If I haven’t responded quickly to your Facebook messages lately, or my text messages seem short to you in the past week, there’s a reason: I’m giving up my smartphone until the end of September.
The first question everyone asks with a somewhat disapproving confusion is “Why?”. Why would I make my life more complicated, go back to texting the old-school way and learn how to read a paper map again?
At this point, I had written a whole post outlining the reasons why: letting go of any FOMO, avoiding addiction (smartphones are as addictive as having a slot machine in your pocket), the positive correlation between depression and Facebook use, the way as adults we are perpetuating the problem by setting a bad example to the next generation and my frustration that I was little by little losing my capacity to concentrate. I was going to outline it all.
But then I was in my local café this morning, reading a book, as I have done most mornings. I looked up, and literally every single person in the café was on their phone. No one was looking at each other, no one was even reading the newspaper. And I decided that was all I needed.
I want to see people. I want to know people. I want to love people. I don’t want to lose my capacity to be vulnerable. I don’t want to lose my capacity to have difficult conversations in person. Of course, I also want to be seen, be known, be loved. But I’m going to take the risk. It is possible that everyone will still have their eyes transfixed on their cell phones. But I have to do something.
So when you ask “Why on earth would you give up your iphone for 2 months?”, “To stop the incessant scrolling” will be my short answer. But know that the long answer is much deeper.