I Forgot My Phone

 I Forgot My Phone

My husband and I were headed to a professional networking meeting last night and I rushed to get ready as we were running late.  It was only a few minutes into the trip when I realized that I had forgotten my phone.  I literally began to sweat.  My husband was driving and navigating some really bad rush hour traffic when I sheepishly mentioned that I had forgotten my phone.  He calmly said, “Well, I have mine so we will be okay.”

I Forgot My Phone

This photo booth is amazing!

Panic

How can we possibly be okay?  What if someone needs to get in touch with me right now? What if we get in an accident and you are injured?  What if the car breaks down?   And, when it does, how will I call Uber?  How will we find our way without me double checking with Google Maps? What good is your phone when we have different contacts?  How do I know that you actually have your phone with you?  Where is it?

State My Case

Like most of us, I have some real (and imagined) reasons why I cannot live without my phone.

  • I run an entertainment company and have to continually be connected to my clients.
  • The wedding business demands that we be at the beck and call of our clients.
  • I write and revise contracts from my phone.
  • I must take photos and post to social media to keep relevant with clients and colleagues
  • I create notes the minute an idea pops into my head so I can remember it.
  • I need to stay informed regarding breaking news, latest tweets, and industry postings.
  • I may need my recorder for something so I can refer to it later. (haven’t yet)
  • My kids might call with something urgent.

Reality Check

So, my husband reads my mind and says that that he will absolutely NOT go back for the phone.  I sulk but arrive at the the meeting thinking I will make the best of it…somehow.  This networking meeting is a social during Happy Hour, and my first thought is to order a drink as fast as I can.  But, before I can do that, I blurt out that I have arrived without my PHONE. Did you hear me? I forgot my phone!  Some of my colleagues looked up with empathy oozing and others lifted their eyes from their phones to be smugly indifferent.  I sat down next to someone I was meeting for the first time and he quietly told me that I was going to be fine.  I wanted to hold his hand and hear more.  He said it had happened to him before and he had survived.  “In fact,” he remarked, ” it was liberating.”  I look into his eyes as if to say”tell me more.”  There was one other person at the table who had suffered a similar trauma and seemed equally supportive.  I’m not sure why but I had hoped that maybe a few more could relate to my current withdrawal symptoms.  I was one of a small percentage in this large room.  Other comments ranged from “That seems like grounds for divorce!” and “I could never handle that!” The only recourse I had was to let it go and see how the evening progressed.  Beer, please! Amazingly, I found that real conversations developed with little effort.  I learned new things…which I actually remembered the next day…and I enjoyed the experience without distractions. There were even moments when I looked disapprovingly at other colleagues who were on their phones, reading, posting, sharing photos, managing ‘whatever’.  I wanted to say, “Hey, you’re missing this!”  Listening became intensified with my hands so empty.  The neurons seemed to be firing with the senses of sight and hearing all working again. I could focus!

Retrospection

We leave the meeting, get home safely (imagine that) and I reflect on the night’s experience.  In my attempt to understand the separation anxiety/withdrawal, I had to state the obvious.  We live in a world where technology drives an addiction so real that most of us can’t see it as anything but amazing.  We want more and we can’t live without it.  Yes, technology enriches our lives and enhances our abilities to relate to the world we live in.  OMG, we have knowledge at our finger tips.  There is literally nothing we cannot learn about and apply to our lives. Music, movies, recipes, joy, laughter, sadness, old friends, new friends, literally everything is at our disposal.  We have a greater sense of self as our emotions respond to the new found power we hold in our hands.  It is life altering!  However, like any addiction, dependency can short change how we experience life.  We grab our phones when we wake up in the morning because they are right next to the bed where we put them when we finally end our day. Between waking in the morning and retiring at night, the average person checks their phone for updates around 154 times a day. They are rarely out of our sight or further than 3 feet away 24/7.  Separation anxiety is a REAL emotion when we are disconnected.

Resignation

I am an intelligent, educated, mature woman with grandchildren and I strongly believe that I can manage this anxiety with a bit more finesse and control in the future.   After all, I have lived long enough to remember life before technology.  I resolve that I will spend actual time each day without my phone.  Implement some other healthy habits like reading a book.  Wait, I do that on my phone.  Okay, spend more time with my grandchildren.  You know, get back to actual communication!  Then this morning, I get a text message from my 10 year old granddaughter asking me to come to her school play.  I open my email and find that my 7 year old granddaughter wants me to start emailing her so she can learn how to have a conversation through email. No joke, this is a school assignment.  I give up!

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