My iPhone Breaking is the Best Thing That's Happened to Me
I know the year has just started, but I’ve already found the highlight of 2016: my iPhone breaking. Though initially really angry and bummed out for breaking it by dropping it literally 2 inches from the ground—resulting in a cycle of doom: battery logo and then apple logo coming on, repeat—something strange began to happen to me while I was phoneless: I became more productive. I suddenly found more time to do things; I read an entire book! I wrote a song! I played the piano for the first time in months! All my creative energy that had recently felt flattened suddenly emerged again. While stuck at a hair appointment for nine hours (I wish I were joking…) I read just about every magazine at my disposal and began a book that had been in my bag for months, instead of mindlessly browsing through my iPhone.
While social media can be a powerful ally, it’s easy to get sucked in. At work, checking my Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feeds while on my lunch break (or peeing, even!) is second nature. I don’t even think twice about getting my phone out of my pocket; I look down, and the screen is already flashing in my hand. Then there’s all the nifty games that had me completed addicted: DomiNations (what Clash of Clans wishes it could be) had me checking my game progress about 3 times a day, in the morning, mid-day, and before going to bed, so that I could attack other people’s bases, upgrade a farm, and collect money from my roads…to what end? To level-up and make my buildings look more pretty (and have a more kickass army). Ultimately though, it left me with a false sense of accomplishment, and it took up my time.
I could, had I wanted, simply gotten my iPhone repaired. Getting a new one was out of the question since for now I only work part-time, and money isn’t exactly growing on trees. I could also have gotten a cheaper replacement the next day, or the day after, or even that weekend, but instead I waited two weeks. Because that’s how good it felt to detox. I usually hate that term—“detox”—it’s a marketer’s or copy writer’s catch phrase, and it makes its way onto almost every product: “This mask is guaranteed to give your skin the detox it needs!” or “Drink this detox vegetable juice and feel alive again!” I don’t buy into the metaphors, but these two weeks cannot be described any other way. I was in full DomiNations/social media remission, but I fought through it, and with it came the greatest sense of freedom I’ve felt in a long time.
I’ve therefore decided to go back to basics. Yesterday evening, I walked into my T-Mobile store, wind howling and slamming the door behind me. I took off my hat, wiped my runny nose, pulled up my sleeves, and with a determined, John Wayne sort of voice, addressed the nearest representative and said without hesitation: “give me your cheapest phone.”
Though a flip phone was given to me as an option, the stripped-down, dumbed-down smart phone was only a few bucks more (but is, ironically, noticeably bigger than my iPhone for a so-called "downgrade"). I figured, okay, fine, I’ll use it for Google Maps and Gmail (and Uber for drunken weekend nights), but that’s it! That’s all I need! I shall download no fancy apps. No nifty games. No mindless social media apps. Because I’m a blogger (and a millennial) I still rely on these apps to promote content and interact with lovely humans. I’ve decided to therefore repair the screen of an old, dusty iPad to access those apps and edit photos, but only when at home. To take photos, I’ll just carry my CanonG7x with me at all times, and though the whole editing and uploading photos to Instagram process might be a little longer, I feel like like I’ll still end up with more time to commit myself to the platform (though I was an ardent Instagrammer on my old, personal account, I’ve sort of fell off the wagon on the ConflictedColine one).
In this way, stripping away my unlimited access to social media might actually make me a better social media producer…at least I’m hoping. If these past two weeks are any indication of what things will look like, it'll also make me a better producer, period. Writing content or music is time-consuming, but I often come home burnt out after a long day, only to twiddle on my phone on the couch before I realize a whole 45 minutes have gone by, leaving me little time to my favorite activities. And instead of flashing my screen at night before bed to play my game, I'll be forced to instead turn to an old pass-time of mine I'd unfortunately put on the back-burner: reading.
As long as I ignore the Apps icon on my new phone…