Two weeks ago, I sacrificed my loyal smartphone. Well, technically, I dropped it while catching my daughter as she fell on a rough, rocky surface. She was unfazed but my phone was destroyed.
Unfortunately, replacing that phone with the same model (which I love) would take over a week. I was unwilling to compromise by spending hundreds of dollars on a phone I would only use for a week waiting for the replacement to arrive, so I made a daring decision. I would be mobile phone-free for a week.
While that might not sound revolutionary, realize that I have not been mobile phone-free for over 10 years. The company I started in 2005, Flurry, was a trailblazer in the world of mobile applications and I was Mr. Mobile, checking my email on my phone 10 years ago. So going without a phone was a strange feeling, the feeling of being disconnected.
Over the course of that week, I realized that I didn’t actually miss my mobile phone very much. It was inconvenient to meet people and coordinate travel, since I couldn’t call or text them from the road, but I managed to make it work. Just like we used to make it work in the days before mobile phones. I didn’t miss the always-on connectivity and I have a long-standing policy against installing games on my phone lest I find myself unable to put it down. Without my phone to entertain me on the train or bus, I carried a good book.
I did start to remember what it was like in the days before phones. I got lost for the first time I can remember, without GPS maps to help me find my way. I responded to emails in hours instead of minutes. I wasn’t able to take photos of some events because I no longer had a camera with me everywhere I went. But, because of all those things, I was present in a way I haven’t been for years.
I have my new phone now, and things are back to the way they were. I don’t get lost, I respond to emails quickly and I take tons of photos of my daughter all the time. So my brief vacation from being always on is now over.
Still, I find myself checking my phone less often and sometimes forgetting where I left it. I think I may leave it in a drawer on the weekends when we go to the playground to play. Surprisingly, I won’t miss it as much as I thought.