“The cell phone has become the adult’s transitional object, replacing the toddler’s teddy bear for comfort and a sense of belonging.” ~ Margaret Heffernan
When was the last time you set your phone down, turned it off, just completely unplugged?
I was forced into this situation some time back. As I was preparing for a professional development trip called Summit at Sea off the coast of South Florida, someone stole my purse. I was out with friends and set it down. Before I knew it – poof – gone are my wallet, credit cards, cash, ID, and cell phone.
I could have walked into the nearest store for my carrier and bought a new phone, and paid full price, but my cruise was a tech-free cruise. There was no Internet or phone reception. That means no emails, no texts, no Facebook. We’d be totally gadget- and information-free for the weekend. I can’t use the phone for four days so I might as well wait until I get home. I had friends with me, so if I encountered an emergency before or after the summit, I’d be able to call my family. I’m a grown woman - I can manage without a cell phone.
But could I really?
According to the Pew Research Center, 90 percent of American adults own a cell phone and 29 percent of cell owners describe their cell phone as “something they can’t imagine living without.”
Never mind the obvious: calls, texts, email. As a society we’ve forgotten everything we keep on our phones or expect them to do for us. For my travels, there was no digital boarding pass to fly home, no checking on flight time, no Uber to the airport. While waiting for my flight, I could not call my office and confirm with the staff that everything was running smoothly. I couldn’t check my bank account to verify my credit cards were cancelled. I had no music, no alarm, no flashlight, no pictures and, very importantly, no contacts. There were no directions to a new location, no way to order or pay for Starbucks, and I have no idea when I am supposed to start my period — yeah, there is an app for that!
But do you know what? I survived.
I have been inconvenienced; I’ve had to problem solve a little longer, talk to strangers and revert to using cash or a physical credit card. I lost my contacts but have no whittled down my contact list to only those I truly needed.
So what’s next? I have a new phone coming, because we all still need to be in contact in today’s modern world. And I’ve missed the conveniences it has provided. But what I have learned is that they are only just conveniences, not vital to my life.
We shouldn’t be tied to our phones, but to each other.
So, for the holiday season, put your phone down and talk to your neighbor, your Uber or taxi driver, your waitress or, worse, your date. We have become too invested in what’s going on in everyone’s life to live our own.
So this holiday season I expect to see you enjoying time with your family and interacting - not merely taking up space together.
Put down the phone!
Jordan Leasure, BA, DC, CCWP, is a licensed chiropractor and a certified chiropractic wellness practitioner from Libertyville, Illinois. Her goal is to educate the public on how to Eat Well - Move Well and Think Well.