This week I made the decision to turn my cell phone off for 24 hours. To most of my friends, this didn’t seem like a big deal but I’m sure the nerd community can understand what a crazy thought it is to be disconnected for that long!
So, Monday 6:30 pm came: I sent a text to my dad letting him know I would be unreachable and gave him my roommate’s number in case of an emergency. After that, I resisted my urge to warn all other friends (since that seemed like it would defeat the purpose), held down the off button on my iPhone, did the Power Off swipe, and put my phone in a safe place…
Within the first hour I checked my phone a handful of times just out of pure habit. I even picked it up before I went to the bathroom (because let’s be honest, that’s the best time to catch up on Huffington Post headlines or your most recent DrawSomething game).
The night’s plan was to disconnect and be less available… I actually planned to make lunch for the week, paint my nails, write this week’s post, on a totally different subject, and do some reading. But things quickly changed when I grabbed a scalding hot pot and burned the shit out of my fingers! Right away, I wanted to call my dad and ask him for home remedies or text my best friend a picture of my sad fingers, but I stayed strong. By strong I mean I bitched endlessly to anyone who would listen and held my hand in a cup of ice water for over an hour. But hey, at least I didn’t turn my phone on!
Because I was quite literally unable to type for the night, I ended up disconnecting not only from my cell phone but from my computer, too. How did I spend my night? Well, I hung out with my roommates, bathed my burns in lotion, and went to bed embarrassingly early.
Now that this is over and my phone is back on, I’m rather confused with myself, since I did this with no real reason or foresight. Just decided to turn my phone off and did it! In fact, when people asked, I couldn’t really articulate why…all I knew is that I felt too available. This might have to do with a string of dudes bailing on me (c’mon – grow some balls and just say you’re not feelin’ it) or maybe that I caught myself using my phone as a crutch when alone in public.
My phone, or more specifically technology, has been a huge tool in helping me come out of my comfort zone. From online dating to meeting Jen and writing for the site, from finding random things to do in LA to making friends on Twitter and then meeting IRL, I must thank technology for helping me out! But, at the same time it holds me back. After every first date, I update friends from back home and get their advice. It is impossible for me to send a text (or an OkCupid message) without overanalyzing every single word. I check my phone countless times while not so patiently waiting to hear back from my most recent beaux. And when I find myself sitting alone, so quickly I turn to checking Facebook or Twitter.
This mini-experiment proved to me that I can, in fact, disconnect. You guys might think I’m crazy at this point, but you don’t understand – I’m COMPLETELY accessible by my phone. There’s rarely a call that goes unanswered or a text that I take more than 10 minutes to reply to. Most of the core people in my life live on the other side of the country, and I don’t want to miss out on anything or have them feel as though I’m not there for them. Distance does a good job of that on its own, so the way I look at it, at least I’m available digitally! Herein lies another major problem, though: Instead of realizing I’m a strong, independent lady, I go back to my comfort zone to help with everything. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s incredible that when I’m having a bummer of a day and need nothing more than a good best friend talk, I can FaceTime with any of them in a minute. Or when I’m making my dad’s famous pancakes and forget how many eggs to add, I can shoot him a text and not even be done cracking the first one before he responds. But when a dude texts me, who waited a ridiculously long amount of time, and asks me out for the night…I need to realize it’s okay to make him wait. I don’t have to be so available for everyone all of the time.
Here’s an easy example: Why would I bother looking around for cute boys at a bar when my phone is buzzing time and time again with new guys who want to meet up? I wouldn’t because my phone is my comfort zone. Technology is safe. But this needs to change! I need to get away from safe!
I don’t think I’ll be turning my phone off again anytime soon, but I will definitely be keeping it in my purse more often and maybe even leaving it at home every now and then. Living in the moment, here I come.
And in case you were wondering…
What I missed most: My alarm clock, the ability to take pictures of random things throughout the day, venting to my best friend via text, being able to candidly read the NSFW stuff on TNTML at work, and having my phone in the bathroom (though I definitely pee’d much more quickly without it!).
What I didn’t miss at all: Being alerted for messages that only say “Hey” on OkCupid, getting work emails on my computer and on my phone simultaneously, waiting for people to respond to texts, and accidentally scrolling to the top of my Twitter feed when I’m halfway through reading new tweets.