The day my iPhone and I went on a break.
We have been together for 7 years. And now, for the first time, we are having a break, and will spend 1 whole month apart.
But how inconvenient I hear you say, how will we get hold of you?
Friends, I have gone back in time (circa 2000), and purchased a Nokia 3310. Now I am not usually one for going backwards in relationships – best to keep moving forwards I say, but Nokia (who most likely have jumped on the ‘anti-smartphone’ bandwagon), have updated their original 3310. It now has a colour screen, 2G (?), and even a camera (a rubbish 2 MP camera, but with a flash mind you) and comes in a fun array of colours - I chose pale blue. So now I can text and call you, and this is all. (ok that’s a slight lie – there is internet, but it’s very clunky and I shan’t be using it). I can, however, play Snake….Perhaps, this is all madness.
Why give up the convenience of having a mini computer accessible at all times – one from which I can contact any person at any time of the day or night, look up almost any piece of information I need, and use as a camera, music player, torch and map. I think the simple answer is that I want a break. Giving up social media has spurred me on, now I’ve left behind some of the background chatter, why not give it all up, just for a little while?
And not only that – I have come to think that it’s not the internet that I want to be rid of (really it’s very useful) and nor do I want to be completely cut off and phone free (hey friends, I do actually like you 😊) – it’s my smartphone that I have just had enough of. No longer do I want to have the subconscious urge to 'just check my phone' (apparently us average Brits check our phones 28 times a day).
I also think WhatsApp has an unhealthy aspect to it – they are owned by Facebook for starters, but my main issue is that it’s just too easy to say things I would never say in real life (I am guilty of this, and I am sorry), things that I would never say in person, nor in a letter, perhaps not even in an email. And when did ‘In Real Life’ or IRL become such a thing, surely we should be here and present all the time, concentrating on the people and things around us, not on a tiny screen sitting in the palm of our hand. Perhaps my iPhone and I have just been together for too long. Our relationship no longer feels healthy.
So yesterday, I sent my last couple of WhatsApp messages for a month, switched off my iPhone, removed the SIM card and powered up my Nokia 3310. And I will admit it felt weird, a slight panic set in – do I need anything that’s on my iPhone?! The answer to this (perhaps sadly) is no, everything is kindly kept in the iCloud by Apple – photos, contacts and calendars are still accessible if needed. And hey, here I am, IRL! No apps - no Uber, no Deliveroo, no Sonos, no immediate access to Google Maps and absolutely no Messenger apps. After an initial sense of elation and feeling of freedom, the silence has set in and does feel strange. So far I’ve had 3 texts and 1 panic call (are you actually doing it, how will you look up train times on the go???!). And an email from a friend saying she’ll call me later to let me know what’s been happening on our WhatsApp group chat (a pang of FOMO set in, what has been happening!?).But I’m excited, excited to become less dependent on a tiny computer that knows everything about me - to become independent once again - and I will, of course, keep you posted on how it goes. 😊
One last thing – and those who know me well will know that this is going to be hard. Yesterday whilst trying to remember how to use predictive text, a realisation hit. Emojis, there are no Emojis on a Nokia 3310. Friends it’s going to be a very unicorn free month… 🦄
P.S. On deciding which minimalist phone to use I settled on the Nokia 3310, purchased from Argos. However, there is a phone made by Punkt. – far slicker in both look and functionality – and if I decide to remain smartphone free after this month, I might just be tempted..
The header image is a Punkt. phone