By Sami Smith
If I’m being honest, I am really surprised I went the whole month, but I did, and this is how it went….
Week 1 was a lot of adjusting to life without a phone, I noticed even my friends and family were trying to get used to it and my mom was definitely not too happy about it. That’s one thing about having a phone too is that phones are used for safety a lot of the time to be able to call 911 or call someone for help and giving up my phone for a month was basically giving up my safety for a month.
I also had to prepare to not have a phone, there’s a lot of things that we use our phones for that we don’t really think about, I actually went out and bought an alarm clock because I always used my phone as an alarm. I’m not going to lie, it was kind of difficult, there were a lot of instructions and I was concerned that it wouldn’t go off and I would be late for school or something. But I think I figured it out.
Another thing that I didn’t really think about before I did this was being in class or a social setting. Everyone is on their phone and I would be awkwardly standing or sitting there because I didn’t have a phone. Especially as teenagers I think we often use our phones as a social buffer so I was kind of happy to challenge myself to not have that buffer and continue a conversation with someone instead of glancing down at my phone and ignoring them.
Going into week 2 I pretty much realized that I had a lot of time on my hands without a phone in front of me. And because of that, I noticed that I was more time efficient with my homework and studying. I think with my phone I procrastinated a lot especially when it came to homework, so being able to not have any distractions and just focus on school work definitely was a huge benefit for not having a phone. I also started to feel a bit withdraw. For the most part I tried to keep myself busy to distract from the fact that I didn’t have a phone, but you can only stay busy for so long and I definitely felt myself giving out at some points.
Week 3 was probably the most interesting week because I went to California for Thanksgiving with my cousin and my little brother and I did not have a phone at all. A lot of my friends said, “just give in and take your phone to take pictures and everything” and I don’t know I was so far in that I just couldn’t quit now. In California me and my family hiked a whole lot which was a great thing to do without a phone because I was in nature and when I was hiking I didn’t have to think about the outside world and I could focus on just making it to the top of the mountain and not worry about who was trying to text or call me. We also went to the San Diego zoo which is known to be one of the best zoos in the world, I 100% recommend it. I definitely looked like a tourist with my camera with me but I guess that’s the fun in it. Another thing that was nice about not having a phone was not having to think about social media and posting pictures of me at the zoo or anything, I was able to just focus on what was happening in front of me instead of worrying about Instagram, snapchat, and other social media accounts. I think the biggest eye opener for me was when we went to La Hoya which is a popular beach in San Diego with seals everywhere it was just a beautiful area and being able to take it all in with an actual camera instead of a phone was probably one of the best things because I got to actually capture the beauty of the west coast sunset and wildlife instead of just taking a picture of it on my phone to post on social media and not really get to enjoy Ja Hoya for myself. It definitely made me think in terms of would I have appreciated California as much if I brought my phone or would I have been looking down at the screen the whole time?
So week 4 I kind of wanted to try new things so I actually started to cook more and I made things from salmon, to pasta, to just simple blueberry muffins. I think this was a great way to use the time I had without a phone and I really hope to continue cooking when I use my phone again. I also started winter crew so I began working out with my teammates and I think I was able to push myself a little more in the gym because I wasn’t stalling between workouts just looking at my phone. Instead I was focusing on bettering myself and not comparing myself to other people on social media.
I think one of the best parts of this experiment was being more focused, when you have your phone, you’re having a conversation with like 20 different people at a time and without my phone I only focussed on the people in front of me so overall I feel like I was able to be more present. The last few days of not having my phone I kind of wanted to prepare myself to have a phone again and I wanted to focus on continuing with the progress I had made throughout the month and not just throwing it all away once I got my phone back.
There’s no question that the amount of time we spend on our phone has become a huge problem in our society and it holds a lot of us back from being truly happy. I’m not saying you have to go a month without your phone, but it doesn’t hurt to take a step back from the screen once in a while and realize the amazing life that you have in front of you.