Like almost every single woman I know, I have lost count of all the times I’ve rummaged through my handbag panicking because of the thought that I had lost my phone. Usually, I ask someone around me to give me a call and it’s found but this time it was different. It happened last week and upon realizing that I have lost my phone I panicked like I haven’t panicked in a very long time. As a matter of fact, I can’t remember feeling so lost and out of sorts. As I walked out of the restaurant, I realized that my phone was not with me. It took me all of 5 minutes to notice it was missing but it was too late. I went back to check but someone had already taken it and decided to keep it.
A smartphone is no longer something we use; it’s is a part of who we are. It’s like a lifeline and losing my phone realized me that we (internet addicts) all are basically social cripples and our smart phones are our crutches, it’s our virtual home. Our smart phones carry within themselves the very essence of each one of us: contacts and messages of our friends, work and personal appointments, photographs, music, e-banking and home delivery apps for food. How can we ever live without it? And since my mom was taking he time getting me a new phone, I started to notice how my phone had already taken over my life. Here’s all what I realized:
1. The world will go on without me
Embarrassingly, my biggest concern during my clinical hours or any time that I have to spend without WiFi is that something important and huge will happen. My smart phone’s constant connection to the world gave me the luxury of watching big events unfold right before my eyes. I was able to react simultaneously with world events and watch Twitter meltdowns happen in real time. Losing my phone realized me that the world did go on without me and all the information was still around.
2. Time expands when I don’t have a smartphone
I came to an embarrassing realization about how much time I’ve been wasting looking for the possibilities of engagement on my Facebook posts and Tweets. I kept feeling the involuntary itch to check my texts subside. Using the phone while studying or working may seem like smart multitasking but having all of that at my fingertips throughout the day actually has been distracting me from what is important and fulfilling. Losing my phone made me able to observe my thoughts, my surroundings and my thoughts about my surroundings. I’d been missing what was going on around me because I was too busy staring at my phone every min.
3. Less messages to contend with
When I couldn’t check my emails and messages constantly, I stopped half-replying to stuff. So fewer messages batted back to me, and by the time I got a new phone I had very few emails all around. It actually helped me streamline communication and I, now, address a thing head instead of getting myself engaged in negative and useless discussions.
4. Don’t document everything
Once while out on a long drive, I saw a man carrying a cow on his bike and since then, I’ve been a firm believer in documenting everything. The first couple days without my phone left me worrying, what if I see something similar again? What if I cook something worth Instagramming? Do I have the self-restraint to post my check-ins and photos of Pizza on Facebook before I eat it? Can I enjoy going out with Ayesha Usman without taking photos with her and showing off on social networks? A very hard way I realized, it doesn’t really matter. This urge of documenting everything everywhere left me distracted during the moments I should just enjoy. Do I need to take a selfie every day? (P.S this is a rhetorical question.)
5. I’m never not unreachable or lost
Being a 90’s kind I know, for sure, that there was a time when we found each other without mobile phones. And even now when people who really matter and are important can find a way to get in touch with you. I had this very uncomfortable feeling when I didn’t have the immediate access to my friends and colleagues, but it quickly abated as Ayesha Mubasher was knocking my door and Kiran Sadique was calling my landline the very next day and I realized that it wasn’t me who vanished, it was just my phone.
6. Real life communications are more meaningful
The thing that I love most about the modern age is the quick access to people residing anywhere and not having to wait around for months or for years to have a long-distance conversation. My slowed-down week offline allowed me to live more deliberately and I reevaluated how to use internet (if only for a few days). Although I love to have my favorite people on call at any moment, I’ve started to see my friends as my extra limbs rather than actual people. Losing my phone left me with no other option but to wait until I get to a computer to send emails and long messages. And yes, I’ve learned that face to face communications more important and meaningful than chatting online while ignoring the ones who’re sitting right next to you.