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© 2018 by Seena Brown

  • Seena Brown

#FlipPhoneYear Week 1

Updated: Jan 29, 2018

Well... I actually did it!!! I ditched my iPhone for a flip phone ... for a whole year! Honestly, I have been so much happier these past couple of days. I have so much more time on my hands, I actually baked brownies last night... I NEVER DO THAT!!!

When people at school read my insta post, their reactions were mostly good but some bad. People I'd never really even talked to came up to me and said that I inspired them, and that they wish they could do this. Some people said they don't believe I can do it ... and some girls said a flip phone is "the same as an iPhone" so I "wasn't making that much of a difference, duh." Sure, that hurt a little bit ... but I know I'm doing this for me and not to please other people. They can't dictate how I feel about ME.

When people actually saw my new gadget, most of them were like "what is that" and/or "that's ugly." My best friend was the only one who said it was cool, in a retro kind of way. I'm getting used to it. Losing my phone is like losing a limb. It feels so strange not having it in my hand.

Not having my phone at school has been a huge adjustment. Usually, I would look at my phone between classes, and I would listen to Spotify because music is such a huge part of my life. Now, I can't hide behind my phone anymore. My ears felt naked without headphones for the first time as I walked between buildings in the quad. It felt boring without my phone to occupy me between classes and during lunch and snack. Almost 3,000 people go to my school, and I would say 90 to 95% of them on are their phones at that time. Even eating felt strange to me without my phone. I'm not gonna lie ... it was uncomfortable sitting there without a phone when everyone else at the table is looking down at theirs. It made me feel a little left out, to tell the truth. I did notice I talked a lot more to my best friend without my phone to steal my attention. On the second day without my smartphone ... she said, "Damn, this has changed you." I did feel changed already, but I knew this would still take some getting used to.

Obviously, without a smartphone, I can't really go on social media. That was a HUGE change in my life. I don't even like to think about how many hours a day I spent on social media for the past couple of years. If I had to guess ... I would say it was at least 5 hours a day total, from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed. The thing I liked most about social media, and the thing that got me addicted to it, was the entertainment ... the photography, the celebrities, the influencers. Being able to talk to friends/classmates/peers on social media without having to see them face to face was a plus. Like if I liked a guy, it might be easier to text him than to actually talk to him in person, if that makes sense. But slowly and slowly, social media started taking over my life. It took up more and more of my time. I'd pick up my phone to look up "one thing" and before I knew it, an hour had gone by. My phone was the first thing I looked at in the morning and the last thing I looked at before I went to bed. I spent more time on my phone than I spent with my friends or family. Even when I went to a concert, or Disney, or the beach, I was focused on the pictures I wanted to take, and would find myself checking my phone constantly even when I was supposed to be "having fun." I would get irritated and panicked when my battery was getting low. I got upset if my hair was frizzing from the ocean air, if we couldn't get service on a remote hike, or if my phone died and I didn't have a charger. But the more and more time I spent on social media, I wasn't being social much at all. I lost human connection. I suffer from depression and anxiety, and this was making things worse. I followed celebrities I looked up to, and I constantly compared myself to these models I aspired to be. Back when my mom went to high school, if she wasn't invited to a party over the weekend, she might hear about it Monday at school. Our generation has to look at hundreds of photos of every party they didn't get an invite to, and of course it can leave you feeling left out and excluded. Add in the fact that everyone's lives look way better than they actually are on social media (because no one's going to put up a post of them crying, or feeling fat, or fighting with their sibling, or having a bad hair day), and suddenly we're all trying to measure up to a reality that doesn't even really exist. We feel bad because our life isn't like their feed, but their lives aren't like that either! It's a filtered highlight reel of the them they want to be and they want you to see.

Without social media this week, I felt relieved I didn't have to worry about it anymore. I thought I would miss it way more than I actually did. If I spent 5 hours a day on social media before, that meant I now had 35 hours more a week to do other things. I baked brownies, sang karaoke, went ice skating with my best friend, made the track team, binge-watched "Black Mirror," focused more on homework, and just had more time to do nothing. Even writing this blog is a miracle because this isn't anything I'd do in a million years before. I can actually breathe again.

Learning how to text on this thing has been the hardest part .. you have to hit the 1 one time to type "A," two times to type "B," and three times to type "C." It takes like 5 minutes to send one text, but I'm getting faster at it. The guy at the AT&T store said he could text on one without looking in high school ... so he tried it again and was still really fast. It is just gonna take some practice.

All in all, I give week 1 a solid 8 on a scale of 1 to 10. It felt weird without my phone, and the whole no-music thing kills my vibe. But it wasn't as scary to lose my phone as I thought it would be, at least so far. I feel kind of uncomfortable, but at least I'm feeling something at all.

Trading in emoticons for emotions, I guess? Let the journey begin.

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