What If You Get Off Your Damn Phone?

Oooh, the lessons just keep rolling in.

About a month ago, I spilled tea on my laptop and killed it. I’m typing this on a cheap temporary that I’m using until I get back to the States and have time to order another. And this weekend, having just arrived at a beautiful jungle getaway after a rough couple weeks of work … my phone fell into a swimming hole. Apparently “water-resistant” doesn’t mean that it’ll survive something so major. So … now no phone. And I have a Google Pixel – I don’t think anyone in Costa Rica even knows what the hell that is.

Am I addicted to my phone? Sure. Aren’t we all? It was a bummer to lose my laptop, for sure, but this incident made me realize that I’ve almost forgotten how to function without my device constantly in my hand.

But guess what – I didn’t have any phone at all for two whole days. And I didn’t miss out on shit. So I didn’t see every single post on Instagram – so what? I was definitely a bit bummed not to get some pictures of the lovely hideway hotel I stayed in, but I also realized that I document everything – and I mean EVERYTHING – with pictures. I love pictures. And yes, they mean a lot to me, and I do look back at them. But I dont need to take a picture of everything. I don’t have to post incessantly on social media to show everyone how great my life is. Things can happen, amazingly enough, without documentation. I get to actually fully live them in the present that way.

It forced me to spend two days actually focusing on what I was doing without random distractions from meaningless chats. It forced me to be extremely present with my surroundings, feeling it all, and letting it all course through me. It forced me to interact when I didn’t feel absolutely comfortable.

It also made me hyperaware of what I was experiencing – because I couldn’t take pictures to post later. No, I actually had to store this in my memory banks, and that awareness showed me how removed I’ve been, always gazing through a screen at the beauty, forgetting to sit with it and truly let it sink in to my skin.

Is this a huge pain in the ass to deal with? Yeah. I absolutely have to have a phone for my job here, and it’s not great to be in another country with no form of communication. I do have shit to accomplish.

But at the same time, it’s a really beautiful lesson. One that I clearly needed.

I’m here to tell you, don’t wait until a disaster happens to detach yourself from your phone. If you’re like me, it’s practically an extra limb on your body at this point – and it shouldn’t be. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can break the addiction, or at least temper it a bit. Experience and enjoy this wonderful life, here and now, while it’s happening. Stop worrying about whether you have ample documentation of it, or what the people in your life won’t see if you aren’t constantly posting. After all, why do they need to see it? We spend so much time peeking in on the lives of others when we could just be … living our own.

And doesn’t that sound more fulfilling?

Start regulating your screen time – notice how compulsive you are when it comes to your phone. That should be motivation enough. Leave it behind. Go enjoy yourself without it. Resist the urge to use it as a distraction whenever you have a single free moment. I know it’s a tough habit to bust, but you’ve got this! Life is too damn short to spending it constantly staring into a screen. c

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