My month as a recovering cell phone addict was an interesting one. When people heard that I was going a month without my cell phone, most said I was crazy. Typical reaction? “YOU POOR THING. I AM SO SORRY. I COULD NEVER SURVIVE.”
Truth is, I was feeling the same way. But strangely enough, that feeling didn’t last much more than a week. The first week or so was pretty hard because I felt completely isolated from the rest of the world, my only connection and respite being Facebook. My friends complained about not being able to contact me, but I had my landline, Facebook, and email (archaic, I know). Yes, it was a little inconvenient at times, but everyone, including me, was being forced to get used to it.
Because it was a personal decision and not forced on me by my parents or anyone else, it was much more satisfying and it was easier for me to be positive about it. My phone addiction had gotten so bad that I’m guessing I had hit around 5,000 texts in one month. I was constantly short on sleep because of how late into the night I would be texting; I was constantly on my phone. My grades were suffering, several hitting rock bottom, and I was becoming disconnected with my family.
It was a hard realization when I finally quit ignoring the elephant in the room. It was embarrassing. I knew I needed to do something about it, so I decided to go cold turkey. I decided I would take a month from texting—I turned off my phone.
As I started, I became aware of how much more homework I was getting done (no duh). My grades, with a LOT of hard work and effort, began to rise. Crazy thing was, I had extra time even after my homework. I spent a lot more time that I spent with my sister, who is one of my best friends, which hadn’t happened in a long time. I even had time to read a book for fun, which I haven’t been able to do in ages (Rick Riordan for the win!).
Yes, it was hard when I couldn’t access my phone calendar (which is where I put everything) and I usually saved notes for myself in my drafts, but I came up with alternatives. I bought a pocket calendar, which also solved my notes problem.
One of the most satisfying things was after about a week there were days I noticed I hadn’t even thought about missing my phone. I was getting used to not having a clock (I hate watches) and my friends were nice enough to let me borrow their phones when I needed to make a call. Probably the happiest moment of that month was not the day I turned it back on, but the day I noticed my phone was dusty. I was thrilled. My “cell phone diet” was working.
Now that my phone is back on, I’m considering turning it off again. I’ve been back to feeling stressed with “too much to do” when it’s really just the result of me texting too much again. I’m considerably better than I used to be, but not having a phone felt so much better. Many of my friends still don’t understand why I did it, but it was the most stress-free and satisfying month I’ve had all year.