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Taking A Scary Step Backward

Image: David Castillo Dominici

Last Sunday I made a tough decision.  I have been really trying to live this simple minimalist life and make sure that my time is spent the way I want it to be. Focusing on quality of time and not hording time wasting habits. There are only 24 hours in a day.  I believe time is a more important resource than money because of this limit.  There is no way to get a promotion or a side job to produce more time.  It is also the resource we don’t know the amount of.  We know our bank account balance but we don’t know how many days we will get.

So last Sunday I cut my smart phone and went back to my old phone.  It calls and texts (has the nice keyboard with real buttons and doesn’t auto fill the wrong word on me).  It wasn’t easy.  I liked my smart phone and what it could do.

Last November I upgraded to a Samsung Charge smart phone.  It was a cheap piece of junk and it, or its replacement didn’t work more than a week or two without having trouble.  (There is my honest review :)) Beyond that it stole so much time.  First I had all the notifications on so every time I got an e-mail or someone mentioned me in a tweet or anything else I got notified.  I figured out how to stop that quick and it helped me get all my notifications turn off.  Even after turning all those off and turning down all the volumes except the phone ring I still found myself messing with it all the time.  Every time there was a second during the day I would check it.  Every time I sat down at a park or riding in the car I could whip it out and play with it.  It was my spare second filler.  Something for my fingers and brain to do if they needed filled with something else.

My kids wanted to play with it all the time too. I hated what I was teaching my kids.  ‘Look to a little box to entertain you every second‘.  I knew that wasn’t good for them, but how was I supposed to say ‘no’ when I did it all the time too?  Sure it makes kids sit still, but do they need to play phone games (or hand held games) in the car, the waiting room and even church?  It is getting us all hooked on external entertainment every waking second of the day.  That’s got to be worse for the brain than smoking is for the lungs.

I have been 1 week without the entertaining toy.  I replaced it with my March reading book and I am over half done already.  I miss not having the weather, Facebook, e-mail, internet, maps, and all the other features at my finger tips.  It is great to have all that some of the time, but overall it was not an asset to my life.

This is a post about me.  A post about my phone, my relationship to it, and my technology needs.  I am not trying to say that they are bad or that other people shouldn’t have them (though, I hope yours works better than mine for the price).  I am sharing with you my choice to get rid of it and why, hopefully adding to the dialog already out there that is questioning if all of us need all the technology out there.

Remember when we just had home phones for $25 a month and no contract?  And phones cost like $10 bucks for something simple that didn’t break or need upgraded every year or two?  I’m not quite ready to go back there, I love my cell phone, but it is a thought.

I have some big news to share with you…in 4 days!

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14 Comments

  1. Catherine Catherine

    Hello Lorilee,
    I fully agree with your post. I think too that all of us don’t need all the technology out there. I do not understand people playing all the time with their phones !! Grown-ups playing just like kids !
    I like my cell phone (basic Nokia) I can send messages, I can take pictures (not so good quality) and of course I can phone (which is why I bought it).
    Thank you so much for sharing all your thoughts and events in your life through your blog that I am reading (almost) everyday.
    Sorry for my English which is very scholar as I am French and writing from Toulouse. This is the reason why I do not post comments.
    Take care !

    • Your comments are always welcome. Feel free to leave them in French if you want 😉 I grew up in Canada and took French for a long time… hopefully I could pick out a few words. ‘Grown-ups playing just like kids’ really captures the picture. It is hard not too when it is right there in your pocket all the time. The other thing that frustrated me about my phone was that it was so hard to make calls on. And the problems I was having was with the phone part, it would drop my audio so people couldn’t hear me or it would start screeching. It was for business… I need it to work as a phone first.

  2. I have an iphone…there I said it. But, it is less of an iphone now because we cancelled our cell phone plan a year and a half ago. Clearly we are the crazy ones 🙂 With my husband working from home, and me being at home with the babes, we have no real need for one. We went back to the good ol’ land line. But, I still have my iphone…which works just the same as it did before because we have wireless in our house and I have a google number that rings to my iphone for free…All that to say that I totally understand about the kiddos taking over the phone. My daughter has been figuring out how to use the apps that she likes since she was 15 months…not by our choice, but because she is able to grab and hide 🙂 I love technology, but sometimes I want to shut it all down. Sometimes I try to, and then I end up opening up the computer, or turning on netflix. Great thought provoking post!

    • good for you. I sometimes wish we could go back to a land line. My husband is gone all day to different jobs and it would be very hard if he didn’t have a cell phone. Then, it costs only 10 (plus all the taxes and fees) for me to have one which is cheaper than a land line to the house. You are saving the real money 😉

  3. Carmen Carmen

    I’ve recently done a very similar thing!

    I have an iPhone, an original one that my husband passed on to me when he got a new one (in his defense, whilst expensive, phones & computers are his only vice.) I turned my notifications off a while ago, but have now recently also disabled its potential data capabilities so I can no longer use them.

    I took out a new shorter contract which is £16/cheaper a month. The lack of data will save me about $24/month, $288 over the year. Additionally, I negotiated more inclusive minutes with the aim of using my mobile phone for as many calls as possible. I think I will save an additional $20/month using the mobile instead of our landline. Double bonus, all for the ‘cost’ of not being able to occasionally use google reader, maps or checking e-mail when out on the road.

    (We discussed losing our landline in an attempt to streamline things and cut costs, but unfortunately that would take internet access with it too, which at the most basic level our children need to do their homework, so is impractical.)

    • Good for you! … we couldn’t loose the internet at home. Doesn’t need to be in my pocket all day, but I couldn’t live without it 🙂 I teach the kids off it all the time. It is amazing the information that is accessible now!

  4. My daughter has been trying to convince us of the ‘need’ for her to have a cell phone for about 2 years now — she just turned 13.

    I still remember the days when no one had a cell phone. And, imagine the days when there weren’t even landlines 8=) It is kind of crazy when you think about how much we ‘need’ things that didn’t even exist 50 or 100 years ago.

    • yes! It is super nice and fun, .. but it isn’t a need.

  5. I have an iPhone too, but have been getting these exact same thoughts. The hubby wants me to keep it bit it can be such a distraction. Maybe I should reconsider this.

    • … it is scary. Good luck 🙂

  6. I don’t use a cell phone. I have never had a smart phone. I’m in no rush to get one. I’m going to enjoy my day uninterrupted by calls, texts, and beeps. One day, if I have to buy my groceries with a cell phone or purchase gas with a swipe of one—well, then I’ll get one. Just for that.

    Relish, the quiet. Maybe keep your old one turned off too—Just use it for emergencies. I think you made a good choice. -heather

    • Good for you! My cell phone rings for my hubby’s three businesses. We don’t have a home phone because it was easier for me to get an extra line to his plan than get a home phone. … hopefully we will never need it to buy groceries or gas… but I guess anything is possible 🙂

  7. Good for you!!! I’ve never had a smart phone and never plan to. I once had a touch screen phone for less than a week, and that was enough distraction for me. I agree that it really sends a message when we are doing tech stuff all day around kiddos.

    If you want my thoughts (similar to yours), I wrote about it here 🙂

    http://minimalistmommi.com/the-tech-generation/299

    • I love how so many people have commented. Society makes it seem like everyone has to have all the latest, but the truth is that not everyone does. I thought I could handle it and make it work for me… but I couldn’t. Thanks for sharing your post 🙂

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