On Monday, July 25, 2016 I was doing a lot of reading on social media about the Democratic convention in Philadelphia along with the protesters who are worried about the future direction of this country (especially with finding well-paying jobs being way more difficult than it used to be, the frequent clamoring for war in the Middle East, climate change, etc.) and I started to have one of those paranoid anxiety attacks that I’ve been getting every now and then, especially since my hip revision surgery in 2011 followed by my husband’s abrupt walkout just three months after that surgery. I just couldn’t take it anymore so on Monday night I shut off my personal Internet wi-fi, put my smartphone on airplane mode, and popped my DVD copy of Finding Nemo in the DVD player and just watched.
I kept my smartphone on airplane mode for the entire day on Tuesday, July 26 (yesterday). In fact, I didn’t even take my smartphone off airplane mode until this morning (Wednesday, July 27). I have to admit that it wasn’t so bad living without my smartphone for a while. In fact, it was quite relaxing.
Before I got my first smartphone I used to check email only once a day. After the smartphone I had grown used to checking email every time it alerted me to a new message. Yesterday I switched back to my pre-smartphone habit of checking email once (using my laptop) and I have to admit that I liked it. The vast majority of emails I receive aren’t very urgent and reverting back to checking it once a day have put emails back in their proper place in my life (mainly something that shouldn’t require my constant vigilance).
I stayed away from social media for most of yesterday. I only went on Facebook once using my laptop and that was to look up information about this upcoming free event that’s taking place in Arlington tomorrow night on what a creative economy would look like (which also included networking opportunities) and clicking on the link to make an RSVP.
I went to the movies yesterday because one of the movie houses in my area has something called “Five Dollar Tuesdays” where you only pay $5 admission to see a film. (The only condition is that this $5 discount only applies to movies that have been released for seven days or longer.) I decided to check out Finding Dory since I saw the original Finding Nemo on DVD the night before. (My verdict is that while I enjoyed the movie, I liked the original better. I probably won’t be buying Finding Dory when it gets released on DVD.)
Going on that smartphone diet also enabled me to focus on a few creative projects that are of the sort that I usually feature in this blog. (I will eventually feature them in this blog once I’m finished.)
It felt nice putting my smartphone on airplane mode for a long time. I’m realizing how much I had allowed my smartphone to take up a much larger chunk of my life than I should have. There are a variety of decluttering and housecleaning projects that I keep on putting off because I kept on falling into temptation to check that Facebook app on my smartphone or checking email or whatever.
The only disadvantage of not using my smartphone at all while doing only brief web surfing with my laptop: I didn’t keep up on the latest news that day. Three of my smartphone’s news apps tend to do push notifications on really major urgent news. This means that—let’s say—if Russia had decided to launch an old Cold War-era nuclear missile on Washington, DC, I would not have known until the big boom followed by a mushroom cloud. (Of course if that had happened, I wouldn’t be here typing this blog post. LOL!)
Back before there were personal computers and smartphones, I used to get my news from reading a newspaper in the morning then watching the evening news on one of the major three networks. I’ve given up my newspaper subscription for financial reasons (plus the newspaper has far fewer pages along with less content than it used to). I’ve given up cable TV as well (for financial reasons) and I haven’t gotten around to buying an antenna for my TV set. (These days I use my TV to play console games and watch DVD’s.) If it weren’t for the push notifications from my smartphone’s news apps, I would not know what’s going on in the news. So putting my phone on airplane mode had cut me off from yesterday’s news and, to be honest, I didn’t miss it at all. Especially since the big news this week is the Democratic convention in Philadelphia and things are starting to get ugly there (which triggered my anxiety).
I took my smartphone with me when I went to the movies mainly because I wanted to have it with me in case of an emergency. Fortunately everything was fine and I didn’t have to take it off airplane mode at all.
I have taken it off airplane mode and I’m now back to being a normal smartphone owner. It was great putting it on airplane mode for over 24 hours because I got some peace out of it. Unfortunately I can’t do this very often mainly because of the current state of my mother’s health plus I’m also looking for some side work so I have to be reachable to anyone who wants to talk to me but prefers to communicate by phone. I’m definitely going to consider doing this again in the future if I get another paranoid anxiety attack.