What I Learn From A Life Without A (Smart)Phone

Look to your right, or your left, and I can almost guarantee you have your phone beside you. Maybe, you’re using one right now and facing it right upon you. As I am writing this, I have mine placed on my left; but it is only after three months of absence that I finally can get a hold of this Samsung S3. What’s interesting, those three months are my summer which I spent without a phone — a smartphone to be exact since I have a backup phone in place when my S3 refuse to charge and turn on. My backup is actually a Blackberry Onyx purchased in 2009 that I use solely for texting and making calls (also, playing Solitaire). So my life has pretty much been lonely as if not always without the presence of internet at the back my own hand, everywhere. I definitely started noticing differences around me during the times I am not with my phone.

I learned that a phone really is a great distraction within a social setting. After setting up meetings with my friends — either via e-mail, via text, via phone call, or via Line from my desktop — I caught a glimpse of moments in which I was left dumbfounded as everyone is busy with their phone. A reminder like, “hey I’m here, we ought to talk about something,” was often thrown as a call for attention. Maybe if I have a phone at that time I would also drown myself in whatever’s on the screen, but the only thing available on my phone is a single game that I’ve finished over and over again.

I don’t see the mobile phone as something negative, but only then its effects really hit me. I got lonely, whether when I am with people or without one. I missed a lot of group conversation, Snapchat goofs, meetings, and even some business opportunities. It is sad when I have this ‘inability’ to share and express as I cannot take pictures to post to Instagram or to post a tweet right away when I feel like I have something clever to say. As when I am with people, I am lost in many conversations and gossips. Although surprisingly without a phone I don’t feel any urge to ‘stalk’ people and my curiosity peaked on more important things I found on the net, which I find to be an extremely positive effect of having a broken phone. Now because I am bored most of the time without a phone, I finally find a new hobby which is to participate in PostCrossing.

Another fact I found out is that I actually spent more money on phone credit. I have to make a lot of calls and at the same time were forced to overcome my fear of making phone calls to strangers. Funnily at the same time it is a great excuse to miss out of things that I don’t want to do. I blurt out excuses of my phone being broken and successfully dodged myself out of things I am reluctant to do. Yet another con, as I have a different number on my backup phone, it really messes up several things including a mixed up Gojek order, missing a class at uni and causes a typo that lost me a brand deal. Maybe that’s karma, perhaps.

I think after going through a month without accessing social media through my phone, which I think it is the essential problem I faced in going without a phone, I think it is true that the saying “phone brings the farther people closer, and the closer people farther,” occur due to the effect of phones and its convenience in our daily life. After the days had passed I can conclude that I can live without a (smart)phone, but I would prefer to live with it. I miss out many things but not the most important ones in my life since I know that people who are important to me would be available regardless by the reach of a phone (or a postcard, in my most extreme case) or through a buzzing chat room. My phone definitely contribute greatly to my life, yet by this I am reminded that staying away from it once in a while is actually a good thing.

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