You used to call me on my smart phone

Three months ago I broke my sixth cell phone in 4 years. I filed an insurance claim and they said they were unable to replace my phone (the much in-demand One Plus3), but refunded all of my money. I needed a new phone right away, but wanted to take a few days to decide on the right smart phone for me. In the mean time, I went to Walmart and bought the cheapest ($10) phone I could find. It’s been a month, and I don’t think I ever want a smart phone again.

Now that I don’t have Facebook, email, the New York Times, or DJ Khaled’s snaps at my fingertips, I’m much more present. Whether I’m in a meeting at work or cuddling with my girlfriend, I’m less easily distracted (minus the typical ADD shiny-things-syndrome). This has allowed me to be more effective in work meetings, and be more aware of the nuances of interactions that I had been missing while I was on my phone.

I now no longer check work emails outside of the office, so I’m able to fully disconnect. I’ve been able to set boundaries, where unless I get a phone call from work, it’s not my problem. This has allowed me to do a better job enjoying every moment of the weekend and when I get in on Monday, I’m fully recharged and ready to kick ass.

There are practical considerations that make a flip phone advantageous. Right now, I’m on day three on a single charge. When I had a smart phone, on a good day I was able to go one day on a single charge. And when I lose my flip phone (which I’ve done already, oops!), I’m not upset because I know there’s another $10 phone ready to take its place. My phone has become a utilitarian means to communicate, not an accessory to my life, a part of every interaction I have.

Life without a smart phone does come with its own set of draw backs, though. I used my smartphone regularly to navigate from place to place. On most days, it doesn’t matter because I know where I’m going and have a good sense of direction. When I go somewhere new, I have to plan ahead and print or write out directions. Taking it back to the MapQuest days is admittedly a pain.

Like many people, I used my smart phone to discover places around me — in a pinch, I could search Yelp for a dinner idea or look up movie times on the go. I Now, I have to explore for myself and pick out the best restaurant based on my instinct. On the bright side, I’ve eaten at great restaurants I might not have in the past, but I’ve also tried some duds. My next vacation might be a little difficult without a phone to find last minute hotel deals and dinner date spots.

Without a smart phone, I can no longer record my travels, concert videos, or a picture of that cute dog I met outside the coffeeshop. I can’t instantly upload pics to my Insta to show my friends and family, and that one dude I don’t really know, all of the fun I’m having. But it’s alright, because now I enjoy these moments for their own sake. I take mental pictures, and when I travel I go old school with a digital camera — a true relic from the past. I live moments more intentionally, enjoying them rather than capturing them for likes.

I have been able to remove one more barrier in living a life with more intention, where I live in the moment

Life without a smart phone requires planning and intention. I might miss out on my friends Snaps, my favorite Spotify playlist in the car, or the immediate breaking news, but it allows me to be in the moment. I have been able to remove one more barrier in living a life with more intention, where I live in the moment. I have been able to really explore the human connection we should all be looking for. And that’s pretty cool.

I know that at some point, I’ll need a smart phone again, but when that happens, hopefully I can remain in the moment despite the lure of social media and the world at my fingertips.