Were you to ask some of my friends, particularly those who I consider some of my closest of friends, they might tell you I’m a closet “hippie,” a “tree-hugger,” definitely one of those liberal minded people. I haven’t taken things so far as becoming vegan or ceasing my use of deoderant or even purchasing a hybrid car, but I do hug my Christmas tree. I recycle, but I could do more. I find little ways here and there to try and reduce my carbon footprint or better the Earth, but I could do more. I switched to using sugar cane paper at home, I stopped buying bottled water and other drinks, I have been switching out all the regular bulbs to the CFLs as the regular ones burn out, I pay my bills online and requested companies stop sending me paper statements/bills, I stopped most junk mail (until I moved then – yikes!), and so on and so forth. The fact is I do more than some people, but I still do much, MUCH less than others.
When it comes to cell phones, I am much the way I am when it comes to the environment. I could be worse, but I could be a lot better.
I was always a little resistant to the cell phone idea. I didn’t even get one until the mid to late 2000s. Then the iPhone hit and I was horrified at the way everyone was suddenly addicted to their phones. If someone forgot their phone it was as though they had left their right leg at home or their best friend had died. If the battery was dying OH MY GOD! It was terrible and gross and getting worse and worse and worse.
In 2010, I tried out my friend’s iPhone while on a trip to Seattle. In that moment, a monster was created. I purchased a smart phone shortly upon our return and thus joined the ranks of smart phone junkies. Everything was at the tip of my fingers. Twitter! MyFitnessPal! Facebook! Gooooooogle…. Oh my! As a google addict, well, now I was in for some trouble.
And trouble it was. I quickly became the person I had been secretly rolling my eyes at in my mind. Family functions saw me flicking through my apps. Nights out with friends were photographed and posted for posterity. (Drunken nights out with friends were hastily erased the next morning). I was sending messages through Facebook while driving, Tweeting from meetings, there was the AngryBirds craze, then WordsWithFriends and DrawSomething shortly thereafter, I played Suduko every night before bed, and don’t even get me started on how quick my draw was when it came time to google something. I had answers and I HAD THEM NOW!
I spent last week camping in beautiful Yosemite, California. While there, I spent a lot of my time thinking about my life and the strange disconnect between the way I have been living and the way I feel like I want to be living. The two are not entirely different from one another, but they are not at all the same, either. I already wrote, here in this blog, about my goals to live a less wired life. I wrote about ditching the cell phone entirely now that I have a land line. Further reflection proved it was just too big a step for me, particularly as I do need a phone for work purposes during the busy season.
So what then? What could I do to help turn the life I am living to the life I want to live? What could I do to take away some of the constant influx of information and technology and interruption from my day to day life?
Being due for my new-in-two upgrade, yesterday I took a trip to my local cell phone provider store. And walked out with this:
Yes, it’s true. I have reverted back to a flip phone. Gone are the apps, the games, the internet. No more handy directions when I am lost (good thing I still have a GPS), no more instant gratification of google, no more world wide web. I think the feature I will miss the most will be the syncing to my google calendar, but I can work around that. I worked around it for years.
Gone is the temptation to “check in” everywhere I go. I don’t need to give a detailed play by play of every moment of my life. I don’t need to get a detailed play by play of every moment of your lives. I may have to plan things a little better, but there’s something to be said for spending a little more time, putting in a tiny bit more care and effort in to things. I’m no longer locked into a contract with any cell phone provider (as I worked through a loophole there) and, should I decide this was a completely crazy move, I can still use my new-in-two deal to purchase myself a smartphone at a deeply discounted price.
People at work have reacted as though I grew a second head straight out of my neck. One in particular thought I downgraded due only for financial reasons and couldn’t understand when I told him it really had nothing at all to do with finances. I had no problem affording my $90someodd payment every month, though, yes, cutting that in half will be nice. It wasn’t about money. None of it is. It’s about quality. It’s about living a life I want to live, even if it may not jive with what people think is “normal.”
So maybe I’ll take the $500 I’ll save and treat myself to another week of camping under some incredible stars somewhere. That’s a glow I’d much rather spend time staring at.