We arrived at school on a Monday morning, ready to kick-start ICC. Some of us were overly-active while others still sleepy from the weekend, the class was a mess. To get into the IA-mood, Mr Cotter proposed the idea to begin by watching a 4-minute Beautiful work. The inspirational video told the story of a man called Jedidiah Jenkins who challenged his routine by going on a bike ride through South America.
I watched the video obliviously, little did I know that it would have a lot to do with my life in the next few weeks. See, that same Saturday, my phone suffered a terrible fall, and after multiple (pointless) efforts of reviving it, I had to accept the inconvenient truth: It was gone. I hadn't realized it yet, but for years now, I had been addicted to my device, and the next two weeks would come to me as an I-phone detox.
As you all know, the first step to getting clean is admitting that you have a problem, and to me, this step was particularly hard. I am someone who puts autonomy above all else. The way I was raised, I have cultivated a hunger for freedom, and to find out that I have been living a slave to my I-phone was something hard understand. But after spending one day away from it, it was obvious to me that I had a problem; bringing me to the next step in the process.
Withdrawal. Yes, it sounds pretty ridiculous, but let me put it into context. At this point in my life, my phone is essential. So essential, in fact, that I have built up a routine where everything revolves around this one piece of fragile technology. My alarm, my clock, my relationships, my connections, they all rely on my I-phone, and with it being gone, I was left with the empty, heart-wrenching feeling of FOMO. At night, I would wake up, restless, and actually bust out my laptop just to check out a few Facebook updates. And the fact that I couldn't see my WhatsApp was driving me insane.
The first few days were the worst, but after enduring such drastic change, I was ready to move on: Acceptance. I faced the idea of living without a phone and started to embrace it. I would go to sleep with nothing but a biological alarm clock and hoped to wake up the next morning (which thankfully I did). With no distractions, homework almost finished itself, and I found myself having all of this free time I never knew I could obtain! My days of worrying about crunched agendas were over, because, without a phone, everything is about the present.
When I lost my phone that Saturday night, I felt lost. I thought I would never adapt to living without it, but I learned to make the most out of the situation. And sure, if I could, I would still get my phone back in a heartbeat and I will always feel nostalgic to the memories that went away with it, but everything has its pros and cons. So let me refer to the video I mentioned at the beginning of this blog. In the Vimeo description, the filmmaker encourages us to shake up our lives a little, take on our own challenges and make a few scary decisions. Even though I didn't choose to place myself in this situation directly, it did lead me to accomplish all of the things mentioned above. Now that my life has returned to its normalcy, I can put things into perspective, and while I still miss my old I-phone, I don't regret the incident it underwent. Because sure, there will be moments when the addiction may want to take over, but at least now I will be a little bit more aware. There are a lot of things you can learn by spending 168 hours without your device, but for me, it was feeling for the first time, that I was actually free.
“The earth has music for those who listen.”