I went two weeks without a cell phone and this is what happened

I’ve never been great with phones. In fact, I’ve broken every phone I’ve ever owned. This particular excursion began with something small, as it usually does. A frantic run for the bus resulted in me dropping my caseless phone on concrete. Surprisingly, and to my delight, the screen still worked! Cracked, but functional. My life motto, to be honest.

 

So I went on blissfully, me and my cracked phone, living life, until one fateful day we’ll call The Day I Stepped on my Phone. You can imagine what happened after, but I’ll describe it anyway...

 

1. Panic, fear, and overwhelming disorientation.

Oh dear, here we go again, the screen does not work at all, no it does NOT, and now there is glass stuck in my finger - fantastic! Oh no. I’m going out tonight, how am I going to stay connected with my friends? What if I get lost? How will I know when the bus is coming? I do not have enough money to buy a brand new phone right now (#studentlife). My. Life. Is. Over.

 

2. Acceptance

You know what, I can handle this. It’ll be like a little cleanse until my paycheck comes in, that’s what all the hipsters are doing, right? Right??

 

3. Adaptation

I had to set my 7:00 AM alarm on my laptop, make sure my laptop stayed awake all night, and covered it in a scarf so I could sleep without a light shining in my face. I became a girl who carried her backpack EVERYWHERE and constantly whipped out my laptop whenever I had to communicate with someone or Google something. Skype calls replaced phone calls and Facebook Messenger replaced texting. Shout out to eduroam, TTC wifi, and various coffee shops for supporting me on my cell-phone-less adventures.

 

4. This is what people hear when headphones aren’t constantly in?

Riding the bus and walking to work was either the most interesting or most excruciatingly boring time. I was accompanied by silence most days, and although I occasionally would overhear an interesting conversation, I often wished I had my Spotify playlists to block out an annoying noise, or to have as a pick-me-up in the morning. Overall, It was interesting to open my ears to the world around me!  

 

5. FOMO (Fear of missing out)

One thing I noticed most was that I felt like I was missing out on opportunities to share things with my friends. Everything we have in this day and age is instant and on demand - whether we are gathering information or sharing it. I had instances daily where I thought “Oh! So and so would enjoy this! I’ll just snap them a pic and...right. No cell phone - no Snapchat!” It was interesting to realize how disconnected you can feel when you’re missing one simple thing.

 

Often times, I was the only person at the table or in the room who wasn’t on a cellphone. It was harder to connect with the people sitting right next to me when I didn’t have a cellphone. This was a huge revelation for me. People often say that we are addicted or glued to our phones and that this is hurting our social lives, but this is what made me realize that’s true.

 

6. I might be more outgoing without a phone!?

When you can’t rely on your phone, you have to rely on other people! In my two cell-phone-less weeks, I often asked random strangers or friends to borrow their phone to make a call, ask when the bus was coming, or if they could Google something for me, etc. One particular instance, a few of my friends and I went to a house party in a area that we weren’t completely familiar with. When we hopped out of the Uber my friends stopped to wait outside in the cold to text our friends who were already there to find out where to go. I simply marched up to some others hanging outside the house, asked them if there was a party going on, and they showed us in!

 

In conclusion, I am definitely glad I now have a cell phone. They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder and I couldn’t agree more! Being without a phone taught me to appreciate the luxury I have when I have a tiny computer on my person at all times. It also taught me that I can, in fact, survive without one! Today, I occasionally take my headphones out while I ride the bus, I ask people more questions, and I put my phone away when socializing to make some real emotional connections with those who mean the most to me.

 

Moral of the story: Everyone should step on their phone and go without one for at least some time - it’ll be an awakening experience! ;)