Forget Your Phone at Home — On Purpose

Image credit CassandraRules on Twitter
I found this image on Twitter last fall, shared with just one word to describe it “Living.”

Yesterday I left my house… without my phone. I got in the car and immediately rummaged through my purse for it. For a moment, I panicked. It wasn’t there.

Usually in the car, if it’s a short drive (around 15 minutes or less) I make phone calls, and if it’s a longer drive I listen to my podcast. This happened to be a short drive, and I couldn’t believe I’d have to just… drive. 15 minutes of not multi-tasking. The wasted time and opportunity to catch up with loved ones or make a few necessary phone calls (bank, vet, taxes…)

But a few minutes later, I was elated. What a thing, to just drive, enjoy the scenery and listen to the radio passively. It was liberating.

I was outside of the house a little over 4 hours, and at various moments my hand twitched, looking for my phone. I realized that it had become an ingrained habit to check it. When you really think about it, though, why do we constantly need to have our phones on us and be connected? When I left mine at home for 4 hours by mistake, nothing happened. There were no missed calls. No urgent notifications.

The truth is, we actually don’t need them as much as we think we do.

This came to mind a couple of weeks ago. My husband and I went down to the beach for 45 minutes, and we both didn’t want to carry anything. We left everything but our keys at home. It was lucky we did. While we relaxed on the sand, we saw dolphins jump by close to shore. It was wonderful, and felt like a real treat to see these often hidden animals play nearby. Sadly, right next to us were a group of 3 young women who never saw the dolphins. They completely missed out on the whole experience, because, you guessed it, their heads were buried in their smartphones.

I wrote about this before, sharing The Screen-Free Weekend Challenge last summer. Now, I’m realizing that’s not enough.

It’s healthy, if not vital, to leave our phones at home, on purpose, when leaving the house for a short period of time (and in a place where you could easily communicate with someone if you need anything– not on a remote hike or highway obviously). This is especially important while out for a short time in nature, or while traveling. I’m going to try to do that once a week, and I challenge you to as well.

In fact, this coming weekend there is The National Day of Unplugging. That’s the perfect chance to take a break from our smartphones. Take the pledge! 

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