The Day I Left My Cell Phone at Home

The difference

How to Leave Your Cell Phone At Home So I’m a pretty “plugged in” kind of gal. I am an avid user  — and lover — of social media. I keep in touch with friends via text, Facebook, and Twitter. I’ve been in a long distance relationship for over three and a half years now, and my man and I keep in touch with frequent emails and texts. What this all means is that I rely pretty heavily on the old cell phone. There’s nothing like hearing that “Ding!” that tells me someone has @replied to me on Twitter, or the “boop-boop!” of a text message from a friend, not to mention the “ba-bing!” of a BBM from my man. My cell phone has become another necessity in my life. It’s all fun and games when I’m out and about on my own, but I’ve noticed something important lately. I’ve realized that when I’ve been out with my two daughters, it’s almost never just about the three of us anymore. It’s like by having that cell phone with me and constantly turned on, I’ve invited other people — other distractions — with us on each and every outing. Between work, school, and a 50/50 parenting schedule, I get precious little time with my daughters. Even less when you consider that all of our outings included my Twitter followers and Facebook friends. So the other day I did something completely radical. I left my cell phone at home.  My girls and I spent a Saturday together running errands and having fun. We went to the local Farmer’s Market for some fresh veggies and some treats. We grabbed a picnic lunch and spent the afternoon at the park, searching the beach together for sea glass. Instead of being plugged in to the whole rest of the world, I was completely tuned in to my daughters. I’ll admit that at the beginning out of our outing, I found myself jones-ing for my phone just a little bit. I was thinking about the witty comments I could be tweeting, the cute pics I could be sending to my fiance or posting on Facebook. But as the day wore on, I allowed myself to relax into the experience, and be truly present with my daughters. All thoughts of tweets and texts left my mind, leaving room for happiness to come flooding in. We were only a couple of hours into our adventure, sitting together enjoying treats in the sunshine at the Farmer’s Market when  I commented that I was glad that I’d left my phone at home. My nine year piped up: “You’re less grouchy when you don’t have your phone with you.” And she was absolutely right — I did have more patience with them when I didn‘t have my phone with me. It’s really difficult to divide my attention between multiple things at once, and I often become irritated when I feel as though I’m being pulled in too many directions. It’s pretty easy to feel this way when I’ve got a little girl talking in each ear, along with the incessant chatter of Twitter and Facebook, as well as any number of text messages. At the end of the day with my two girls, I found myself feeling calm, centered, and closer to them than I have in a very long time. We’ve spent plenty of days together very similar to this one; but this was the first in a very, very long time that I didn’t have any outside distractions to bother us. The absence of my phone made a huge difference; much bigger than ever anticipated when we set out in the morning. As a society, we are all so caught up in our world of multi-tasking that we don’t even realize the price we pay for it. Learning to slow down and appreciate what’s happening right in front of us is quickly becoming a lost art.  After my little experiment I’ve experienced first-hand the benefits of slowing down and being more in the moment… and I can assure you that my cell phone is going to be sitting at home a lot more often.  After all, those text messages will still be there when I get back.

21 Responses to The Day I Left My Cell Phone at Home

  1. under says:

    Bravo to you for stopping to smell the roses!

  2. bert says:

    The most surprising thing to me about this article is that it never occurred to the author before that turning off and/or leaving your phone at home would cut down on stress. Of course it does! Who needs to be “on call” 24-hours a day? I think electronics have gone beyond the point where it helps us and into the area where it is making our lives busier….

  3. Lisiec8 says:

    I don’t have a phone but my agents are getting me one for my birthday i have to ay for EVERYTHING! they will give me a phone with a few minutes on it and leave me to the rest. Trust me i would LOVE it if they payed for it but i do understand why they don’t. i am very social and my sis not so much so i’m getting a hone and my sis is getting a kindle.

  4. Norina says:

    I am more amazed that people need this constant attention that social media brings, or they substitute it for a non-judgemental validation. Internet addiction is as real as drug addiction; it IS another type of drug and sadly, this and video games are the first things children with addictive personalities have the chance to start their addictions on. Too many parents substitute TV and video games or Facebook for babysitters, teaching their kids socialization skills or raising healthy kids. Good for you for unplugging…what if you did it for a WEEK?

  5. Nancy says:

    I totally agree with all the above comments. Great perceptions on every ones input.

  6. Alyssa says:

    I am amazed at how obsessed people are with “social media”. It’s great that you went a day without it, but is this what the world has come to that you always have to be checking your Twitter and Facebook accounts all the time to keep in contact with people? Like honestly, it’s a great idea that there are ways of quick communication with people, but it’s not your life. I hope I didn’t offend anyone with this comment; and if you think I’m “old-fashioned” in my way of thinking, I’ll let you know that I am almost 15 years old (the main audience for social media) and cannot get over this. I still think it’s good that you spent time with your daughters, but this whole thing still amazes me.

  7. stuffedwithfun says:

    I have a cell phone with limited minutes for emergencies only. My high school daughters both have the same thing for emergencies or to let me know when they are ready for a ride home. We don’t even give out the numbers to friends. My husband and two younger daughters (now 7th and 5th grade) don’t even own cell phones. It’s wonderful! We talk, in person, face to face. And, when we are away from one another, we allow each other to go about our own lives without constantly texting… We are focused on each other when we are together. It’s not all about the electronic devices. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  8. Elias says:

    uh it’s not that hard to leave your phone at home….. cause i don;t even have one and i’m in highschool

  9. Reet5 says:

    yeah i agree!!!!!!

  10. Reet2 says:

    yeah it all depends person to person…

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