Unplug & Recharge//

How Connected Are We Really?

Life lessons from a mobile mishap.

Source: Death to the Stock Photo

Last Tuesday, after a glorious Bank Holiday weekend I found myself back at work juggling a veritable melange of tasks. With my trusted i-Phone in my trouser pocket I started my finely tuned whirling dervish routine. All was going swimmingly and I was congratulating myself on my multi-tasking when I went a step too far and decided to check my emails whilst on the loo…we’ve all done it right…right?

In a moment of time where everything seems to move in slow motion and yet your usually lightening responses don’t seem to take the hint the phone slipped from my fingers and landed with a splash at the bottom of the pan.

Once I had exhausted a torrent of expletives I then spent the next hour frantically shaking, drying, hoovering (yes it’s a thing) and blowing my phone wishing the little apple icon to appear. It did not.

Facebook friends a plenty rushed to my aid offering rice advice but being in a state of blind panic about how I would possibly cope without my phone I was resolute…the phone needed to be replaced immediately.

A call to the insurers (on a landline) revealed ‘immediately’ in their world was 4 working days. 4 DAYS! That’s a lifetime! I run an online e-commerce business how would I function without Instagram, my currency apps, instant access to my Shopify dashboard, how would people contact me, I wouldn’t be able to play Design House to unwind of an evening, I’ll become obsolete — yes, in the blink of an eye a simple mishap quickly turned into an existential crisis!

But here’s the thing…its day 4, my phone is being delivered this afternoon between 14.34 and 15.34 and I’m not that bothered. The last three and a half days have been strangely brilliant and here’s why.

  1. Time — I appear to have an incredible amount of it — I’ve been through my to do list for this week and it’s not even midday! I’ve got time to write this blog post. I have had lunch breaks away from my desk and have finished on time every evening and I haven’t stressed about the perfect flat-lay for IG either! In painfully simple terms I am not distracted which has allowed me time to focus on what is important.
  2. Presence — how ‘in the moment’ can we really be if we are constantly attached to our mobiles? As dramatic as this seems the first 12 hours had me climbing the walls, so used to checking in (or zoning out) I felt lost, but it’s amazing how quickly you acclimatise and start to relax. I rediscovered the art of listening to my husband, to my step children and not just nodding vaguely in agreement to something I haven’t actually heard. Watching the television, not multi-screening has been a revelation — rather than skim watching for premise and dog walking has been that — walking and enjoying nature rather than a stop, start amble neck craned at a 45 degree angle.
  3. Conversation — I’ve had loads of them — actual real voice based ones! So dependent on texting and secretly demanding an immediate response it is easy to forget the art of conversation and the importance of relationships both personal and in business — I highly recommend it, the results and feeling of being connected is, well really human! I can even remember a couple of phone numbers too now just using my brain — how novel!
  4. Sleep — now this is a biggy, from the moment of waking to the moment of switching out the light (and sometimes after that) the blue screen is on, the urge to be connected overwhelming and the compulsion to be on top of everything from the General Election to witty repartee on Facebook woefully overrated. Without the screen I have read more and slept longer. I’ve woken up earlier (with no alarm), alert and ready for the day and have even established a simple morning ritual which I intend to keep. This is ground breaking as I have always been an owl and not a lark.
  5. The world keeps turning — we are not as indispensable as we would all like to think and perhaps it is our need and not the world’s that keeps us in the mainframe. Give yourself a break and switch off even it’s for a few hours — those texts and social media requests will still be there when you plug back in!
  6. Sometimes loss is a good thing — sounds grandiose when I’m talking about a mobile phone but that’s an indication of just how intrinsic they are in our lives. Now, I hadn’t backed up all of my info (because I’m so busy being an expert at multi-tasking — right?) and I know that I will have lost a lot of content when I pop my sim into my new handset but, instead of feeling annoyed I actually feel light — it’s an opportunity for a clean start — seriously how many images on your phone are you actually ever going to drop into Snapseed and post on IG. How many of those apps do you actually need? Whilst this has been an enforced detox and Spring clean perhaps that’s just what I needed, to flush everything out and start again (did you see what I did there)…?

Originally published at medium.com

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