It was another gloomy evening during the pandemic, I was alone splayed on my couch, my computer in my lap, periodically picking up and checking my iPhone.
Who knows what I was looking at, maybe some NYT cooking videos, MrBeast’s mega giveaways, or lazily searching for something to play in the background so I wouldn’t feel like I was wasting time when really I had nothing to do.
On my iPhone, I looked through my email, pulling down to refresh. The page loaded, but remained the same. No new emails, just the numerous important ones that I had been avoiding for days. I said to myself that I didn’t have a good response formulated yet.
I flipped over to Facebook Messenger and iMessage and saw no new messages. When there was a conversation though, I would just engage in texting and flipping through apps for endless hours until I needed to get water, use the bathroom, was hungry, or my back ached.
Opening up Instagram was the worst because I would scroll endlessly and look at profiles of people whose names I would not even be able to remember if I didn’t see them regularly on Instagram. Tapping through instagram stories was unstimulating and posting my own anxiety-causing.
I picked up my phone every 5-10 minutes (about the length of my attention span) whenever I felt bored or an urge to look at something different, scarcely able to focus on anything deeply.
Hopefully, I would remember to call a friend, and on those nights, I felt the best about existing within my four corners.
Really, I was just sitting there because I finished my work for the day and thought 10 or 11 PM was too early to sleep, and I needed to pass that last hour of my day.
These nights passed like a blur, not to mention the mornings when I sat with my phone for half an hour before going on a run.
I had been trying to reduce my screentime for almost five years. As a student, I would leave my phone off during classes and always in my backpack. I tried turning my phone off for two to three days at a time when I needed to focus intensely. I tried leaving my phone at home whenever I left the house. I tried turning my phone monochrome. I tried going tech free every Sunday. I tried monitoring my screentime and setting goals. I tried setting pacts with friends.
None of it worked long-term, I would rebound back to being on my phone for about two to four hours every day.
It was on one of these aimless nights that I decided to get a flip phone.
Because of COVID-19, there were no events I was missing out on. No one could spontaneously call or text me to hang out. I had nothing urgent I needed to respond to work wise via phone that I couldn’t do on my computer.
I thought about what it would be like to raise children in a home with so much technology, sitting at a restaurant, playground, or in our living room looking at my phone instead of talking to the children. If I wanted to be a good example, which I think is the best way of parenting, I knew I’d have to start now. This was the perfect time to do something drastic, in a last ditch attempt to really change my phone habits.
Lastly, I did this calculation.
✕ 70 yrs
= 51,100 hrs
of my life which was 5.8 years of my life. Imagine being at the end of your life, and wishing you had one more minute to live, when you could have had almost 6 more years to live.
Seeing this number made me pull the trigger. I went on Best Buy and down a rabbit hole to find the best flip phone for me.
I bought the Alcatel GoFlip 3.