My phone was stolen a few months ago so I’ve been stuck with an extremely old HTC android, which has stopped working a few weeks ago. Having exceeded my data limits as well, I’m practically just bring a useless metal case around.
But not having my phone has made me realize how everyone else is so addicted to theirs. Having conversations with my friends during lunch has been impossible, and I find myself staring into space while she looks through a social media feed or reply unimportant messages.
Just yesterday, while having a last meal with my friend before we both end our exchange semesters, all she did was scroll through her Facebook newsfeed. Or she was googling for restaurant opening hours during dinner. To be honest, it really got on my nerves. I didn’t understand why she had to google or use her phone for something that was completely not urgent while ignoring the person that’s sitting right in front of her waiting to have a conversation. Even our conversation consisted of things like what who-and-who posted on Facebook and so on.
Not having my phone made me realize how annoying it is that everyone else never actually lives in that moment. We are constantly looking through our past through social media sites or we constantly feel like every message received needs to be urgently replied to and answered.
Not having my phone was pretty difficult in the first few days but I’m glad, and I feel like I can just be, without having to pretend to look through my phone during awkward moments or have the ability to escape conversations. Its hard to believe, but I really feel happier because:
1) I have more time to do other things as I’m not wasting time on games or social media sites.
2) I actually realize the people and scenery around me, without my phone.
3) I am forced to live in the moment and have conversations with people that I am with.
4) Not being constantly plugged in to social media made me more confident with myself.
…And the list probably goes on and on.
What had the biggest impact was #4 and I realized how social media actually made me depressed as being around it all the time when I had my phone made me feel like my life was not as fun/exciting as others and I found myself comparing my schedule and parties to theirs when I’m perfectly happy with how I spent my day.
Facebook has been so edited and controlled that it paints a skew picture of our lives where we only post about the amazing and fun times. I used to feel like everyone else was having a ‘funner’ exchange as their pictures all looked so pretty and with so many different people from other countries and nationalities and I felt that I was wasting my exchange, in comparison.
But after I escaped from the soul-sucking Facebook newsfeed, I felt really at ease with myself. I saw myself fully experiencing the moment on exchange rather than having a constant psychological competition with everybody else. I realized how addicted I was to my phone and I realized how much more I can have/feel if I stopped staring at that little case I carry around.
From this experience, I’ve decided to stop using my phone for the next 2 weeks while I’m travelling around the States to fully indulge myself in the amazing sceneries and experiences that it has to offer!
Wish me luck! <3