Spend a day without the mobile phone

WHEN you are in China, you will likely be told that losing your mobile phone there is the worst thing that could happen to you. The mobile phone is interwoven into the lives of the Chinese people, who use it for e-mail, messaging and social media, and as an e-wallet to pay for various daily necessities including food, train tickets and even donating to beggars.

Once when I was in China, I had the misfortune of having my mobile phone crash. As a result, I could not communicate with anyone, pay for my coffee at the convenience store or order my dinner online. All of a sudden, I felt like I had “blipped” out of existence.

When my efforts to restore my phone were not successful, I fell into despair. Then something unexpected happened. Without my mobile phone incessantly beeping with notifications, I suddenly felt more in tune with the world around me.

The air seemed a little cooler and the moonlight a little brighter. I could hear the rustling of the leaves as the wind blew and feel the grass beneath me as I walked. I could feel myself breathing and my thoughts were clear, focused and devoid of random distractions.

Being unable to text my friends didn’t feel so bad because I could walk over to them and have a face-to-face conversation. Not being able to pay with my mobile phone wasn’t so terrible because I could use cash and exercise my rusty mental arithmetic.

The next day, I bought a new phone and blipped back into existence. Life was back to normal. I had all the powers of modern technology back at my fingertips and was able to communicate instantly and pay for anything I desired online and offline.

And yet, as I reflected on the previous day, I felt that disconnecting from my phone and reconnecting with the real world and my inner self was a uniquely joyful and rejuvenating experience.

Try being without your phone for a day. It might be the best gift you can give yourself this year!


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