The first time I didn’t have my phone and something bad happened was when I went to the park with my kids on Sunday February 10, 2012. I was trying to be more present and less distracted. Mindful. Phone-less.
Do you know how I was able to go back and find the exact date of this unremarkable park trip? Because after a couple of lovely hours pottering around on the swings, I returned home, picked up my phone and discovered that Whitney Houston had died.
This was obviously a tragedy in real human terms and it was terribly sad for those those who knew and loved her. But as a digital journalist and a publisher, this was a news story that I’d missed and it was my job not to miss news stories like this.
‘Bad things happen when I don’t have my phone with me’, was my takeaway.
A couple of years later, I was at dinner with a girlfriend I hadn’t seen in ages. I decided to turn off my phone so I could be more present. Mindful. Less distracted. My husband was at home with the kids so I felt totally relaxed about their wellbeing. I ordered a margarita.
Two hours later, on my way to the carpark, I turned my phone on and it almost exploded. “Coco has hurt her neck and I’ve called an ambulance” was the first text I read. What happened next is a bit blurry and not due to alcohol. I nearly broke my thumbs phoning home to discover that indeed, my daughter had fallen awkwardly while play-wrestling with her brother and an ambulance had indeed been called. Her injuries were not serious and by the time I’d caught up on all of this, she was tucked up in bed with a hot water bottle.
‘I can never turn my phone off when I’m away from my kids’, was my takeaway.