I left the house without my smartphone and didn’t realize it until I arrived at work.
It felt funny at first. I had become used to carrying my phone with me. But as the day went on, I noticed something peculiar. I felt calmer.
There were no texts interrupting my concentration. No buzzing of a phone set to silent to distract me during a meeting. No notifications from apps warning me of impending weather fronts.
I didn’t text my husband with thoughts the second I had them. I didn’t send any “how are you” or “where are you” messages to my daughter.
As if to reinforce the strange but not bad quiet of my day, I saw a book on the new book cart that caught my minimalist eye. The Joy of Less: 101 Stories about Having More by Simplifying Our Lives, a book in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Flipping through the pages, I discovered, by a great cosmic coincidence, a section titled “Joyfully Unplugged”.
This section has stories about taking a sabbatical from Facebook, going without television, and generally disconnecting from electronics in order to reconnect with life. One of my favorites is titled, “Why I Gave My Smartphone a Lobotomy” by Nicole L. V. Mullis. It is simply a short essay about a woman who began to pay more attention to her phone than to those around her and cured herself by deleting all her apps.
I’m not quite ready to do that, but I am ready to lay my phone aside and forget about it from time to time. I don’t need to be available 24/7. I don’t want to be available 24/7.
The quiet of my phoneless day was an unexpectedly nice surprise. I realized with a shock that quiet is now a treat, something that needs to be planned. And, I have decided, it is something worth planning.
Interested in the effects being constantly online? Try these titles, which explore the bad and the good sides of being online: