I recently wrote about the effect technology has on my extremely low levels of patience and suggested trying to live without my beloved Blackberry for 24 hours. When I made this suggestion I had no intention of actually going through with it, in fact, just the thought is enough to have me breaking out in a cold sweat. However, fate clearly had other plans.
On a recent Tuesday evening, after collecting my children from school, my phone started playing up. The screen seemed to freeze at any given opportunity leaving me frustrated as the blinking red light that indicated a new email continued flashing and I was unable to access them. Usually, any problem with a Blackberry is sorted with a battery pull, so off came the back of my phone and I crossed my fingers hoping it would work.
After a few minutes the phone wouldn’t come back to life. The panic set in.
I called my service provider who, thankfully, arranged for a replacement to be with me at their earliest convenience. Great! However, the earliest convenience happened to be the next day between 9am and 1pm. I could feel my heart fall into my stomach and the sweats beginning to return. How on earth was I expected to cope with no phone for 19 hours?? I had to leave the house to go shopping, drop children to school, and run a few other errands in before the new device arrived so how would I manage?
Of course, the various scenarios began running through my head; What if the car breaks down? What happens if someone sends me an email that requires an immediate response? What happens if I’m out and school tries to call to tell me one of my boys is ill?
Well, the fact of the matter is, I managed. There were no emergencies within the phoneless hours. No-one was desperately trying to get ahold of me. The world hadn’t ended just because I was unreachable for a few hours
I sat and thought about how different life is now compared to when I was a teenager. When I was 14 and out every afternoon with my friends we had no phones (if you’re under 20 and reading this, I’m being serious. We had no phones!). I’d go and knock on their door and if they were already out I had to find them. I couldn’t call or BBM to find out where they were. It was a case of walking around our usual haunts looking for clues that they were there or had been at some point.
My life has changed so much since I owned my first mobile phone aged 18 and I’m starting to think that it’s not for the better. Don’t get me wrong, from a business perspective, my phone is invaluable tool but for my private life…….do I need to be reachable at all hours of the day and night? No.
The people I’m closest to have my home phone number and can call me if there happens to be an emergency. My friends have my personal email to get in touch if it’s not urgent. The realization that if my phone was taken away tomorrow I’d still manage was something of a shock.
I’m now really looking forward to the fact that over Christmas I can leave my laptop at home and my phone in my handbag rather than having it constantly in my hand. I’m looking forward to that feeling of relaxation you only achieve when you realize that actually, here’s nothing that can’t be dealt with tomorrow, or the next day, or the next.
Technology is fabulous, the advances made on a daily basis are mind-blowing but the fact of the matter is that we managed before we had all of these gadgets and gizmos and if they were all taken away tomorrow, we’ll manage again.
Take time out this Christmas to relax. Leave the iPhones, Blackberrys and anything else you may have in your handbag, pocket or even at home. It’s an amazing feeling to think that you can’t be disturbed.
Christmas is a time for family not technology.
Have a good one people!