No Phone, No Fun?
Being a child of my generation and a social media assistant no less, I have serious separation anxiety when left for too long without my phone, Alexander Skarsgard. Aptly named for his flawless, pale complexion and smooth body at the time of purchase. Of course now he's seen better days, but I love him still.
Why? Because he keeps me connected.
To my friends, family and to various websites through which I can choose to watch GIFs of baby animals, all day, everyday, if I please. And what could be better than that?
Some might argue actual human interaction? Anything which requires hand-eye coordination and not simply the ability to swipe left or right with one's thumb?
I was about to find out.
No phone, no TV, no internet for an entire working week.
*Please note: due to the nature of my employment, exceptions had to be made between the hours of 9-5.
But before and after? Total 100% ban. Piece of cake? We will see.
Yep. I had already completely forgotten. When the first thing you do in the morning is wake up and check your phone, it's a pretty difficult habit to shake. On I went with my morning as usual - checking the time, the weather, my friends uninteresting Sunday night Snapchat stories. I continued to do so until my colleague reminded me that today was in fact the day I was due to start my challenge.
Shit. I would start fresh after work...but I wanted to go to the gym after work? How would I find the strength to get through a Monday night workout without encouragement from Beyonce & co. ?
Honestly, I didn't. I had already cheated.
I know your thinking that my journalistic credibility is now entirely out the window. Not really. I'd merely changed the rules of the game, for my health's sake.
My 100% ban would officially begin the moment I arrived home.
This, as it turned out, was quite simple. It's surprising how fast time flies when you're drinking red wine and discussing the cultural importance of London Calling with your Dad on a Monday night. After arranging a wake up call (because who actually owns an alarm clock?), I actually managed to successfully head to sleep, without scrolling through tumblr for hours after lights out. Who knew?
Knock on the door: "It's just about 7 o'clock".
Dad, my real life alarm clock. Successfully ready for work with no technological aids, I managed to survive the short drive having resisted the strong urge to take my phone out of my bag. I literally had no idea what to do with my hands.
Made it home. An actual relief being forced to avert my eyes, after a full day of eyes on screens at work. Filling the few hours before it was acceptable to go to bed, I decide to try on the outfit I bought to wear on my birthday for only the second time ever. It did not look as good as I remembered.
Pick up phone to text friends? Nope. Snapchat? Nope. I was all alone with my thoughts and with no outside opinions, besides my parents who would definitely not tell me even if my butt looked three times the size of Jupiter.
One big bonus technology gives us? The potential for round the clock support - should you need it.
A short easy morning without my phone. Almost caved once while waiting for my coffee, when it became very obvious that I did not know how to wait patiently without a distraction.
During my ten-odd hours at work, along side all my designated social media scheduling, I had managed to squeeze in two Instagram posts to my personal account. Tragic? Regardless I had officially gotten my fix.
Then disaster struck. 8:25pm at a friend's house, Offspring was about to start, there was Mint Slice involved. I really didn't have a choice.
Yes, I know. 10 points from Gryffindor. I would not be taking home the Triwizard Cup today.
I'd officially failed. I had very long and busy day at work, followed up nicely by a dentist appointment. I mean, it definitely could have been worse. But sometimes all you want is to come home, have a long hot shower and watch Gilmore Girls while you eat your pizza for dinner.
So I did. I'll admit, I'm not proud of it. But perhaps this is all just really a lesson in moderation?
Having already failed day four, day five felt like a bit of a write off. But what I've learned this week is that boycotting technology all together is no use. We benefit from it so much in our everyday lives that it's illogical to try to cut it out all together. Why shouldn't you contact your friends if you've had a bad day or look up the weather so you can appropriately plan your outfit? This technology was developed to enhance our lives and so it should. Plus, it's fun.
What we need to get better at is balance. Not checking your phone after a certain time or having even just one TV free night a week. My conclusion? If you're still actively participating in the real human world, you're probably doing okay.
Snapchat your little heart out my friends.
Words: Stephanie Dugan