May 3, 2013

On Disconnecting

Steampunk phone from Ivan Mavrovic

Many people have documented their own experiences in disconnecting- removing themselves from the internet, phones, texting, computers- anything that we have come to depend on in the modern world.  It is time to add my own experience.

For the past week, my phone was dead. For anyone who knows me, my phone is a near constant companion. Clock, mobile email, pseudo-connection to family and friends- vanished for eight days. Granted, I still had my computer and internet, but it was a significant change.

Here are a few of the pros and cons I've experienced:

~ It was very freeing. I felt as though I had a private, independent existence for that week. Not being connected to people or feel the need to use texting as a local twitter feed was liberating.

~ It was disorienting. My phone is my clock. With it gone, time vanished. In some ways it was nice- hours could vanish reading without me gauging the time every few minutes. However, waking up for nine o'clock classes without an alarm? Thank gods, my windows faced east. 

~ It improved my attention span. Not being distracted with texts, emails, or other notifications every time I reached into my pocket, concentrated my focus. 

~ It was much harder on friends and family than I realized. I'm an introvert and don't need much conversation to feel connected. It's not the case for some of the people I regularly call. There were several worried voice mails and texts. 

~ It was less dangerous than I was worried about. A phone is a safety net. A way to call for help when in trouble. For the first few days, I was worried about going outside in case I ran into trouble. By the end, I didn't care. Granted, lack of danger is no guarantee of safety. But it's good to have a confirmation that this is not a malevolent universe. 

Now, I'm going to use my phone less. Turn it off for a greater part of the day- especially when I'm reading or studying. Not feel the need to stay so glued to texting. Hopefully, this will conserve the positive aspects of the event, while actually having my phone diminishes the negatives.

Have you ever experienced a time of disconnect? Willingly or unwillingly?


  1. I don't have a Facebook or a Twitter. My cell phone is a pre-paid dinosaur that I use maybe three times a month. Everyone knows not to call my cell, as it's never on. I do have my blog, of course, and email. Without Facebook, no one calls me or emails me. That's how I know I'm very alone, and I've accepted that :)

    1. To be honest, I envy you. Re-reading my post Ive realized that I'm not turning my phone off and am texting just as much if not more every day.

      Loneliness is difficult, but good for building character and your soul. Accepting that you are alone is a wonderfully courageous step.