When it first happened, I was scared. I felt anxious, frustrated and a bit insecure.
I need it in my life! What will I do without it? How will I even exist?
Now, does that sound a bit dramatic to you over a broken phone? Actually, it is the cruel reality that most of us face in 2021. We are addicted to being connected every single second of our day. We need to know what is going on (or at least what this little tech device tells us) or we feel removed from society.
We are Controlled by a Machine
What happened to my phone was the biggest blessing I could ever wish for. I will be completely honest with you, I was totally addicted and controlled by this little machine. It was a very unhealthy relationship. Whenever I received a notification, my attention was taken from whatever I was doing and drawn to the screen, the urge of checking the news being almost unbearable.
What if something incredibly important happened? What if someone really needs me? What if I got a new comment and don’t reply immediately?
Questions I asked myself when I didn’t check my phone every minute or so. The anxiety notifications create is incredibly unhealthy. I experimented with turning my notifications off for a while, but even without the constant alerts I still checked my phone all the time — just in case I missed something important. And let’s be honest, we almost never miss anything important. And once the phone has your attention, it will not let go of it that easily.
You start reading one text message, then click a link someone sends you on youtube, then you end up watching videos for the next half an hour. Or you receive a notification that someone commented on your picture, you read it, like it and answer it. Then you check out the other person’s profile and end up scrolling through one million different pictures from strangers. What a weird digital world, don’t you think?
Thanks to God, My Phone Broke
So my phone broke. Don’t get me wrong it still works, but what really broke is the internet connection. Meaning I can only connect to wifi (no data), and I can only connect when I am right next to the router, other than that I am without internet. And because the router in our house is outside of my room in the corridor, I need to sit next to the router on the cold floor in order to check my messages. And honestly, who wants to do that all day long? I maybe do that two times per day, a maximum of three. And if I am on the cold corridor floor, I do not stay there longer than I need to.
The Big Blessing Life Has Given Me
1. I can finally focus and concentrate
I swear my days changed so much — I now have so much more time, focus and awareness! When I have to concentrate on work, I do not get distracted by constant notifications or the urge to check my social media. I really focus on the work at hand and finish what I need to do so much quicker than before. Meanwhile, every 20 minutes or so, I hear my colleague next door watching funny videos and losing a lot of time on nothing.
2. I am way more efficient
I use the time on my phone very efficiently. I do what I need to do — I upload content and reply messages without getting sidetracked by the shiny social media world. I do not scroll through Instagram or Facebook anymore, nor do I watch funny videos on TikTok or YouTube. I use my time efficiently and effectively. The dangerous social media spiral has lost its power over me.
3. I do not compare myself anymore
Doesn’t that happen to you — once you start scrolling through this vast and colourful social media world, following those shiny influencers, you start to see all the things you do not have or haven’t done. Between all this inspirational, beautifully designed, empowering and glorious posts, I sometimes feel a bit small. Why? Because I start to compare. It happens almost instantaneously and very much unconsciously.
The social media world is a tricky one, because as much as it can help and inspire us it, can also destroy us.
It all depends on how we use it. Since my phone broke, I simply do not invest the time anymore to look at what others are doing, I rather focus on what I am doing with my life.
4. I am actually HERE
I especially realise this when I am in everyday situations with other people. It happens to me all the time — preparing cacao in the kitchen, eating lunch, in meetings, … people a lot of times are not really there, but rather inside of their mobile phones. There are times when I am in a room full of people and I am the only one not staring into their phone screen. Then I just smile to myself and realise how strange this society has become, how distant, how cold.
We think we are connected to the world, but really we are disconnected from life.
So I want to take this moment to say thank you, thank you universe for taking the one thing I thought to be indispensable.
Thank you for disconnecting me.
Thank you for appreciating my art!