chained-smartphone-addictLook around you- what’s the first thing that caught your eye? Well, I can answer you that the first thing I saw lying on the table is my dear phone. I bring it everywhere, from restaurants to even the bathroom. You see? Like a lot of people around me, I simply cannot live without my phone. I have a syndrome commonly known as “Nomophobia”, if you understand what I mean.

I realized after I have broken up that I live on the existence of my phone. I check it every morning the first thing when I wake up, and it is, sadly, the last thing that I touch every night. As a half introvert living overseas, some of my friends exists in my phone, Whatsapp and Facebook (and Instagram) are simply my means of contacting the outside world. And here comes the excruciating part where the annoyingly curious side of me decided to check for updates from my ex’s Instagram. Can you imagine how life was before we all have smartphones on our hands? We would have no idea how our long lost friends or exes were doing without bumping them on the street by accident or calling them up intentionally. The world is simply one click away these days. And I cannot help but wonder, is this a good thing or a bad thing?

So, I decided to spend a day without using my phone at all. Sounds like a piece of cake right? It wasn’t. It took me one big dose of courage just to switch off my phone and putting it inside my bedside drawer. And there I was, on a normal Wednesday morning, getting ready for work. I looked one last time at the mirror fixing my hair and reached my hand casually for my phone. “Wait- I wasn’t allowed to use it today.”, my heart burst out a little cry while I walked out of my apartment door. Driving without my iPhone playing music was painful, so I scrambled through the old vintage stacks of CDs stashed in my car drawer, and finally found myself a nice album from John Mayer. I spent the rest of my 1 hour to work humming to “Heartbreak Warfare” and “Gravity”, and it turned out that the pure solitude without constantly text driving was actually enjoyable.

Working without a phone is quite nerve-shaking when in fact your boss is used to messaging you from just across the corridor asking you to fix up a contract. I absolutely had no idea that she has been messaging me all morning until she finally decided to walk down the corridor with a stern look on her face and asked “Why didn’t you answer my messages?”. Then I told her all about my plan not to use the phone for the day and her eyebrow raised expression gradually turned to a smirk, saying that people “back in her days relied on actual communication”. I nodded in response to her comment, hoping that I would not be burned on the stakes anymore for not completing my tasks. For the rest of the afternoon, she has gotten used to walking down the hallway to talk to me, and to my surprise, she said that this form of communication is better for her joint movements. She even told me at the end of the day that “this is a good start for a healthy lifestyle, Emerson.”

I ended my work day on a happy note. Happy boss, happy life. I have never guessed how quiet the world could be without my phone accompanying me on the way to work and back at home. And out of a sudden, I remembered my loving mom has a saying that she tells me constantly when she sees me with my phone all day that “You will never know how much a person cares about you without your phone.” And yes she is right, who would go and look for me if they found me disappearing in the online world, who would actually care for my existence in the virtual and seemingly empty world? I think the answer is yet to be discovered.

And yeah, I think I might go for a week next time.