I didn’t check my bus schedule. Mistake. I sat at the bus stop nervous if I gave myself enough time. Pacing back and forth waiting for a late 44. I finally found a clock inside Bartell’s and knew I had more than enough time to get to work. Felt relaxed until the end of the day. Someone called in sick and I found out that I had to stay late at work. The problem? I made a date for after work, but didn’t have a phone to let the person know I might be late. Not fun, but only because I am so trapped into a modern way of thinking about scheduling. If you are going to be late, it is so easy to let the person know. I could be waylaid by a freak snow storm and a yeti terrorizing my neighborhood, but I can still let people know what is happening. A blessing and a curse. I am trapped to my phone, because everyone else is. I am expected to be available, because everyone is immediately available for contact.
I brought my phone with me to work. I had to. I was receiving a ride to work (eco-conscious!) and we were meeting at specific location, but at an undetermined time. I kept my phone off until after work when I was watching election results. I felt guilty all day for cheating my 20 some readers.
I had a 7 am doctor’s appointment, to a new doctor, in what is basically Maple Leaf. I took my phone on my walk because I didn’t know the area. I didn’t listen to music, just used the GPS. When walking home, I tried to take a different route and ended up getting lost around Greenlake. It was a beautiful adventure and I didn’t use my phone until I realized I had done a loop after about an hour of walking. I did send texts to relate a story that I felt needed to be shared. I used it to find a bus back to my part of town. It was used not for convenience, but out of need.
I am impressed by the clarity of mind I have when freed from phone usage. I can not only hear myself think, but thoughts generate from the depth of my being and germinate throughout my mind. They stimulate me, yet I am aware, completely, of my surroundings. I am instantly relieved from the shackles of a clock, of online personality management, of soundtrack selections, and idle information gathering. I am free to improve and strengthen my mind. My time is not wasted in gathering useless data. Instant gratification turns into a prolonged enjoyment of simply being in any given moment.
At this point, this challenge is a success. I am already accomplishing the goals I set out to achieve. I miss listening to music on my bus ride to work, but now I can read on the bus. The commute actually seems to take shorter time while reading. I encourage you to spend three days without a phone. Don’t try this during a hectic part of life, just when you have three days in a row to spare. See how you feel. Do you feel more anxious? Less? People today will go their whole lives holding onto a cellphone unless they accidentally forget it at home. Try purposefully leaving your phone at home and tell me what happens in your day.