The gift of losing my smartphone!

balance-110850_1280(1)This year, on my birthday, I lost my phone. We were on our way to Kerala, on holiday and I felt a bit daunted to say the least, at the prospect of having to manage without my phone for the next 10 days. I mean it had everything in it- my Whatsapp, Facebook messenger, my favourite music on Soundcloud, e-mails, important messages, favourite links to absolutely everything (luckily pictures and contacts had been backed up). In short, for a person who works mostly from home, my link to the big, wide, world.

As we went up the winding hills, I adjusted to pulling out the heavy camera, rather than brandishing the phone the moment I needed a quick click. I fought with the feeling of wanting to ‘share’ each sight, sound and experience, while it was still happening. I looked to my hand, every time I heard a notification on someone’s phone. Even my daughter looked on wistfully if someone had the same ringtone as my beloved ex-phone.

It felt like I didn’t have much ‘to do’ as we waited for lunch to arrive.. till I noticed the curious painting on the wall, the quaint chandeliers, two people at the table next. It’s not that I would admit to being a screen-o-holic; in fact I had my pegged myself at being fairly mindful if we were out, especially with our children. But without the phone, there was a spaciousness that I had long forgotten. I have to admit, it felt unfamiliar. Initially, I wondered where to take my attention, and I felt a strange awe, as I could keep it there. Time was rarefied and stretched. I could use allΒ  my senses! (if you think I’m exaggerating, please lose your phone!)

Over the next few days, my husband was surprised that I didn’t take up his offer of checking for messages or updates, using his phone. My children joyously shared my mind-and eye-space with just the mountains and hills and exquisite beauty around us. Gradually, rushed semi- experiences drew out into experiences. I was ready for these to marinate, rather than share at the first chance. Glances turned to gazes.

By the time I came home and was ‘plugged in’ again to everything, I noticed the number of unnecessary notifications in my inbox- things I hadn’t even signed up for-news I didn’t need- things that needed my action, that really didn’t. A sense of urgency that was not required. A feeling of unease was trying to push itself into my space again- that every issue was a burning one, that everything was wrong with the world or that nothing was ever wrong. Information from so many sources to which you ‘had to’ react, have a view and comment upon, without even knowing it’s validity.

It dawned on me that I hadn’t missed my phone at all. I hadn’t missed always being on or being notified for everything.

I had missed the connection with those who matter to me. The ability to reach out, when I wanted or they needed.

For starters, I spent some time unsubscribing from unnecessary mails that always appeared unread and made me feel I was behind, for no reason. (Using an app called Unroll me). I now try to keep the phone at a bit of a distance, rather than treating it as a long lost appendage or vital organ.

I want to stay connected…to the spaciousness …to the breath of fresh air.

Wonder if you relate?

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11 thoughts on “The gift of losing my smartphone!

  1. Well written. Bitter truth of life. We have become slaves to our phones and missing some important things in life.

  2. A turn of events that made your holiday, a holiday in every sense! Lovely read. A ten day trip on the backwaters to the ‘back ages’…. We’re the generation that knew life before the all-invasive and addictive mobile phones. So in a sense, losing your phone took you back to a typical holiday we would have spent in our childhood?

  3. Yeah!! That’s true. past two weeks am not using phone.free from unnecessary things.The science of why we should spend our Money on Experiences, Not Things.

    • Hats off to you Nag on deciding not to use your phone! For me it was not self imposed… But in the run up to losing the phone, I had wanted to disconnect from it many a time.

  4. I can totally relate to this – but not because I lost my phone, in fact six months ago I went on a self imposed digital detox for 7 days. It made me realize a lot of the things you have mentioned. That nothing is really truly urgent on our smart phones – except of course an emergency call. I swear I now look at my phone only when I need to, rather than when it beeps at me for every notification.
    Also wanted to share an amazing blog I came across on this topic – look up “handsfreemama”.
    Xx

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