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September 10, 2015

A (Pretty Wonderful) Life Without an iPhone

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Hi everyone!

I’ve been some what “off the grid” the past couple of weeks because my poor little iPhone drowned from some condensation in a cooler… Through my LifeProof… I’m not salty at all…

I still might be kind of bitter about the whole situation but as always, the phrase “everything happens for a reason” has never been more true. Most of you may know that I just started my final year of grad school *choir sings*. Things are getting pretty darn stressful and the due dates are approaching very, very quickly. I was thinking the week before my phone died that I should keep my phone in the car during the day while I was in the office and only use it before and after work. A few days later, I was hanging out with some friends and took my phone out of the cooler to find a soaked, shaking screen. Some may believe it’s just coincidence but I choose to believe otherwise.

Now, this post may seem pretty silly but I wanted to share some things that I’ve learned from this phone-less experience. Let me tell you all, it is so much better than I ever imagined. Not only am I super busy with everything that grad school entails but recently it has hit me like a ton of bricks that this is the last of six years that I’ll be living in this wonderful place called Blacksburg, Virginia. I want to cherish every single day that I spend here with these amazing people in this amazing place. How can I do that if I’m staring at a phone the majority of the time? I hate to be a Debbie-Downer but I just simply can’t! Anyways, here is what I’ve learned through it all-

  1. LifeProof does not insure your phone. I already knew this but I’m just reminding you all… LifeProof does not insure your phone. They will however send you a new case if anything happens to yours. Therefore, you must be PROACTIVE instead of REACTIVE. Especially if you’re like me and you get your phone wet, drop it occasionally (aka multiple times a day), etc. The reason my phone ultimately drowned was because the rubber had worn off around the edge of my case making it no longer waterproof. Had I called LifeProof and said, “Hey, my case is all messed up.” They would’ve replied, “Sweet, fill out this form that we’ll send you and you’ll receive a brand new one.” Obviously, I didn’t do that… Shame on me. But NOW YOU KNOW! So if you have a problem with your case, contact them! They were super nice and helpful. Props to you, LifeProof, for excellent customer service.
  2. If your phone gets wet, turn it off or let the battery die. Don’t try to check the message you see on your screen that is nagging you to be opened. Also, don’t try to plug it in or turn it back on until it’s completely dried out. I would suggest at least three days drying… It really depends on the situation but I let mine dry for four days on desiccant (yes, in the lab) and it wasn’t even that wet to begin with. If you try to turn it on, plug it in, or use the screen like I did when it’s still wet you should just save yourself the time and skip to stage five (acceptance) of the five stages of grief.
  3. The amount of work that one can get done without their phone constantly distracting them is quite amazing. Even when I do get a phone again I’m definitely going to set some boundaries for myself. I used to set it on my desk and if someone texted me, I answered pretty much right away. If I got bored, I checked Instagram. Not anymore, folks! That thing is staying out of sight out of mind.
  4. Social media can be exhausting. Let me clarify a little… I firmly believe there are many positives to social media. In fact, I realized I am much more motivated when I look through an Instagram feed of other motivated people. However, there is also a lot of negative that comes along with it. Not only do I spend time looking into someone else’s life (something that when you really think about it is pretty crazy) but I feel like it’s something that I have to keep up with and if I don’t I’ll be behind. Without Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, etc. I have felt so free. Furthermore, I don’t know about you but sometimes I can pick up my phone, open up Pinterest and all of a sudden, thirty minutes have passed by! I just don’t have that time to waste anymore.
  5. Without my phone I’ve read a lot more. Not only do I have more time to read because I’m not on my phone constantly but now when I’m sitting around thinking, “What should I do now?” I go pick up my book and read. Speaking of reading… I’m currently reading the book Change Your Brain Change Your Body by Dr. Daniel G. Amen and wouldn’t you know… I just read about how the increase in technology usage is causing a change in the pleasure centers of our brain. This part of the brain is controlled by the neurotransmitter dopamine. When dopamine is released, we feel pleasure. When we watch TV, play video games, scroll through Instagram etc. we feel pleasure (otherwise I don’t think we would be doing it). Since we are using technology so frequently, we are basically desensitizing our ability to feel pleasure and keep wanting more and more, also known as addiction. No way Jose! I’ve never in my life smoked, I only drink alcohol on occasion, I rarely ever drink soda, and I rarely ever drink coffee all because I want to stay healthy and far from addiction. How is technology any different?
  6. Quality time. I mentioned this earlier but I want to dive in a little deeper… Stephen visited me this weekend! The poor guy drove 20 hours just to spend time with me. Have I ever mentioned how lucky I am? Anyways, I didn’t have a phone while he was here of course and it was so great. We always do fun things together but looking back on this weekend I really believe I gave him all of my attention. Instead of looking at my phone while he drove to dinner, we talked and laughed about life. Instead of looking at my phone when we reached the top of our hike, we soaked in the view together. Instead of looking at my phone when we were waiting for the cupcakes to finish baking, we cleaned up and made the frosting together. You get the point… Furthermore, I didn’t have to worry about having someone call me while I was with him and having to take the call or respond to messages, emails, etc. Maybe I sound terrible for not wanting to talk to other people but I enjoyed my time with him even more without my phone distracting me. This isn’t just about Stephen though! I’ve felt so much more attentive and closer to my friends here. It’s ironic since phones are used to stay connected to other people but people know how to reach me if they really want to! I didn’t travel back to the stone age people (as I type on my Macbook)….
  7. I feel closer than ever with The Lord. I’m not going to go in much detail about this… Remember how I said I had more time to read? Yeah, well that was more than just one book!
  8. Humans of 2015 are attached to our phones. In psychology we learned about attachment disorders. I firmly believe I had an attachment disorder to my phone. I wasn’t even on it as much as other people but if I couldn’t find it I would always have a minor panic attack until I realized it was in my pocket. Isn’t that just pathetic? That is just stinkin’ pathetic in my opinion. Those days are over!

If you don’t have trouble with the things I mentioned above, I tip my VT hat off to you. To be honest, I was unaware that I did before I was phone-less. The experience was something that I’m pretty darn thankful for. However, there are a few negative sides to not having a phone.

  1. I didn’t have a PHONE which means I couldn’t call anyone. This was a pain in the butt especially because I needed to call companies to proceed with my research project. When I did have the chance the call, it was either in the office or when Caroline got home and I could use her phone. Most of the time companies were already closed for the day or I wanted to be doing work somewhere other than the office so no phone was a pain in that aspect.
  2. I didn’t have directions if I had to drive somewhere “new”. This is once again pretty pathetic but you don’t realize what you’ve got until it’s gone, right? My girl Siri is a great navigator (most of the time)!
  3. If something happened to me while driving I wouldn’t have had a way to contact anyone for help.
  4. I couldn’t answer business related messages/emails right away. This has pros and cons but I do like to be on the ball so this was pretty tough for me.

So the question you might be wondering is, are you going to get a new iPhone? Yes, I am. It is 2015! Will I be on it all of the time? No, I will not. Like everything else, it’s all about balance and moderation. It will take more effort than it should but I refuse to spend hours of my day looking at my phone. There is too much beauty in this world to stare at a small impressive piece of technology. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” Can you do that on a phone? No, sir-I(E).


with joy
jordan jean

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