This is the second post in a week-long web series that documents Preethi’s day-to-day experiences while forgoing a relationship with her cellphone. Check back daily for a new article.
Every Friday I set my alarm for 7 a.m. — not because I have anywhere to be, but because I want to wake up early, be productive, and do all of the things I procrastinated doing earlier in the week.
At least that’s how I hope my Fridays go. But, mostly I’m only half as productive because I’m easily distracted. Conveniently, my electronic device happens to galvanize my attention span while it continuously buzzes its way into my spare time. However, Friday came and I saw myself get more focused on my work without my phone anywhere near me. I had to step back mid-day and think, “Is this really me?”
I often indulge on Instagram, exploring and exerting energy when I upload a picture. I contemplate what picture would look best to fit my theme or what caption would encapsulate my thoughts. While I associate this practice as an expression of my ardent personality, it can be overwhelming. I find myself editing, re-editing, and even wondering what people might think about my posts.
Feeling insecure about our insecurities leads to an endless loop where we continue to assess ourselves through the eyes of others and through our lives on social media. A very strange byproduct of our phygital (physical and digital) society, indeed.
The phantom vibrations in my pocket are real, but I don’t mis my phone… yet.
Not using my phone liberates me from my social media presence. To be honest, I enjoy expressing myself through our whack platforms. But let me share with you something I noticed: maybe my urge to be present on social media is due to a lack of excitement and fulfillment in my own life.
I realize I’m starting to sound like an Eat Pray Love enthusiast as I tell you how freeing, yet traumatizing this all feels, and believe me I don’t like sounding like a cliché, but maybe all of these ‘self-discovery’ movies were on to something? Maybe Katherine Heigl’s characters have been right all along? (I take the Katherine Heigl comment back, that’s going too far. I apologize.)
I am one who is always listening to music while on the go, and I thought I would miss not being able to add music to my commute. But as it turns out, catching snippets of conversation is an equally enjoyable soundtrack to get you through the day.
If I was lost in my phone, I would have never caught these gem words spoken at West Mall Centre. A couple of Chinese girls said: “Sorry we’re speaking in Mandarin so much,” to a boy they were with.
He replied, “Oh, it’s quite alright. I speak in English all the time.” The response was so woke, it had me shaking. With Trump headlines dominating conversation, it was refreshing, almost heart-melting to hear someone remind us that love trumps hate.
The rest of my day culminated into a very productive affair where I paid attention to my tasks. I’ll admit that I missed Snapchat a little as I use it on the daily, but being aware that I have rules in the challenge, I didn’t access it.
I do find myself wondering, however, if after this challenge is over, and I don’t have to worry about my editor hunting me down on campus because I was unable to complete the series, will I still be this committed to living cell phone-free? I cannot say that I can achieve such an endeavour. I went to bed by midnight and didn’t think much about my phone.
No storm yet, but my weekend is completely free. The greatest test is yet to come.