Step Away From the Phone
STEP AWAY FROM THE PHONE
Always there for you, makes you laugh, tells you stories and remembers your birthday.
Wondering where you can find such a relationship? You probably need look no further than your back pocket.
We are in an age where we’re attached to technology. The first thing most of us do in the morning is check our mobiles, sometimes before we’ve even sat up. Breakfast is a minor affair, often eaten while scrolling through Instagram or assessing how last night’s evening compared with other peoples’ on Facebook. We will then spend the day regularly scrolling down the sites of various social media during spare moments, purely out of habit and the fear of not being in touch with the rest of the world.
When did we get to this point? When did we, the strong, intelligent human race that we are, become so dependent on technology for our worth and self-esteem? The funny thing is that, when asked, we all seem to agree that our reliance on technology is not a positive thing. Yet no one seems to be doing anything to defy it. What worries me is not so much the technology itself; being in touch with people and a click away from world affairs is no bad thing. Rather, what I think is concerning is the fear that we seem to feel at the thought of spending time away from our various devices and being out of touch with the rest of the world. But the greatest irony of all is that by leaving our phones at home, we’re in a wonderful position of being able to really engage with the beautiful intricacies of life which go on around us all the time, if only we would look up from our screens to appreciate them. Check out this video which explains my point pretty well:
I think we can all relate to going out to dinner and everyone immediately placing their phone next to their fork. Or the awkward moment during a conversation when something you say is completely ignored because the other person was totally engrossed in their phone. It’s something I’ve become increasingly aware of, and increasingly fed up with. So I did a little experiment. Three days completely without my phone. Sure, it was hard, but I also felt like I gained a different perspective on things. Sitting in a café with a book, I noticed the detail in the sights and sounds around me. I also felt better about myself; without having to compare my life to others’ on Facebook or my meals to others’ on Instagram. It’s something I’d recommend for everyone. Perhaps not in such a drastic way (three days did start to get a little lonely and it took me about half a day to reply to everything I’d missed) but every so often, leave your phone at home for a few hours. It’s refreshing and, in the words of Stephen Spielberg, “technology interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful”. And if the crème de la crème of creative mastermind and imagination says it, who’s going to argue with that?
I want to stress again that I’m not condemning technology or mobiles or Facebook or Instagram or any of that. This isn’t intended to be some kind of “holier than thou” message. I think it’s great and keeps us connected to people and to knowledge in a fast-paced, exciting and ever developing world. But to be able to remain sane in such an environment requires us to take time out to get back to basics and strip ourselves of the social demands we put on ourselves each day.
Turn the music off, switch the screen off and engage with the moment and the people around you. Sometimes that can be hard as it allows feelings to surface that technology allows us to suppress. But I promise you it’ll be worth it in the long run. After all, if we can’t learn to embrace our true selves in their most laid bare form, then who else will?
Anna is currently spending the fourth year of her Law degree in France, studying for a Masters in French Law at the University of Rennes. She is slightly obsessed with learning languages, having knowledge of French, Spanish, Portuguese and a little Russian under her belt so far. Alongside her studies, Anna tutors English to foreign students. Fascinated by different cultures and how they interlink, Anna recently took herself off to live in Morocco for a month. In her minimal spare time, Anna likes to read, run, eat, go to church, travel, discover beautiful countryside and improve her classical singing. She also believes that, in the words of Newton Faulkner, people should smile more.