May 15th, 2013
On Monday around 1pm I turned off my phone. It’s Wednesday night and it’s still off. I’ve realized, more than ever, that I am addicted to my phone. For this reason I am going to go 21 days without a phone, social media, or home internet. I hope to write something every night before bed. Wish me luck. –CET
Waking up today with no animals to pet, give chunks, or sing songs to, is very lonely. Waking up today without my son to hug and hold and tell me he loves me, is also very lonely. Normally I would wake up, alone, and reach for my phone and try to connect with others and create a false sense of connection. Normally that would help me feel less alone. Soon after that, I would feel more alone. Then I would get frustrated. Today, I am just alone. Trying to plan in my head who I should contact to spend time with and how. Without a phone/social media/ home internet I have a lot less people in my network of friends. The only way to communicate with me right now is my work email, when I am working, and coming to my house. People lived without phones. People lived without cell phones. People lived without social media. I will be okay. Hopefully after 21 days I will have new daily habits that do not involve phone/social media/home internet as much.
Long phoneless day, but I feel like I can do more and get more done without my phone/social media/home internet. Since Monday I’ve seen more people and made more plans than normal. Today I had lunch with an old co-worker. We use to spend lunches together, but on our phones. Our excuse was that we spent the entire day together. Today we talked. It was nice.
I need to keep myself busy without phone/social media/ home internet, so I went to a movie tonight, alone. I’ve never done that before. It wasn’t a very good movie, but it was at the Riverview (my favorite theater in MN). It was one of the loneliest things I’ve ever done. There was a man sitting right in front of me, he kept looking around nervously, so I thought he was also alone at a movie for the first time, but soon his date showed up. I found myself really wanting to turn on my phone and connect when I left the movie. A movie is a place where the phone is off, so the habit is to look for the phone right after leaving the theater.
For the record (as he said), my boyfriend thinks this experiment is dumb. He thinks something bad could happen and I will never forgive myself for not knowing. I hope that that does not happen. I hope all is well until June 3rd. I hope all is well forever. Please.
I had a lot of dreams last night about my phone, none good.
I truly believe that I want to be with people a lot more since I feel so technically disconnected. I am starting to love life without my phone/social media/home internet. I also think that I am more confident. Yes, it’s been less than a week, but I no longer find myself hiding behind my phone when I am in an awkward situation. I also feel less urgency in my daily tasks. I told a friend today that it feels like being at a cabin. I would love to keep this sense of calm.
Tomorrow I go back on the grid via firstname.lastname@example.org. I have mixed feelings about it. I had a wonderful weekend. I spent time with friends and my boyfriend. My boyfriend and I have communication issues, but this weekend we didn’t. I felt so much more present and I think it really helped. Also, he is less addicted to checking his phone, so we spent a lot of quality time together. I wonder if he still thinks this experiment is dumb? I really think it is helping me relax and calm the fuck down. It is also helping me really think. I normally feel like I have no time to think, but that is no longer true. I’m starting to like this new way of life.
Being back on the grid wasn’t very life changing. I just did what I needed to and tried not to check my email too often. I did an okay job, but hope to check it less tomorrow. Last night I realized that I really miss porn. No phone equals no porn. Hopefully I will break that habit too and get creative. May 23rd, yep, I still miss porn. I also realize that anyone who reads this will think twice before using/touching my phone.
I really miss saying goodnight, sweet dreams to my boyfriend.
Today at a stoplight, I found myself reaching for my phone. I kept reaching. Then I panicked a little until I realized that it was off, that I was doing an experiment, that all was well. All is well, it is, but my dear boyfriend keeps scaring me. He is worried something will happen and I will not know until it’s too late. I keep telling him that everything will be okay, but I do worry. I have to believe that everything will be okay. My panic today at the stoplight proved that I am still very addicted to my phone/social media/ home internet and our old habits together. I really miss some of the old habits. I need to think of the good and the bad, so when I turn my phone back on, I will be able to keep my current state of mind. I am really enjoying myself these days. I feel like I am finally living a little, not just surviving. Every little change helps. I really want to come away from this a better and more present person.
When I was younger, I used to wish my eyes were cameras, and that when I blinked, I took a picture. Today, as I drove, I soaked in those images. Normally I would be too busy messing with my phone (yes, I know, it’s bad) to realized the outside world beyond what I needed to keep myself on the road. Today I saw; a child in the back of a car with a huge balloon, a sweet lesbian couple tending to their garden, a mother and daughter arguing in the car behind me, a man walking with his gas station dinner in his hands, a pretty woman walking her pretty dog, a family walking home with groceries, a log that I was sure was a turtle for over 30 seconds, and a young woman driving with her boyfriend who never seemed to take his eyes off her. It feels good to see the world outside of the screen. I have to admit, I do miss my phone/social media/home internet, but I know it’s there, and I don’t see any of it going away soon.
