About a week ago, I did an experiment on myself in what would happen to me if I neglect my phone for a day. I wasn’t sure what prompt me but before I decided to do this experiment, I’ve grown weary of everything going around in the world. Whether it’s the news, sports, even in my social media spheres, I just didn’t want any of it.
Maybe it was the fact that I always relied on my phone for the last couple of years. The nature of my work before required me to constantly talk to other people and some even bothered me at the middle of the night or during the weekends. You could say that left me a bit traumatized every time I get a new message or a call from an unknown number. Up until now I don’t answer someone I don’t know. There was also the use of social media on my phone. Technology has given us a way through Facebook, Twitter, or any other online app to communicate with our friends anywhere. I didn’t really upload much on anything, but I looked and checked out on my contacts. Also a while back, I had a relationship, and of course, talking to her almost every moment was like breathing air.
Since I am now single and unemployed, generally people have no reason to contact me. Well, this is excluding my close friends who have a viber group who send messages every now and then. But I thought, what the heck, if it’s only for a day, who would notice? I thought this was the perfect opportunity to really relax, think about my future, or even get in touch with God again or of course, I can just watch TV series all day. Either way, there would be no distractions.
I didn’t make any rules to this but the whole idea is to not look at my phone for a day. That included no charging or anything else. I chose an opportune time to do this experiment. I thought of scenarios wherein my parents or siblings wouldn’t need to text me. I would be alone in our home so everything is cleared.
There were many choices on what should I do. I could read a book a whole day, go on a movie marathon, look for a job, research grad schools, paint, learn karate, fly a kite, bake cookies, heck I don’t know. After a day without my phone, I tested myself further and I didn’t even touch my phone for two straight days. If I did this six months ago, this would be ludicrous. I won’t get into details on what I did but here a couple of things I’ve learned about my experience and about myself.
Realization #1 – Depression
The premise of shutting down my phone because there would be no one who would need me is a bit depressing I have to admit. Of course there is always family and friends who are there for you but in the world that we live in today where communication is constant with every text, direct message, mention, notification, and whatnot, it is disturbing that there was a feeling of no one caring for a day. When I did charge and turn on my phone after two days, I did get a couple of messages here and there which also included a message telling me to pay the bill. Maybe that tipped off the depression.
Realization #2 – Liberation
I lost my cellphone twice in the past two years. During those times, I had trouble going through work because I couldn’t reach anybody plus, I worried the hell out my girlfriend. But also in those times, there was a sense of relief that no one was bothering me. I’m thinking solely about my work of course. Even for a brief moment there was a slither of peace from bosses, business people, and a whole lot more.
So in this particular scenario (without losing my phone) I was able to achieve that sense of peace even though there was a hint of depression.
The third realization is that there might not need a realization in the first place. It was just two days of my life and not a whole lot has change in my situation. You could say I’ve grown a bit spiritually by not communicating with anyone but I also know this doesn’t prove anything yet. During those two days, there was a lot of writing, playing video games, praying, reading, and eating. Or just a sad reality what a bum would do on a daily basis.
Back in highschool, I attended a silent retreat. Student leaders (for a time I was part of the Athletics Council of the school) were sent to a seminar type of retreat where no one was allowed to talk. We were supposed to you know, meditate and stuff. Memories of this retreat surfaced during my experiment of not using my phone. Just like back in highschool, it’s good to take a break every now and then from the constant blabber of the world. It’s like somebody pressed the fast forward button and we need to pause and hold on to something. But eventually, everyone has to go back to reality and face the everyday grind. I guess we’re all just looking for that peace, even it just means shutting down your phone for a day.