Recently, I found myself without a phone. The past several days, I’ve been getting around experiencing the unexpected highs and lows of no longer being wireless. It has been immensely annoying, but also surprisingly beneficial. A phone has so much convenience, but also more stress than I’ve ever realized. After four days and counting since my phone went missing, I’ve gone through every emotion possible. So, here is an overview of what it’s like living without a phone so you don’t have to try it.
At first it was just annoying — getting lost from the airport and not having Apple Pay, writing my roommates numbers on a Post-It note and taking pictures on my iPad. It was incredibly inconvenient living without the many necessities my phone provides for me. The iMessage not working on my iPad and laptop meant I resorted to Instagram on the browser and Snapchat on my tablet, dm-ing my mom and making my boyfriend write things in his notes app for me.
After a few days, I started getting used to these changes in my daily routine: finding creative ways to set an alarm or reading instead of scrolling through TikTok. Slowly the inconveniences became normal and I started to like not having my phone around. I feel like I have more time in my day. I’m more productive and intentional about my time, finally watching that movie I’ve been meaning to get around to or getting some time to start a book.
On top of that, it feels nice not having the obligation of responding to people. There’s no way for them to contact me and I have every reason to not be answering. Along with this freedom, though, comes with the guilt of knowing I’m missing messages and not having a way to let people know why. I felt stressed I might miss something important, and also a weird sensation of not having any control but feeling like I should.
As my days without a phone are, hopefully, coming to an end, I have spent a lot of time considering these past few days. It is a little alarming realizing how dependent I am on this piece of technology. What would happen if phones suddenly become obsolete? How would we learn to adapt and what good and bad things would come from it?
I look forward to having maps and alarms again, that’s for sure. But part of me is going to miss the surprising escape not having a phone provided me with. The chance to be more present. More aware of what’s happening around me. The feeling of being off the grid for a little.
So the next time you find yourself without a phone, good luck and lucky you. The challenges are many and the jokes about your phonelessness will be endless. But take a minute to appreciate the benefits that come with this. It’ll be strange and a little difficult, but it will do some good.
Maybe take a day every once in a while to lock your phone. Spend time writing down directions and emailing your friends. Spend some time off your phone and get to experience the world without one.