My anxious relationship with my mobile phone

For our first week in Always On, Always Connected, we had to go a period of time without our phone. On Friday night, I decided to leave my phone at home. I told my friends that I would meet them at a certain bar in the Upper West Side, and that I wouldn’t have my phone. And off I left.

Taking my first steps outside was actually quite liberating, but as I got on the subway and went farther away, I began to get more and more anxious. I started to realize all of the resources I would not have at my disposal. Firstly, no music, no books, no games, no entertainment for this train. I couldn’t call an Uber home if I ended up drunk late that night. If my friends were late, which they were wont to do, I would just be at the bar, sitting there, with a drink in hand. I’d have to talk to strangers if I wanted to break up the boredom. Ugh.

Fortunately, my friends didn’t show up late, and without my phone, my experience was a lot better. I didn’t zone out of conversations looking at my phone, and without another object of entertainment to depend on, I stuck close by my friends. It was actually quite nice. Without my phone and Uber to rely on, I also ended up not drinking too hard and going home at a reasonable hour. How responsible!

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My first phone

I depend on my phone a lot. It’s my camera, my taxi service, my restaurant recommender, my computer, my social outlet, my communicator, my entertainment console, and a whole lot more. I’ve had a phone since I was in middle school, and it was the first adult token in my life. My mom thought I was responsible enough to have a phone, and I’ve depended on my phone ever since. This exercise definitely illuminated that I’m missing some pretty important things in my life because of my phone, and I wonder just how tiny of a fraction of the things I miss my experience that night was.

I would want to build some apps that rediscover the balance between being connected and being present, but I also feel like it’s been done a lot and they always seem so blasé and overreaching. I just want to make something fun, and if people can’t balance their lives themselves, then survival of the fittest, eh?

I’ll probably regret that statement someday.