Recently I was given a gift. I must admit, at first I did not see it as one, but looking back, it was a gift indeed. My phone was shut off. I thought I was going to die. Once, I had lost my phone for just one day, and I almost lost my mind. My everything is on that phone. My connection to the world at large was on that phone. It was use to send my voice to hundreds of people around the country. I could text in the middle of meetings, dinner, sleep, or in the bathroom. I could talk, text, email, and look up something important on the internet all in a matter of moments.
Well, I was without phone for almost a month. Ok, it was more like three weeks, but to someone who lived and died by the phone, it was a traumatic experience for me. It seemed like a lifetime, I was moping around, down and depressed. I felt like crying, and if I am honest with myself, I do believe I did shed a tear or two. What ever was I going to do without a phone. I vauglely remember a time when there were no cellular phones, and you went to a pay phone when you needed to talk to someone. I took comfort in that, until I realized it had been years since I had seen a working pay phone, and all my numbers were programmed into the phone, I did not know anyone’s number by heart.
It was embarrassing at first, I did not have a phone. Everyone has a phone, but alas, my unemployment status meant that I was going to be phoneless for a moment, or at least until I could pay my bill. So there was going to be silence. I would look at my phone, expecting it still work, and it did, sort of. It was a good calendar and alarm clock, so I could keep up with interviews and the like. It still took good pictures, and I could download them to my computer and continue to share them with my friends and family. The games that I liked to play were still on, and I could still play them. Even my favorite version of the Bible was still available. The only thing I could not do was to talk on the phone or text.
But not talking on the phone did not mean that I could not communicate with people, I just did so in different ways. Emails, Instant Messaging, writing letters, and meeting with people face to face were “new” ways I could talk to people. I soon found that I could still get things accomplished, and maybe even was able to get more things done because I was not always paying attention to the phone. I was not worried about missing a call, or a text message. I was more attentive to what was going on around me because I did not have the phone to my ear, or I was not texting during conversations with other people.
I was a member of the group of people that constantly had been held hostage by their phone. If I lost it or left it somewhere, I felt like there was a part of me missing. The phone was always in my hand, or in my pocket, or in my purse. It was on the kitchen table next to me, and on the bedside table at night. My phone was always attached to its charger in the car, and heaven forbid it rang when I was driving. To be without my extension was difficult at first, and then it dawned on me.
Of the over one thousand contact I have in my phone, do I actually talk to 20 of them on a regular basis? Do I need to have all aspects of my life attached to my phone. Do I have to have my Facebook, linked in, and twitter accounts connected to my contact list? Do I need to have access to all of these people, most of whom do not really care about me? And how much did I really care about all of them?
It came to me that I when I become connected again with the world, I had the gift of not having to have all those people in my life. There were some people who had my number that were a part of a life that I no was longer involved in. My phone number at times was given to clients from previous jobs, and they needed to let go(so did I). Persons that I had been in previous relationships with had my number, and it was time for a clean break. This gift was like getting a new start, and I am going to take advantage of it.
I finally got a new phone the other day. I have thought long and hard about who I am going to give my number to. Oh, I have all of the numbers I had before thanks modern technology and a great back up application, but everyone does not have my new number, and I think I am going to keep it that way for a while. I will send out a text to a few people, and then I will call others as I need. I am going to take this gift of seeing that there is more to life than a phone, and spend time with me or nature, family and friends, but most of all I am going to find a pen and some paper and re-discover other more meaningful ways of communicating with the rest of the world…Ring, Ring, Ring…I’ll let it go to voice mail…if it is important they will leave a message.