I have had no mobile phone for over a week now! And I’ve learnt some stuff I thought I’d share!
Where’s my phone?
Well hard to know where it might be right now. Somewhere on an adventure that started by falling down a portaloo at WOMAD festival!
I felt a bit gutted about £150 worth of tech and a whole load of family photos going down the loo, but I also felt a bit liberated. I knew I could really switch off from the world outside of Womad and really focus on the experience of being with my family, which I embraced. Beautiful moments of doing Yoga under the trees in The World of Wellbeing with my son standing on my back as I bowed in cat and cow pose! Holding him in my arms as he chanted along to a group round of “om”, beautiful moments I shall cherish for ever.
What I have missed
The thing I have missed most is the phones camera. I haven’t taken a single photograph in nearly two weeks. I took no photos a WOMAD. I reckon this could be the longest no photo taking time since I began a degree in photography nearly twenty years ago! At the weekend I took my son and my nephew to the fair. They went on massive rides they’d never been on in their lives! And I couldn’t document it. I couldn’t share it, well not in the way I’m used to with photos and videos on social media.
But then it was almost like I felt I needed to present ‘proof’ to the social media friends and family. To say “look I am awesome, I did this!”. Why would I need that? Does that ‘like’ give a physiological reward response? I have read that it does. Is this a modern day Pavlov’s dogs response in action? Did I even know I needed this approval? How will I cope without it?
21,000 ‘likes’ I am both proud and appalled by this!
At WOMAD I was in a happy, clappy, festival bubble apart from the photos I didn’t really need to call or make plans. But then I was with my husband who had his phone, so I could if I needed to. His phone was like a safety crutch! A transition tool!
Back home was when I really noticed my autopilot habits. A pause in play with my son or on the tv and before I knew it my hand was reaching for my phone. To scroll through social media. It was like an impulse to have a cigarette. Does that make it an addiction?
But I love tech, I love social media. And fortunately I have a MacBook so I could still do my work online and check in on social media. And even though hours had gone by between my social media peeks, I seem to have missed nothing!
Friends and family knew I didn’t have a phone so contacted my husband, or got me on facebook or by email. We made plans to meet at a certain time and place and we did! Like it was 1992! Not with ten messages in advance with progress updates and what could actually be reassurance seeking. Wait are these massive, cultural Safety Behaviours? Things we do mindlessly with the aim of avoiding anxiety or low mood?
Liberated or Lost?
Do I feel lost or liberated without a phone?
I miss my camera. Shall I start carrying round my old Cannon SLR? Oh actually that would be nice…
I really don’t feel lost at all. I have also stopped wearing my smart watch. It seemed pointless without the phone screens connection. Plus do I really need alerts right to my wrist? Why?
Living in a Bubble?
But then in my non contactable happy bubble guilt is triggered. A significant memory is of having my phone in my hand ringing and making a choice not to answer it immediately, as I was at a till paying for shopping. It was a call from my mums landline. The type of call ID you see on your phone and know is unusual. I paid and I called straight back. I couldn’t get through. I have always felt uneasy about.
Turned out my little sister was home with my little brother, she was maybe 15, he was maybe 11. He has a nut allergy and was having an allergic reaction, his throat was closing and his breathing was restricted. She’d phoned me for help and I hadn’t answered. I had chosen not to answer.
But my sister had dealt with it without me. They had gone straight to the doc’s round the corner, who got and ambulance and got them to hospital. And I wonder what would I have said in that moment of panic if I had of answered? I will never know.
Phoning from a landline like it’s 1992!
So do I need a phone, for instant access in an emergency? I have needed to plug in our usually unplugged landline phone a couple of times, like to order a replacement Sim card! Using the landline phone is like going back in time! Another Mindful experience, as the phone is on a wire you are forced to sit and just be on the phone! It doesn’t even have a speaker option! Who does that? I usually make my calls on loudspeaker in the car when driving! Um so mindful!
Without that annoying beeping device I feel so much more Mindful in my day to day life. I am more present. I am aware of what I am doing. The automatic pull to check social media on my phone has subsided. My MacBook offers a welcome connection to the online world, which I love, but I do not live in.
The absolute best things about having no phone is the space is has given me to be more present in my life in the here and now. To slow down and have more time.
Do I need a phone though? My mum has always had the most basic of phones, it makes calls and texts, no tech, no online access. Is that the bridge? But what about a camera? Is this talk of an addict? Do I ‘need’ a phone? Do you ‘need’ a phone? Advice please!…