I don’t have a cell phone. Once in a blue moon, like when I lock myself out of my car or home, I rethink this decision. For the past decade or so, I’ve considered getting a phone to leave in my car for emergency purposes. Yet somehow, I never quite get around to it. I’m not anti-cell phone. I fully appreciate that, for the vast majority of people, they are a crucial tool for managing daily life. As a non “user”, however, I can’t help but notice how phones seem to be increasingly integrated into virtually every aspect of human activity.
Phones are the Symptom
The thing that most strikes me about people and their phones is this: They always seem to have some job to do. You’re stopped at a red light and you’re texting. You’re walking your dog and you’re looking at your cousin’s vacation photos. You’re sitting in a waiting room and you’re researching your next washing machine. But your phone isn’t the root of the matter so much as it is a symptom. A restless cell phone is an extension of a restless mind. The mind likes having a big juicy problem to solve. And when it runs out of problems to solve, the mind invents something new to sink its teeth into. So you’re always “being productive” or “staying connected” or “getting ahead.” But to what end? You’re in a hurry to solve every problem, check every box so you can do . . . what? Comment on more of your cousin’s vacation photos?
A Phone Challenge
What would happen if, from time to time, you did absolutely nothing? Technically, this isn’t a crime. You’re allowed to watch your thoughts come and go without trying to fix anything, improve anything or connect with anyone. You have the right to observe the sights and sounds of the day around you without grabbing onto anything, without trying to “make the most” of your down time. Peace of mind isn’t something to be earned in the distant future once you’ve finally cleared your inbox. Because let’s be honest: You’re never going to truly clear that inbox. From time to time, give yourself permission to just exist. Without you, exactly as you are at this very moment–with or without your phone–the universe would be less than what it is.