I stop dead in my tracks as the weight of my iPhone seems to disappear out of the pocket of my overalls. I have that moment of panic (you know that moment), where’s my phone?!, my hands searching, quickly patting all my pockets.
The crowd diverts around me as I turn to enlist my friends in helping me look for my phone. Despite my frantic searching of the floor, I eventually give up and come to the horrifying conclusion that my phone has been stolen.
My friends console me saying things like, “you are so strong for not crying right now” or “it’s okay, I know how scary this must be.” It was as if I lost a loved one.
I tried so hard not to feel those things because on the surface I knew that it was ridiculous to be so upset over a phone. Many adults in my life have commented on how “kids these days are addicted to their phones,” and I didn’t want to succumb to the stereotypes of my generation. I kept a calm composure even though I was devastated on the inside.
Admittedly and embarrassedly, I struggled to be without my phone. I felt lost and alone in the big world that I previously neglected to see because my phone was always in my face.
Without my iPhone, I felt like my anchor to my friends, my family, my schoolwork was gone. I had this crazy notion that I would miss out on everything or get stranded at dance team practice with no way to call for someone to pick me up.
It wasn’t until I was phoneless for a couple of days that I realized how addicting it could be. Losing my phone was eerily similar to quitting an addiction cold-turkey, and the withdrawal symptoms included extreme fear of missing out.
After two days without my phone, I finally “detoxed” enough to realize that life can go on without a smartphone. In fact, I seemed to live better and was more productive without it. I stopped caring what other people were doing because my phone stopped telling me. I stopped procrastinating because I had this newfound free time without my phone to distract me. I stopped seeing life through the impressingly high quality camera lense of my iPhone.
As much as I wish I could say those four days without a phone changed me, I’m not living a new unplugged, off-the-grid life. I still reach for my phone as much as the average teen does, but at least I know to beware of the addiction.