Struggling to break my phone dependency

Photo by Brenda Lin

This comes as something of a continuation and elaboration on a piece I wrote last semester, where I recalled a day in which I could not find my phone and had to go without it. What followed was an account of how my daily routine got scattered. Contact between friends was minimal and attention rates in classes suddenly skyrocketed, as if due to some seemingly inexplicable phenomenon.

Now consider today. Adjusted to a normal work routine, the dependency to my gadget has drastically declined. Aside from the few coffee and lunch breaks scattered throughout the day during which I quickly glance at Facebook, my phone sits comfortably idle in my pocket. The number of texts from friends as well as the score on Snapchat have taken a hit, while my phone’s battery life seems to have tripled. From all of my prior ramblings, my statement that I feel more attentive without the constant availability of my phone still stands; however, I would also like to add that I feel like I am also more retentive without my unlimited source of news.

As a short prelude to my findings, I will ask if you have ever checked your phone without realizing someone was talking to you? Flip the script. Have you ever asked someone a question and had them blatantly ignore you, only to apologize moments later for putting their phone and personal curiosities over you? Once is never a problem, but it quickly becomes rude when it starts to occur regularly.

After some reflection, I realized that I used to be like that, always giving priority to those on social media over the people with whom I was holding an actual conversation.

It should not be  shocking that being forced to tuck my phone away and focus was difficult at first. I had to save many of my thoughts for a later time, when I could share them with friends. I could no longer tap away on my phone all day long. When I went to share my stories or thoughts with friends and they continued to give their phone precedence, my revelation hit: maybe not being connected will ultimately be better.

Without my phone constantly distracting me, I actually hear when my mother shouts a list of chores down the stairs. Instead of replying “What?” three times over because I was too distracted, I simply pretend I didn’t hear in the hopes she gives up (just kidding mom).

Somehow, not having a phone to provide a constant digital distraction has endowed me with the ability to remember not only my mother’s demands but my own thoughts and plans as well.

None of this is remotely scientific proof, and I can not guarantee that when I return to campus for class that I will not revert to the dependence on my phone. All I can say with surety is that when I am tweeting in the wee hours of the morning about the hellacious week Tech has thrown at me, maybe it is my own doing.