I had a couple of weeks stuck with my ancient phone. I noticed a few things:
One, I ended up checking my phone a lot less. It was really clunky and slow, and the battery was pretty shot. I couldn’t download some of my favourite apps, because the operating system was too old for the latest versions. I didn’t enjoy using my phone, so I barely checked it.
Two, when I did get my phone back, it had been factory reset, which gave me a good excuse to revamp my apps. I didn’t bother reinstalling a big chunk of apps I’d had. I also switched up a few things. Cheesy as it sounds, it reminded me a bit about life. I’ve long been told that every time there’s a big change or loss – a move to a new country, a change in career or a breakup of a relationship – it’s an opportunity to start over. “Out with the old, and in with the new,” as the saying goes.
I’d only half believed in it because I’m a huge fan of starting over whenever I wanted to. I never procrastinated on my goals, waiting for a Monday, first of a month, or January 1 to begin Day One. “Every moment is a new opportunity to start the rest of your life,” was what I believed in.
But I realised that I was wrong. I mean, yes, I still believe that I can start my goals whenever I want to. But I underestimated how strong inertia is, how easy it is to maintain the status quo, to have loss aversion kick in and prevent me letting go of things. Sometimes, it takes a big shift or forced loss for me to realise that yes, I did need to make room for the things that I really wanted, that I needed to let go. And that when I did it, I felt light and refreshed and got to start over closer to what I really wanted!
The only negative thing about my decreased Internet usage is that I’m horribly out of the loop with news sometimes. This struck me when a friend, knowing I no longer checked social media, asked me if I had heard about our mutual friend’s sad news. I didn’t.
A dear friend had lost her newborn baby after several weeks’ fight. I had been totally oblivious throughout that entire episode. I had greeted her for the baby’s birth – it was right before I stopped checking Instagram – but despite the baby’s premature status, I was sure it would all be okay.
I think that’s the only time I regretted not checking social media. I wish I could’ve been there for her more. I don’t think I’ll go back to checking social media, though – I don’t think that’s the solution for this. I think I will make more of an effort in keeping in touch with people I care about. It’s easy to forget about people when they’re so far away.