Without thinking, I reach down and begin to pat down my pants, looking for my phone. Like one of Pavlov’s furry-friends, I’ve been trained to respond immediately to any vibration that even feels like my smartphone going off. Feeling it in my pocket, I reach deep down. Before I can pull it out, Bzzt. Bzzt.
“Ok!” I think, “Relax, I’m checking.”
Gazing at the screen, I see thirteen boxes reminding me that I have not yet acted on a variety of social media channels, texts, games, etc. Honestly, the thought of working my way through the list of things screaming for my attention is exhausting. “I’ll get to them later.” I think to myself. As I begin to slip the phone back into my pocket, I feel it again.
Bzzt. Mocking me.
Bzzt. Calling me.
Bzzt. Judging me.
When did life become like this? What happened to those glory days when the only way someone could contact you was by pulling out a rectangular piece of plastic, punch several (memorized) numbers into a keypad, and listen close as a dial tone attempted to reach someone miles away.
No LCD screen telling you all the vital statistics of who you were calling. No incessant buzzing to let you know new notifications were flooding in while you were listening. No anxious feeling of missing out on something as the phone sat there untouched.
Today, a cell phone that is solely that – a phone – is known as a dumb phone. A brick of plastic that is only good for a function that few people actually utilize anymore. Instead, we spend our days chained to a tiny dictator that longs to consume every last second of our minuscule attention span.
Here’s a question that may shock you: What would it be like to return to those good old days of the “dumb phone”? You remember them – the flip-phone, the slider, the old, gigantic car phone. These items of antiquity are actually making a comeback as people begin to try and find freedom from smartphones that are actually making them dumb.
Ok, breathe for a moment. While the thought of not having immediate access to your social feed, music streaming service, and phone games may seem horrifying, imagine what you could accomplish if you only use your phone as a phone:
- You finally read that book that you’ve been lying about having read to your friends.
- You could learn to call your children by their names instead of their social media handles.
- You would miss out on that latest social media fad but actually enjoy a sunset.
- You could experience the joy that comes from not caring what is happening outside your current reality.
Sound like a lifestyle that is unattainable today? Remember, the iPhone came out just over a decade ago. Before that fateful day, billions of individuals spent years enjoying – and actually surviving – their life before the first telephone call ever flew through the air.
The next time you think about upgrading your cell phone, think about upgrading your life by moving back in time to a phone that is just that – a phone. Reclaim your freedom from that tiny dictator in your pocket. Trust me – you’ll survive.