Last week, I decided to give up my mobile phone for seven days.
It all began with my frustration with phone calls. I can’t stand them.
There is hardly ever an instance in life, where a ringing phone is not an interruption. Whether that be interrupting a train of thought, work, an activity or a conversation.
It’s like running into someone on the street that you weren’t planning to. Everyone hates that. Most people divert their eyes and attempt to walk in the opposite direction. You weren’t prepared. You were content in your own little bubble.
When my phone would ring, I’d want to peg it at the nearest wall.
I spoke about my experiment on this weeks episode of Mamamia Outloud. Post continues after audio.
And then it was the buzzing. And the vibrating. And the notifications. The ‘bing’ that serves as a constant reminder we must be ‘on’ at all times.
It’s like Chinese Water Torture, where water is slowly, but consistently, dropped onto one’s forehead.
It is a recipe for madness.
The difference is of course – that we are addicted to this form of torture.
I would spend hours upon hours on my phone everyday. Probably more than the average millennial. I read, I text, I Snapchat, I set reminders and alarms, I stalk people that annoy me on Instagram. At 25-years-old, I do not know adulthood without a phone.
Me in Thailand, enjoying all the beautiful scenery. Image supplied.
In 2016, a phone is an extension of our being. We feel like we're missing an arm without it. We have become part machine, without so much as blinking an eyelid.
So, last week I had had enough. I do not recall signing a contract that said I must be in possession of a phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I decided that this 129 gram computer in my back pocket, no bigger than the size of my hand, was a goddamn dictator. It never sought permission to overtake my life. It was an unwelcome intrusion - and I was ready to take my power back.
The first day was hell. HELL. I was like a heroin addict in withdrawal. I sat on the bus, grumpy, trying to come up with ideas for our morning meeting. Men and women around me learnt what was happening thousands of kilometers away, consuming ideas from all over the world with the effortless scroll of a thumb. All that was happening in my world was that the smelly man opposite me on the bus kept trying to inconspicuously pick his nose and then wipe it on the window. I felt uninspired.
"I was ready to take my power back." Image via iStock.
The next day was similar. The person next to me at work kept checking their phone and giggling, and I longed for that shot of serotonin. My mind had not transformed into the unrestrained creative oasis I had hoped for. To be honest, the lack of input had left me blank.
I became restless, and bit my nails with unprecedented intensity. I felt lonely and detached.
I did start to notice one positive though.
It usually takes me at least an hour to fall asleep. But the past few nights, I realised it had been virtually instantaneous. My mind wasn't buzzing when I got into bed. My heart wasn't beating out of my chest. I wasn't tossing and turning.
By mid week - things changed.
I felt lighter (literally and figuratively). As cliche and self-helpy as this sounds, I felt like I had found peace.