I woke up today feeling terrible. I went to work and at 10:40am I left for therapy and did not go back to work. Since work is the only place that I can communicate with others (but as I said before, my network of people has shrunk without phone/social media/home internet), I forgot to tell a few people that I am leaving for the weekend. I hope I don’t worry anyone. Not being on social media/internet is one thing, but not having a phone, well that’s a little silly. I still have that wonderful cabin feeling, so I am going to stick with my goal of 21 days without phone/social media/home internet. Since that day is coming up, I need to seriously think about my plan when I turn the phone on and go back to phone/social media/home internet.
I know that if my phone/email/social media/home internet were on, I would not be in Grand Marais right now. I felt terrible when I woke up, but I had to stick with my plan to come to this wonderful place, because that was the plan, and how can I break the plan with no way to tell anyone? I am so happy that I am here. I am so happy that my phone is off. One thing I miss a lot is sharing photos from my day with others. I really enjoyed that. That might be something I will do again when I am back on the grid. I think I need to start making lists of the negative and positive so I can find a new way to navigate that world. I know that I love how present I am. I remember how frustrated I was when I was not able to respond instantly to all of the pings and beeps on my phone. I don’t want that anymore. I want to be in change, not the phone. So tired. Goodnight, world.
Back on the grid after a long and wonderful weekend. I don’t think I missed a thing. It rained in the Twin Cites and most people were upset. Here’s my list of negative things about my phone/social media/home internet.
Social media/internet: I get upset with friends and loved ones about dumb shit. I feel like checking if something has happened all of the time, since something new (yet not always import) is always happening. I post photos that I know people will like when I feel bad and want to know that people are into what I am into. I wonder way too often why my boyfriend’s Facebook profile still says single after two years of dating him. I waste so much time. I spend less time with friends. I spend less time with people. I feel less calm. I wonder why I am not doing fun things, when so many others seem to be doing fun things.
Phone: I waste so much time. I get frustrated when I am looking at something or texting and real life makes me stop. I spend less time with friends. I spend less time with people. I feel less calm. I text while I am driving. I look at social media while driving. I take photos of my son for social media when I should be enjoying him. I spend so much time staring at my phone, not the world. I get jolted out of the present. I work when it’s not urgent, I don’t need to, and when I am not getting paid.
Here’s my list of positive things about my phone/social media/home internet.
Social media/internet: I can share art events with many people. I can share photos I make with many people. I really love sharing photos of my son with others; he’s a true Bestever. I can see what my friends and family are doing. I learn about my friends events. I use Tumblr as a tool to force myself to make photos everyday. I read a lot of news online. I enjoy watching movies on Netflix. I love some of my friends rambling Facebook posts.
Phone: It’s nice to be able to call people (yeah, that was something I forgot when I turned off my phone). It’s nice to also be able to text people. What I like most about my phone is taking random photos. Since I take photography very serious, it’s nice to have one place where I can take a ton of random and not so amazing photos.
Life is seldom as urgent as it feels. It’s so nice too realize that after almost three weeks of no phone/social media/home internet.
When I turn my phone back on, I want to make a video of the phone receiving three weeks of missed activity. I want to post the video and this text on my Tumblr and maybe other social media. I think it’s messed up that I am already planning what I am going to post. I do think this experiment is working/helping, but it’s not going to rewire my brain. I do hope I can come back to this text often and remember how I felt and what I learned. June 3rd, what a boring video.
June 1st – 2nd
New Phone Rules:
Turn phone off one day a week.
No phone/social media/internet use (other than camera, important calls, and before bed Netflix) when with my son.
No phone/social media/internet use (other than camera and important calls) when with friends and family.
Phone/social media/internet use for down time only.
No work when not working unless I am expecting something important.
No getting angry with others about anything phone/social media/internet related.
No phone use while driving.
Read this text about having my phone off weekly.
No using phone/social media/internet when upset.
No phone/social media/internet when at work unless it’s work related.
Remember that things are not as urgent as they feel.
Phone off or far away from me when sleeping.
No checking phone at night if I can’t sleep.
Call more than text.
Turned my phone on, that was uneventful. My smartphone only saves text messages for a week or less and does not save missed calls. So, if I missed anything, I really missed it. I really enjoyed my experiment and I am so proud of myself for lasting 21 days.