As featured on PuckerMob
That little matchbox-sized machine with its backlit keys, LED screen, almost-good-as-digital camera, and ability to connect you as far as Japan and as close to the person next to you—your phone—it’s your baby, I get it.
Your phone lets you count how many steps taken in a day, measures your heart rate, send/receives emails, organizes your Pinterest boards, keeps you updated on the latest celebrity tweets, and oh yeah, lets you call and text. It’s pretty much become one of the most important things in your life. And it’s good, don’t get me wrong. But too much of something is never a good thing. And surprise! A lot of good can happen when you actually put that device down and start living your life.
#1 You start to see things you’ve never noticed before
When your face isn’t glued to a 3×5 inch screen, you start to see the world around you. For one, there’s a little tiny frog hopping across the road. And I don’t know if you’re an animal lover like me, but just being honest, you would have probably hit that little guy if you’d have been on your phone. (So, benefit #1 you’re saving lives!) But on a more serious note, you really do start to see what you normally wouldn’t. The wrinkles around your father’s eyes—while you’ve been busy updating your Facebook statuses, your dad has been paying bills, working long hours, chopping all the bushes in the backyard. When’s the last time you really looked at your parents? I mean looked at them. Seen their tired smiles, the incoming gray hairs.
Conversations in general—have you noticed the person talking to you look away? Look down? Wipe a tear away? Or were you too busy adding ‘raspberry cheesecake bars’ to your Pinterest dessert board?
What about a movie? How many times have you picked up your phone during a movie? Yeah, you’re that guy. Enjoy a movie without constantly checking your texts. Stop refreshing updates every five minutes. When your phone’s not glued to your eyes, you can see things, like how pretty the raindrops are on the tips of leaves, the sunset over the top of the hill, or the living room carpet that you haven’t vacuumed in like…three months.
#2 You hear things you wouldn’t normally
When’s the last time you had a real, face-to-face conversation? One that isn’t interrupted by Kim Kardashian’s half-naked photoshoot pictures or Bruce-Caitlyn’s status updates. When’s the last time you really looked at the person you were talking to? Really heard what they said instead of the usual nod, ‘Mhmm hmm. Wait, what?’ Yeah, I know you know what I’m talking about.
Putting down your phone lets you listen. Lets you hear things like a sigh, a pause, a sniffle. You hear the full story, the lyrics to a good song, a car horn that could potentially save you from an accident.
We’re a fast-paced, distraction-filled world, but when’s the last time you shut all that off and really listened? Focused on just one thing at a time?
#3 You fall in love
When you put your phone down, you give yourself the chance to fall in love. Deep, real love. The kind of love with eye contact, with long gazes, with half-hidden smiles, with butterflies. The kind of love that lets you admire the little things—the wiry mustache hairs around his lips, the way his hair curls towards the ends, his calloused hands. The little details of the person. The way they do things, their little quirks.
You fall in love with people—how they speak, their smiles. You fall in love with places, with sights—the architecture, the calm surface of a lake before jumping in, the height of a building. You fall in love with nature—the leaves of trees shaking in the breeze, the wings of a bird before taking flight. The world becomes brand new, and you fall in love with it all.
#4 You think deeply
Have you ever been on a solo drive somewhere? Just you, the music, the road, and the windows down? A life without your phone is like this—silence and time to think.
Without the continual distractions, you have time to think deeply about your passions, what makes you excited, your fears. You have time to plan. You start to think about the cruise you’ve always wanted to take, the post-graduation road trip across the country, the week vacay to Mexico with the girls. You have time to dream. About the perfect job, your ideal house, where you want to be in five years, your nobody-knows-this wish list.
You have time to think for yourself, without being bombarded by the news of the latest boob job. Deep, quality, you-time and you thinking time.
And #5: You become a real person
Without your phone, you become a real-life person. One that feels—literally and emotionally. The ground beneath you, with its hard, crunchy gravel? Yeah, you start to feel that on the backs of your legs. The weird, prickly-slimy skin of a fish? The soft, down feather pillow? The goosebump-tickle when your boyfriend runs his hand down your back? You feel that.
You feel pain without masking it with a stream of text messages. You feel anger. You feel hot tears running down your cheeks. You feel fear. You feel hugs (the secret healing power of hugs!) And you feel happiness. Genuine happiness.
You have emotions of your own, without your phone telling you how you should feel and be. And this makes you real, more real than you ever could be behind a LED screen.