I have always had a fascination with whatever is new in the world of phones. I remember being excited about getting the newest phone: whether it was a Nokia phone back in high school, or when I upgraded to a Motorola Razr, or when I got my first iPhone.
Since the day I started using an iPhone, I had not gone back. They intend for it to be that way. They get you hooked because you buy music on iTunes, pay for a random app from the App Store, store all your pictures on the iCloud, or keep your calendar on iCalendar for every Apple device at your disposal. It is all meant to get you connected to your iPhone and keep you connected from that point forward…or at least until the next new iPhone arrives.
For me, this connection to my phone had gotten dangerous. How do I know? There were two very tangible ways.
First, I knew it wasn’t good when I could be having a conversation with a human being (a real human standing right in front of me) and when my phone would vibrate I would immediately begin to wonder what that was about. I would be standing there in front of the person and be asking myself questions like, “Did I just miss a call? Who was that call from? Was that the text message vibration? Who would text me right now? Is it a meeting I forgot about?” I would still physically be with that human in front of me, but my mind had gone to another place. In fact, I think I got pretty good at doing this! I could carry on a decent conversation with people while thinking about what my phone was trying to tell me. Here’s what had happened: I had lost a sense of how important it was to be present with the person in front of me. That’s sad.
Second, I knew I was in trouble when I would get a spare moment and go straight to my phone to pass the time. These moments come in all shapes and sizes. While at my house, my son may take a quick nap that offers up 45 minutes of quiet. While at work, I may not have a lunch appointment that day which gives me an hour to enjoy. Even waiting in my car because I arrived somewhere a few minutes early (I’m a very punctual person!) would allow me 10 free minutes. Bottom line: there is time in most days, even if it is a small amount of time, where I would wind up just staring at the screen of my phone instead of doing something more beneficial for myself, my family, my church, society at large, etc. Looking at Twitter for 45 minutes may make the time go quickly, but isn’t there something helpful I could be doing around the house? Sitting in my car passing the time before that meeting while looking on Instagram may get me up to date on who has had a baby lately, but am I missing something by not rolling down the windows and enjoying some fresh air and…quiet? I saw myself failing to make my spare time profitable…whether that be profitable for myself or for others around me. That’s not who I want to be.
So with me beginning to sense these tendencies, I knew I needed to do something. What I did may not be for you, but it is what I chose to do when I saw these habits creeping into my life. I gave up my iPhone 6. I actually gave it to my wife, she takes great pictures of our son with it! But it was no longer mine, it was now all hers. I went to the local AT&T store & asked for the cheapest and simplest phone they had available. Just a few minutes later, I had the AT&T z222 in my possession.
It has now been a bit over 2 weeks since I started using the z222. There have been a lot of questions and comments from friends and family since I made the switch. I plan to write a future post on the pros and cons of the z222…so be watching out for that!
But in the meantime, I hope you find ways to be present with the people God has placed in your life. Be good to them by giving them your full attention. And try to be mindful of how you spend your time. All those spare moments add up, so think of how you can use them in meaningful ways.
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment on how you’ve managed your life in the age of smart phones. Maybe you’ll have some advice that’s helpful and encouraging!