Mindful Screening//

I Lost My Phone and Ended Up Learning 3 Life-Changing Lessons

The stillness of my phone-free life taught me the importance of slowing down.

Khoa vu/ Getty Images
Khoa vu/ Getty Images

Life is peculiar. It strikes you at its own convenience. It shows no mercy and it doesn’t care for facts.

But we, as humans, do. We expect life to behave in a certain way. If something undesirable happens, we want it to just go away. We feel that we are not ready, or that it would be better if it happens at a later time at our own convenience. But that’s not how it works. Isn’t it?

I think it was one of these moments where life decided it would take me for a toss.

I was in a distant city away from my home attending a camp. It was the last day of the camp, around mid-morning, when I realized I couldn’t find my smartphone. After a frantic search and inquiry, I decided I had lost it. Probably, someone stole it.

Well, you could say that it’s probably nothing. Life could be more cruel and unexpected. You are partially right. Life could mess up with you in more complex ways.

But that doesn’t take away from the fact that I was so attached to my smartphone. I waited for months before I could get it a desirable price. For months, I scoured the web looking for the perfect smartphone before I landed upon this model. And I still remember the feeling I had when I held it in my hands for the first time; when I showed it to my friends.

And to make it all worse, I had vital information stored in it — Bank account details, passwords, payment applications. 
Heck. Even the ticket for my trip back home was on my mobile. And as they say, in today’s age, a smartphone is like an extension of your arm. You feel paralyzed without it.

To say I was disoriented would be an understatement. I was completely clueless. I had to figure out how to get back home. I had to face my parents’ wrath for my irresponsibility. I had to make alternate arrangements for my travel. There was just so much I couldn’t take.

Looking back at this incident, I gained quite a few good insights. Unknowingly or knowingly, all of us suffer from the same problem. It is only the scale of the problem that differs.
For me, it was my smartphone. For the person next to me, it is his job. For yet another person, it’s a close relative. For another person, it is his own limbs.

Life decides to take something away from us at a time of its own choice. Sometimes, it hurts us so deeply that we lack the will and the strength to get up. But it is just a matter of choice for us. We can either choose to get up, dust away and move on or we could sulk and sulk and live in regret.

Recognizing this, what is it that we could do to manage life? Is it possible to be optimistic at a time when it feels like there is no hope? 
Yes, it is. It is also very simple. But it’s not easy.

Here are some observations I made that might throw some light:

Recognizing your limits

All of us live in an illusion that life is completely our own making. It is not. We don’t have control over what it throws over us. It helps to accept responsibility for what you have done and leave the rest to a higher power. In my case, I accepted my irresponsibility in leaving my smartphone unattended. However, I couldn’t control the fact that someone took it away. It was a choice that life made for me. The only control I have is my response to it. I can either accept it and move on or keep sulking.

Being in the present

Whenever I have regrets over my loss, it is either because I am in the past or contemplating over the future. I sulk when I remember holding my smartphone in my hands; when I remember all that I used to do with it. A feeling that I won’t be able to do that again takes over me and I am left with regret. Even when I think about what is about to follow — my parents confronting me, me looking for ways to buy another smartphone, people ridiculing me — a fear takes over me and I feel down. The past brings regrets. The future brings fear. It is the present which is beautiful and important.

Understanding happiness

A close inspection of the said incident reveals something simple. The incident shattered my peace. Why? Because I felt like the phone was a part of myself. I gave it the control to make me happy. There is nothing wrong in it except the fact that I failed to recognize that with the control to make me happy, I also gave it the control to make me dejected and sad. Whenever the presence of an object or a person has the ability to make us elated and joyful, we fail to recognize the fact that it has the ability to make us dejected too. Accepting this would lead to a realization: being dependent on an object or a person to be happy is a very inefficient way of living life. If that was the case, we would spend more time losing happiness and searching for it than just being happy.

Some things are easier said than done. That is the case with living life too. Today I lost something that may be very insignificant. But my mind didn’t think so. It took me around for a rough ride.
This is the case with every one of us. With each cruel taunt that life gives us, we lose our stability. We take the back seat and give the control to our wretched mind which takes us up and down a rough path and shatters our peace.

In moments like this, it is necessary that we remain focused and take control of our life so that we could act and live better. It is a steep learning curve and not something that is easy. However, the ability to recognize the facts of a problem and working on it goes a long way in helping us manage our lives.

Recognize your limits, be in the present and just be happy. Happy living.

This article first appeared on Medium.com

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