Photo from Unsplash
You think you want to do it, but then life makes it happen and all of a sudden you are faced with the nasty situation.
You say “I’ll just leave my phone away for a bit, disable the Wi-Fi (so you won’t get any more notifications); make a solid plan” and all that. Do you think your smartphone actually cares about your plans? Newsflash: It doesn’t! All of a sudden it breaks for good, leaving you with no choice but to go into rehab because a new smartphone isn’t readily available, obviously. Thus, you begin the struggle of doing damage control.
Yes, it happened to me. Here’s how I handled it:
Luckily I was at home.
I wanted to send a message and going into the app it showed me I had no messages stored. That was obviously not right. So I figured I would restart the phone and that should fix the error.
But it didn’t.
It just showed a black screen with white writing stating the problem: that it could not reboot and then telling me to “press any key to shut down”. OK, I said, I would give it a hard reset and it will fix itself. That didn’t work either because obviously pressing any button would just shut down the phone.
I couldn’t believe that happened, really, because I was already planning to buy a new phone after two years of using my actual one “intensely” for social media purposes. Also for Candy Crush purposes, until my phone crashed this summer and I had to reset it so all my “work” went down the drain. You can imagine how nice that was.
It wasn’t the right moment for it to break, but then again is there a right moment for your smartphone to break? Especially since it was the day I published a new blogpost that I needed to share and follow how it’s doing. If you are a blogger you get it.
Facebook and Twitter aren’t such a problem since I had my laptop to do that, but what about Instagram? I researched a bit and there is no way for you to properly upload pictures from your computer. Turns out Instagram wants to keep it solely to the mobile phone as a way for you to upload pictures.
Also, going back to the only functional phone I had at hand, which is a basic Nokia phone, and having to write texts, made me realize how much I took for granted the QWERTY touchscreen keyboard. Oh man, pressing up to 3-4 times on a button for a letter is not fun at all.
Another aspect that was not so fun was the “contacts” aspect. Since I had a smartphone I had no longer saved contacts to the SIM card. Why even do that anymore? I just connected them to the email account service and they were safe and easily accessible if I were to switch to another phone. To another smartphone that is, not a basic early 2000s type of phone.
So yeah, the first day was rough.
It’s the morning and there are no notifications to be read on my phone. But I open the laptop and check whatever is there to check.
Thing is I had a hairdresser appointment later with a friend and since it was going to be about a big haircut change, I figured I should do a check-in at the salon (which I do not usually do), maybe take some pictures along the way (just like any respected blogger does, am I right?) and a picture later with the finished result, but no. No smartphone to do that because mine decided to bail on me, not caring about my mobile social media needs throughout the day.
Another moment that was challenging was when I had to wait for my friend to be ready also so we could leave together for coffee. What do you do these days when you have to wait alone? You get your smartphone out, check social media, read the news or play a game. Not doable for me. I also did not have a book with me nor my Kindle this time. Big mistake! Lesson learned.
Later we went to Starbucks and since it’s the beginning of November the red cups with their Christmas drinks are back and I was planning to obviously take a picture for Instagram and get into the #RedCups mood.
Am I the only one who feels a necessity for the whole Instagram experience on PC? To also avoid constantly transferring photos from my camera to my phone and then posting to Instagram. It would be nice to be able to fully manage my Instagram account from my laptop.
Anyways, I still experienced “withdrawal” symptoms on this second day.
It does not feel as dramatic as it did yesterday and the day before. Also, in the second half of the day I experienced a nasty headache so I did not care so much on this day about the no smartphone situation.
I think I am starting to adapt and be less of a drama queen.
There was this other thing I missed: tweeting from my mobile about a really good tennis match that was on TV in Paris between Federer and Isner.
I think that was about it for the third day.
DAY 4 and DAY 5 already felt normal, I was fully accustomed with the no smartphone situation and I kind of felt liberated. Day 5 was also the day when, towards the end of it, I got a new phone.
Now things are on a right track I think even though I have a new phone for a week now. I am no longer glued to it, so the positive effects of the rehab are still being felt and I intend on keeping it that way. At least for as long as I can. Now I do carry a book with me at all times or my notebook to write in it.
All jokes aside now, I did take the time to look at the bigger picture. It’s a bit scary how much power we allow to a small device to have over us. How we crave small, short-termed, instant rewards like social media notifications are. Tiny doses of happiness and pleasure taken like by like, follow by follow, comment by comment without really realizing that we placed our search for a better mood or self-esteem in the wrong places.
You really should search for other entertainment options or ways to improve your mood. If not for replacing your smartphone and spending less time having it glued to your hand, then in preparation for the moment when it crashes, like mine did, leaving you with your guard down not knowing what to do to spend some free time or manage whatever you have to manage by using your it.
Do you have your smartphone glued to your hand too? Why? Is it for the right reasons or for the wrong reasons and are those right reasons really worth it?