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Life without a phone.

How breaking my phone turned out to be a pivotal learning point in my life.

Technology these days, becoming more and more advanced they can baffle even the greatest of minds. Pretty much everything you need can be compacted into a handheld device. Telephone, internet, camera, apps games etc… Mobile phones these days have pretty much everything you could ever ask for. They are a life saver! But are they really though? I recently broke my phone and in the short hours that followed i found myself in an unfamiliar situation, a period of panic and anger almost like a lost puppy looking for it’s owner. The more i thought about it however, i realized it was potentially a gift rather than the curse i was so greatly focused on.

It started when i dropped my phone out of my pocket on a recent road trip i was on, the screen cracked all over instantly and the touch screen was completely ruined. To make matters worse however i then decided to leave it lying on my roof as i went to open the boot of my car about ten minutes later, crushing the phone and jamming it between my boot and the body of the car. It seemed that subconsciously i was hell bent on destroying my phone, although i think it was pretty obvious luck had abandoned me that day!

Thoughts were rushing through my head at this point, what if someone needs to phone me or vice versa? What about the pictures i have taken, the articles and notes i had written? Is all the music gone from my phone, the passwords for different accounts i have saved to remember me as i had forgotten them? And most importantly, what about my tinder matches? Will i loose them all? Panic and feeling helpless had became my main emotions at this point. So many hours of work, memories and effort gone into this little device we call our phones, all to be lost forever!

We went for dinner not long after i had unintentionally ruined my life (at least that’s what it felt like at the time anyway) and i was forced to do the unthinkable… Socialize with my friends. I know, the horror! In 2016 a man being forced to engage in conversation with his acquaintances around a dinner table whilst on holiday instead of not talking and everyone being glued to those tiny screens in their hands. What a nightmare eh?! Whilst conversing i thought about the current generation at the moment. The generation that i firmly believe will suffer in a social aspect in years to come. Phones have made it so easy to talk to people now that face to face chats are becoming a thing of the past. That may sound a bit extreme but it is partially true. Think about it, how often do you see a group of people sitting at a meal or in a pub or wherever and they’re all on their phones? Now that i didn’t have one i was noticing it more and more and was slowly realizing i was one of these people. Seriously though, i can’t remember the last time i spent a day or night with friends without checking my phone at least ten times. Text messages, facebook, snapchat, instagram, whats app notifications etc.. There always seems to be something happening on my phone. So been given the chance to actually sit and talk to my friends (albeit the majority of chat was mainly jokes directed at me for having broken my phone) it was actually, pretty nice to be honest.

Over the next few days i discovered i had been more productive without my phone than in the last month with it. I was able to study for work, do a lot more research on several topics i was interested in and finally read a book that i had bought a month before. No distractions, no constant pinging or vibrating and my focus was on what it needed to be rather than something of no relevance. It was awesome. I was managing to do more studying and research in one day than i would previously have done in a week, which is pretty crazy!

I noticed as well that my sleeping had improved greatly over the short period without my phone. Since i was young i have always had problems sleeping. Most nights i stay up late reading comments on Facebook posts or reading blogs etc pretty much everything rather than sleep. When i finally put my phone down and try and sleep, I’ll toss and turn for a wee while before checking my phone again and repeating the same process over and over again. Finally getting to sleep about two hours after i had intended to. Without my phone however? I’m forced to go to sleep when i go to bed, no distractions or notifications to keep me up. Something which annoyed me at first but once i realized the improvement of my sleeping i embraced it with open arms.

It really puts things into perspective when you look at it from a different angle. Instead of focusing on the negatives which to be honest tends to be my thing, i was able to look at the positives and the potential benefits that can come from an a thing you think has no benefits.

Being in a positive mood and thinking with a positive mindset was not what i expected the outcome of breaking my phone to be. The withdrawal symptoms, and the fear of change that had initially taken over when it first happened i thought would stay with me until i got my phone back. However, after the experience and the different frame of mind i was now in i was happy to have proved myself wrong. Although i was severely devastated to have lost all my information and months of hard work, i learned a valuable lesson. My phone shouldn’t have control of me, it shouldn’t dictate how i live my life and my world should definitely not revolve around it. It’s not the end of the world loosing or breaking a phone, it can be a well needed kick up the arse to help you focus on the things that matter. I’m glad i broke my phone in truth, as it has helped me open my eyes and see just how much i can achieve without it but also how much of a hold it had on me in the past. I have definitely learned a valuable lesson and will make sure i don’t end up as addicted to my phone in the future as i was in the past. If you are on the same page i was I’d encourage you to at least think of how much of an unneeded impact your phone has on your life. We have survived for thousands of years without phones, and I’m pretty confident we would continue to survive without them for many years to come.

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