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© 2018 by Seena Brown

  • Seena Brown

Right before I gave up my smartphone, I was depressed, sad, and fed up. I wasn't happy. I needed a change ... a radical one. So I wrote this contract, called my mom and dad to the kitchen table, and asked them to co-sign it.

They were SHOCKED, like REALLY shocked (like, did an alien come in and take over my body?), but they were also super proud of me.

Could you survive 365 days without your smartphone? Are you up to the #FlipPhoneYear challenge? Sign the contract below.

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  • Seena Brown

I almost died ... but not from missing my smartphone.

My brother Holden's Snapchat post

Week 3 was tough, but not for the reasons you'd expect.

On January 29, I almost died.

After I had dinner, I went for a run at the high school track. After a 45-minute workout, we stopped to get gas ... and that's when I realized I couldn't breathe. My eyes swelled up, I started gasping for air, and we had to call 911. They said I was having an allergic reaction to something, my airways were closing, and they had to give me an EpiPen shot, oxygen, and steroids before I went to the hospital in an ambulance.

When I got to the hospital and was stabilized, I really wanted to put something up on social media so my friends would know what's going on. So I asked my brother to post something on Snapchat instead. My mom put it on Facebook, too, but this was a time I really missed my phone. I was going through something truly scary, and I wanted people to know so I'd feel less alone.

I was at the hospital until 3AM ... and the next morning, I was interviewed by Ryan Seacrest on his radio show about my #FlipPhoneYear. I will put audio up soon, but it was a great experience, and he was super nice and really supportive about me giving up my iPhone for a flip phone. He also said he hopes more people would do the same thing. That was really cool!

I could sit here and tell you that being without my phone is ALL great, but I want to be honest about my highs and lows. It's still hard, but I have to admit the good is outweighing the bad. I'm less depressed and am talking to new people. Sometimes it feels weird at first, without my phone as my "security blanket," but I like that I'm pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I have a feeling that's where the good stuff happens.

  • Seena Brown

Updated: Jan 30, 2018

Trying to figure out where I fit in now that I'm not staring at a screen.

OK, I made it to Week 2! I thought I'd have more withdrawal symptoms from ditching my smartphone, but it hasn't been as bad as I thought. It am still getting used to the flip phone. The first time I tried to make an outgoing call on it, I spent about 5 minutes trying to figure out how to do it! It turns out, you just dial the actual buttons and then hit the green button to call. That might sound like common sense to some people, but for someone who's always had a smartphone (me!), getting used to "old-fashioned" technology definitely takes some practice.

I didn't feel as isolated without a phone this week at lunch. My best friend and I definitely talked a lot more than we used to when we both had our phones. She still has hers, of course, but she doesn't look at it as much since I don't have mine. I am lucky to have her support.

But I'm not gonna lie ... THIS IS HARD. I miss Snapchat the most, because I communicated with a lot of people through that instead of texting. I miss my streaks. And the filters. There are definitely times I feel like I need Snapchat Anonymous. In those times, I recognize that I'm sad (because I am, and there's nothing wrong with that) but then the feeling passes and I suck it up and move on.

I'm still doing a lot more things with my family and friends since being off my smartphone. My dad and I watched "Lady Bird" this weekend and I really can't remember the last time we saw a movie together before that. (Great movie, BTW.) I went shopping and to Little Tokyo with my BFF. I went for a run with my brother. I walked my dog. I'm feeling more positive, because I'm less occupied with what other people are doing/wearing/saying. The FOMO (fear of missing out) is starting to go away slowly.

I want to be the star of my own story instead of wasting time and energy comparing my life to everyone else's. Getting rid of my smartphone and social media is a HUGE change for me, and it's a super hard one to make. But I know that my life and my happiness is worth it. Is yours?