I went over 2 weeks with no smartphone. I wasn’t fully offline, I still had basic email, and Facebook on the home laptop which I still checked most nights. (who am I kidding, every night)
Now this wan’t by choice, my phone fried and while waiting for it to be replaced I had this super old phone. No Facebook, No Instagram, No Snapchat! *oh dear!*
All it could do was make and receive calls and texts, and basic emails. The phone is so old, that even the text messages couldn’t have emojis! It must be what cavemen felt like! I entered into it knowing I would have a minimum of 10 days before I got my phone back and honestly I didn’t think much of it – I’m from the generation that didn’t have smart phones growing up, so no biggie right?!
Well, during my ‘Smart-phone free sabbatical’ I learnt a few things.
I hated not being able to ‘see’ everything
Now, we are a very techy family. We have camera’s in both of the kids rooms, as well as all around the outside of the house. I probably check on the kids at least 5 times in between them going to bed, and me going to bed, and again several times in the morning before they wake up. Or I’ll hear a noise outside both during the night or day, and just check the cameras. Or if I’m not home, Check on the dog. On top of that we have a ring doorbell, which means even while I’m not home, I can answer the door, or, more often, use it to see whose at the door if I don’t want to answer it (great for salespeople!) I absolutely loathed not checking the cameras! It really made me realise how much I use them!
Going somewhere you haven’t been before takes more planning
Ella had a few appointments out of town that I didn’t know how to get to. Ordinarily, I have the address in my calendar from when I set the appointment, so when i get in my car, android auto hooks up, google maps pops up in my car and off I go!
Ella’s first appointment out I was very organised, overly so TBH. I texted myself the address so I’d have it on my ancient phone, for what reason I don’t know lol
Then I googled the address so I could get a rough idea with street view of what I ws looking for and wrote down directions – ON PAPER WITH A REAL PEN! (although by the second time I realised my car has built in GPS. 😂 )
Free to air radio sucks!
I spent 90% of my car trips writing this blog post in my head, and arguing with myself over whether anyone would even want to read it! The radio was so bad! The stupid talking, not being able to listen to what I felt like, the lack of clarity. everything just sounded fuzzy. Don’t get me wrong there were occasional good songs but most of it? ugh!
And similarly my morning walks were
I usually love the time to clear my head, relax and just not think! But I stopped going after the fourth day because without my podcasts/audio books/music stream all I did was walk around thinking about all the crap that needs to be done at home, or trying to work out the latest issue with Ella, or thinking about appointments, or what we need from the supermarket, etc. I just couldn’t switch my brain off!
I take way too many photos
If I see the kids doing something cute I take around a thousand photos trying to ‘capture the moment’ and try to get a good photo is usually impossible anyway (especially of Ella) I’ll direct, “put your arm down, smile, stand this way, smile, open your eyes, smile, put your arm that way, smile, face this way, smile, hold this toy, smile, wait, I’ll turn a light on, SMILE! no wonder it’s usually only the first photo that’s any good! lol
I have zero friends outside of social media
There were solid full days that I didn’t speak to another human outside of my month old and non vocal 7 year old – Neither of which are great conversationalists – and my partner, which lets face it, some days we have nothing new to say! I missed stupid snapchats and seeing what my friends were up to from their status updates. and just having conversations with strangers in my special needs parenting support groups, and reading blogs or articles.
I’ve spoken before about isolation, well it is tenfold without access to a smartphone! I could see how it would be a lifeline for special needs parents, (especially those that are in small country towns, or have trouble leaving the house) and for people with all sorts of disabilities. I honestly couldn’t imagine how much harder it would have been before the internet.
Another thing I have noticed is that so much of my social media use was out of boredom! during add breaks on TV or while waiting for an appointment or for Reece to wake up. and honestly it’s not hard to fill those times with something more substantial. My house is even more spotless than usual, I did those jobs I’ve been putting off (cleaning out the linen cupboard, going through Ella’s clothes and getting rid of stuff that shes outgrown, etc) I usually had the kitchen cleaned up and dishwasher unloaded before Ella even woke up from school, purely out of boredom, when normally I’d be reading news.
Plus I probably over share, While I didn’t have my phone, I made orange polenta cake, Reece had some ‘poosplosions’, I cut my foot open, all of which I probably would have shared, that I’m sure no one really missed (especially the poop lol)
So, to sum up, I suppose there’s some deep and enlightened lesson in all of that that I should have learned and passed along about finding myself or being in the moment, and I guess there’s a little bit of that. I know I’m less inclined to mindlessly scroll Facebook or Instagram out of boredom and go do something instead. And I’ll probably give up trying to get the ‘perfect’ photo
But being really honest, I’m just glad to have a phone back!