Turns out, we may be more reliant on technology than we think.
Last week I accidentally machine-washed my phone. After a series of unfortunate events which began with my spilling iced coffee all down myself, I unfortunately came to realise that mobile phones are not machine washable, and I should probably be more careful about what’s in my pockets when putting on a hasty washing cycle.
What followed was a frustrating couple of days without access to a mobile device, where I had to resort to messaging people on the desktop version of Facebook messenger and trying to tell all my contacts not to text me. This would have been fine, except that on my first day without my phone, Facebook experienced the largest and most severe outage in its history, leaving me unable to contact anyone and feeling pretty lost. It was almost as if the universe was trying to tell me something.
Almost immediately after realising I’d attacked the innards of my phone with ‘lavender fresh’ detergent the impulses began. Every few minutes I’d reach for a phone that wasn’t there, or I’d have a sudden urge to google something or check my socials. I didn’t realise how much of a habit using my phone had become. The amount of times I had to slap myself on the wrist, remind myself that my phone was broken, became ridiculous. What seemed even more ridiculous was all the times my being without a phone became an inconvenience. Almost any activity I tried to carry out in the days without my mobile were somehow disrupted by the lack of one technological device.
This is what it took to realise just how much I relied on my phone. It wasn’t just an accessory to my life, it was like an extension of my life itself. I felt like a piece of me was missing, like I’d just ended a relationship or my pet had died – though it was somehow more frustrating. I cried to my boyfriend and was in an irritable mood all day; it was actually pretty embarrassing.
If you’ve had to go without your phone for a few days too, maybe you know my pain. I lost my contact with the outside world, loads of photos which weren’t backed up to the cloud, and something which had become as fondly familiar as a family dog.
The way that millennial society relies to and surrenders to mobile technology is worrying – but I discovered that having a phone can be debilitating so much as it may be a comfort. Without it, I made way more conversation, got way more work done, and in general made so much more of an effort in the real life offline world. Yes, I wasn’t able to set an alarm and woke up at 12:30 on a Saturday, but the thing is I still became way more productive and chatty when my phone wasn’t there as a temptation into procrastination and quiet.
I’m not recommending that everyone puts their iPhone in the wash for a quick spin, but if you’re an avid phone user like me, it could do you some good if you went without your phone for a couple days. If only to figure out how much your life has come to depend on it, and how much your offline life could thrive without it.
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