I don't have a smartphone. Sometimes I think we’re in the zombie apocalypse already. Wherever I go, everyone’s got their head buried in a smartphone.
Whether I’m standing at a bus stop or sitting in an airport, I’m the only one looking up, because I don’t have a smartphone. I’ve never had a smartphone in my life.
For the kids that don’t remember, back in my day (2000's), we had flip phones. Even then I was way behind the times.
I owned a small box-shaped phone with prepaid minutes. Each text would cost half a prepaid minute. Yep, that was once a reality.
Now I have a flip phone. No apps on it whatsoever. I can only text, call, and take pictures.
My phone can even access Facebook, though it’s very tiny on my 1 x 1 and a half-inch screen.
How do I get around without a smartphone?
I know you’re thinking at this point how do I survive with all that, but I not only survive, I’m happy with things this way. Not constantly looking at my phone allows me to enjoy everything around me more and be in the moment.
I breathe in the fresh air of nature more, enjoy the view of places in all their intricate detail, and just feel like I’m alive. Have you seen those videos where people walk with their smartphone and end up running into something?
I actually had someone bump right into my chest one time. Other people end up falling into fountains and getting soaked.
All because they’re focused on a screen and not focused on the world around them. When I was sitting in that airport looking at everybody I almost felt invisible.
A strange feeling, but comforting at the same time, because I don’t like being noticed since I'm more introverted.
Less Social Media
Another benefit I get is I’m not constantly checking anything while I’m out. I feel enough of an anxious pull to look at social media when I’m sitting at home on my laptop.
I can only imagine that feeling quadruples when you have a device that connects you at the tap of a finger. And then all the games and other apps people have that get them hooked, it feels like an addiction almost.
The only reason this blog has an Instagram is through one of my friend's smartphone. But without all the bells and whistles on my flip phone, I don’t have any temptations to avoid.
Lastly, long term, I know screen time isn’t good for us. Our bodies weren’t designed to constantly look at screens.
Plenty of research comes to the same conclusion that it increases anxiety and depression. Not having a smartphone is one less device I have to deal with.
Downsides of Not Owning a Smartphone
There are only a few downsides. Because everybody has a smartphone, a lot of people like to use the emojis on them.
This causes the texts to come to my phone scrambled and unreadable. I always have to remind my friends not to use smiley emojis.
Another downside is that some people I’m close to don't have plans with their smartphones and use global networks. This means they communicate with everybody via WhatsApp and other messaging apps.
Fortunately, I can access Facebook messaging, but it does use up a lot of battery life on my phone, so I can’t communicate on it very long.
Additionally, people like to share videos and record voice clips to share with others. Another way to be more connected beyond just texting, but my flip phone isn’t big enough to receive videos and voice clips.
So I miss out on that stuff too.
Do I really need a smartphone?
Eventually, in order to thrive in society because of the constant upgrades to technology, I’ll have to get a smartphone one day. Just like no one can do school without the internet anymore, soon no one will be able to survive without smartphones.
Unless I’m on my laptop and have internet, it can be tricky to keep in touch with some friends since I can't use Facebook too long or other messaging apps on my phone.
For that and other reasons, I’ll probably upgrade.
But even when I do, I’m going to make an effort not to have too many apps on it. I'd like to keep things as simple as possible with my phone usage because I believe life should be experienced more outside of a screen.
The more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve realized how much the internet has made me feel less human and more zombie-like. Lower empathy, lower compassion, and just a sense of apathy and stone-like feelings towards the world.
Regaining My Humanity
When you see so much negativity all over the internet and also participate in the negativity, it makes you hollow to the world. You become numb to everything and stop caring at times.
Having a cynicism about a society that excuses you of making any effort to be a better person. I want to regain more of my humanity again.
Our lives won't be measured by the number of texts we sent. And they won't be judged by the number of apps we use.
Our lasting memories won't have anything to do with our phones. What will matter in the end will be the depth of the relationships we had and the variety of our experiences we enjoyed.
We may be zombie-like in this generation, but we're still human, which means the time we have to make meaningful won't be forever.