Dead phone. New freedoms.
When was the last time you turned off your phone? Not to charge it overnight or reset it, but intentionally turned off your phone. For me, it wasn't intentional but it has been so liberating!
My phone has been off now for 10 days. That's such a minimal amount of time when I see it typed out in print, but if you are like me and are not used to turning your phone off, I'm sure you can get the magnitude of every day that has gone by without a phone, and it has been eye opening.
My phone cut off on me while I was driving to San Marcos to buy a new kitchen table. After cruising down the road and listening to an audiobook while Google directed me where to go, I was in town and two turns away from my destination when my phone went black, without warning or notice. It has not come on since despite battery changes, charger changes, and just mere time. I was scheduled to go out of town the next day, but I delayed my trip to give me a chance to try to get my phone fixed or buy a new one. For some reason the thought of traveling without one seemed impossible so I spent 8 hours the next day scrambling around trying to fix my phone issue. That included time waiting in the phone repair store, the T-Mobile store, time looking online trying to buy one from another person, and going to Best Buy to see what phones are even on the market in stores. I'm the type of person to hold on to a phone as long as I can until I absolutely have to buy another one, so the thought of spending over $100 on something that may not have all the features I like so I wouldn't necessarily want it, didn't sit well with me. Somewhere into those hours of time I spent, I decided that I was being ridiculous. I thought, "Why am I working this hard to give people an opportunity to track ME down?" Then the thought of freedom set in.
Why am I working this hard to give people an opportunity to track ME down?
I have a Google voice number so I am able to communicate with my family through my computer on Wi-Fi, so once that problem was resolved, I decided to leave town without the stress or worry of finding a phone. Deciding to continue forward without a device attached to me at all times that will distract my thoughts without warning has been a relief. It has alleviated me from so much more responsibility daily, hourly, and therefore less stress and more time to actually focus on the things I deem worth focusing on.
As I have returned home and days have continued on, the thought to spend some time looking for a phone has crossed my mind, but I have been more motivated by the new peace I've found to continue the new phone-less path. The funny thing, when my phone stopped working, it wasn't having a phone that I missed, it was not being able to use all the apps! The convenience of apps like Google maps, Facebook Marketplace, and others at my fingertips was the hardest thing to get over, but I quickly acknowledged the value of making distractions intentional and allocating time for activities. While I'm driving there is no reason to look at a phone (and for the first time in a long time I actually printed paper directions to go somewhere). Now when I'm in the car there is free time for my mind to wonder, solve problems, dream and imagine, or converse with a higher power. While I'm cooking at home there are no phone calls or notification beeps to delay my finish time. While I'm running, I'm absorbing all the sights and sounds around me while neurons fire in my brain as capillaries in my muscles open and creative thoughts flow. While I'm laying in bed at night, I have control over the last message I read or the last sound I hear.
...I'm absorbing all the sights and sounds around me...
I did finally get a temporary phone today, a used and cheap one since I still am not committed to shopping for one and my daughter will get the temp when I'm done with it. Now that I have a phone, it is still in airplane mode. I am still in control of my distractions and I am intentional about my communication times. With this discipline I hope to have the best of both worlds, information or communication when I need it and a silent phone in my purse when I don't.
So in a world of distractions where we complain of the distractions, I encourage you to give it a go without all the distractions, even if only for a few days. Allocate time for communication and conversation, and at other times, give yourself and the world around you, physical and spiritual, an opportunity to speak to your soul. You may find or create things you didn't even know you were looking for.