts, granted at least eight of those hours were spent sleeping. I am still proud of myself! This “experiment,” “experience,” whatever you want to call it happened after I finished my first week of classes of the spring semester, coming off a two-month winter break. That week had been so stressful, I felt like I was bombarded by a million emails every day. I had one extra stressful day, and I felt like my phone was consuming me. When I was getting ready for bed, I made an impulsive decision to turn off my phone, which I rarely do. I had no expectations. All I knew was that I was tired of going to bed, swiping through social media and responding to text messages, and then waking up in the morning to do the same thing. So, around 11 p.m. I turned my phone off and went to bed.

I’m not going to lie, the next morning was rough. First, I had to get out of my bed and find a clock to figure out what time it was. Instantly, I was itching to turn on my phone. Who could be texting me? What could I be missing on social media? Those kinds of thoughts raced through my brain. I resisted the urge, keeping my phone in my bedroom and going about my day.

I had no goal or time limit to be off my phone. I just knew that I needed to be away from my phone, and the longer, the better. And each hour, my phone was off and out of my hands, the easier it became. I slowly disconnected from the digital world and reconnected to the physical world. It was an eye-opening experience. During that day, I only talked to my mom and dad because they were the only people I saw in real-life. It felt good to go about my day, not feeling like I had to check my phone. I felt happy and content. I still watched some television and Netflix but avoided social media. Putting my phone away made me realize the beauty in the world. I went on a walk and was able to truly enjoy the fresh air and scenery. I even sat on my couch for a few hours and rested.

However, there was a moment of disappointment. I was angry and sad at the fact that it is almost impossible in our society to go a day without having a phone. I couldn’t go run errands alone because I would need my phone to call in case of an emergency. I couldn’t go somewhere new because I would need my phone for directions. I almost couldn’t order a drink from Starbucks, as silly as it sounds. My local Starbucks doesn’t have a drive-thru, and because of COVID, you have to order ahead on the app. Luckily, I downloaded the app on my mom’s phone and logged in that way, but this made me realize the simplest things in life have been turned complex because of our phones. There is an app for everything!

I have nothing against phones. I think they are a great tool in many ways, but we can’t let phones consume our lives. So, I challenge you now. Take a step back from your phone. Do you think you can do it? Remember, you don’t have to do it the same way I did. Try silencing all your notifications for the day, or try going on a walk and not taking your phone for the hour. Whatever works for you. Remember to live in the moment. Be present. Enjoy the company of people right in front of you. Do what makes you happy!

*Disclaimer: If you are up for the challenge, please notify your close friends and family who you talk to often before shutting off your phone.

Photo by Prateek Katyal from Pexels