A basic phone that is. Just before Christmas I made the decision to go back to a basic phone (LG Exalt). I have been debating whether or not to even post about this because it was a personal and intentional decision and I frankly did not do it for anyone else or to draw attention. After having several brief conversations with my close friends and family about this decision, I felt it would be important to share with you all why I made the switch and how it has been extremely helpful to me in so many ways to maybe inspire someone else that might be struggling. Disclaimer: this is not a statement saying that all people should revert back to a basic phone. This has just worked for me and if it inspires you too then wonderful! 🙂
When going to Verizon to make the switch, the Verizon employee looked at me as if I had four heads and looked at me with concern asking, “Are you sure about this?” like I was making a really detrimental decision. It was really surprising how odd it seemed to everyone but I knew that it was the right decision for me. A few weeks previous to making the change, my husband, a product designer, was sharing the new methods the cell phone market has used to improve basic cell phones. He had no idea that I would actually be interested in this but I had actually been thinking of going back to a basic phone for awhile now and that conversation with him really confirmed that this would be a good move.
Admittedly, I had been depending on my iPhone way too much and was in the habit of needlessly checking it way too often…even in the car at a stoplight or…while driving. I know, I know, that is completely idiotic and dangerous and yet I still did it on a regular basis. That, above all else, woke me up to my need for making some separation between myself and my smart phone. I obviously have self-control and would choose to not pick up my cell phone on my own accord when in the car but I really felt moved to make a more intentional decision by breaking with my smart phone completely. In the past month, since transitioning to a basic phone, I have noticed these positive outcomes from the switch:
- I actually talk to people. For those of you that remember T9—whew. Or even worse, if you aren’t using T9 and want an “S”, you best believe you have to hit the 7 four times. You have to work for it. This may sound like a negative, BUT, it has actually helped me just talk to people more, imagine that. If it is more than a short thought or question, I end up just calling the person I need to talk to and we are able to make a more personal contact.
- My mind is quieter. I am a multi-tasker and thrive off of productivity so when I had a smart phone with access to all of the things, I used it for all of the things all of the time. Without constant access to social media and the internet, I am forced (in the best of ways) to consider how really necessary those things are that I feel are so “necessary”. If I want to know something or check something bad enough, it can wait until I get home. Let’s get back to a world where it is okay to just not know something right away. I am now not constantly thinking what else I could be looking at or learning on my phone and my mind is so much calmer because of it.
- I make new friends. All of you know what happens when you are stuck in line somewhere, waiting in a doctor’s office, anticipating a meal arriving at a restaurant, or really anywhere else where we have 2.5 seconds without constant mental stimulation…we get on our phones. Before I switched to a basic phone, it would literally stir up anger in me when I realized that I was dazing out, scrolling through my phone, without actually looking around or when I would see a couple at a restaurant table not talking to one another but instead being absorbed into the world of their iPhone. Now without my mini computer constantly within reach, I talk to other people in line, pay attention to my surroundings, notice things that I haven’t paid attention to before, etc. I get to be more intentional with how I approach others and invest in paying attention to the people and places right in front of me, not on a tiny screen.
With the positives there are also small struggles. If I need to go somewhere new, I have to go old-school and print out directions or just look it up in advance. If I am out and wonder if a place is open or I need a phone number for a store or restaurant that is not in my contacts, I am at a loss. Voice-texting is not a thing so that adds some difficulty. However, if I need to text, I should be in a spot where I shouldn’t need to use voice-texting anyway (i.e. I am in a safe situation where both hands can be used and multi-tasking like that is not necessary). I don’t have access to spotify or anything like that with it so I either use my drive to pray or listen to NPR and catch up on the news. SO, when any struggle arises, the solution is always “well, I just need to be more intentional about that…” which is the whole point.
I do have an iPad that I use for using apps etc. so I still have access but, again, I have to really think about why I am using the iPad and when and it usually stays at home.
In the coming months, I hope to find more ways to be more intentional in my use with technology and find even more positives of going back to the basics.