The think tank: Phoneless girl and the stages of grief

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Stage 1: Denial

It is January 1st 2017. My phone’s Wi-Fi won’t work, but I choose to believe that it will get fixed, somehow. I can still use my data so maybe this is not a big deal. I am happy that the phone is being a faithful friend of mine, and keeps working even though some parts are acting weird.

Not long ago, I read this funny sign that said “Life is what happens inbetween Wi-Fi signals”. I smiled, as I have always been a defender of the idea that we are becoming ridiculously dependent on technology. This is not a new idea; I was 16 when I wrote an article in the school magazine, in which I stated how we are becoming slaves of technology; Giving it the power to stress us and to take the control over our spare time.

Not long ago, I read this funny sign that said “Life is what happens inbetween Wi-Fi signals”.

Stage 2: Anger 

It is January 3rd. I check my phone, again. I turned it off and kept it off for a couple of days. I gave it “space”. When I turn it back on, my hope becomes anger. The phone refuses to connect to the Wi-Fi and I feel the rage running through my veins while I think I must restrict my usage if I do not want to pay extra for data. I feel constricted and mad like a tiger inside its cage. After all, if I am an average smartphone user, I am used to check my phone around 110 times per day, according to an Android app. My phone was literally available to me any time, and now I am being forced to restrict the time I spend on it. It is just infuriating.

I am used to check my phone around 110 times per day, according to an Android app.

Stage 3: Bargaining

It has been a week, and I have decided to use my phone with moderation. After all, I want to use it, but I do not need to, at all times. I reconsider my attachment to it, and I come to the conclusion that I was creating a dependency that is not good for me.

“I can use it to text while I am in bed, but the rest of the day it will be on Airplane mode”, I tell myself. I can feel my days getting longer and my hands being freer. I do not hear ghost sounds of messages arriving, nor the anxiety of imagining that somebody is trying to reach me desperately while I am unavailable. I find myself going to bed earlier, and falling asleep more easily now that I do not take the phone to bed with me. I watch a bunch of videos about people who voluntarily decided to get rid of their smartphones, taking part in a movement called “downgrading”. It makes sense; and I consider doing the same if my phone refuses to cooperate with me. This de-attachment is opening my mind. After all, Da Vinci once said that “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. Maybe all of this free time will take me closer to his wisdom and creativity?

 I find myself going to bed earlier, and falling asleep more easily now that I do not take the phone to bed with me.

Stage 4: Depression

After realizing that my phone is connected to my Sonos system and my bank account, and that it makes my social life possible, I panic. Being connected at all times was, actually, practical. We had some great times together, my phone and me. I was so naive to think I can live without the freedom that it provides. Since I cannot take time back, I almost click “Order” on a 3000-kroner smartphone. It is an expensive rebound, but I want to feel the joy of connection and the freedom that only unlimited Wi-Fi reception gives me. I feel powerless and sad and I imagine myself as a socially isolated, sad silhouette. I regret the times I took my phone and its amazing tools for granted.

In the meantime, a bird gets in the bakery I work, and my first instinct is to record it. “This will make a great Snap!”, I think. Then reality hits me. Life is so unfair. If I was an emoji, I would be the really sad one, right now.

 I regret the times I took my phone and its amazing tools for granted.

Stage 5: Acceptance

After going on and on about my phone struggles, I decide to take action. I cannot sit and drink my pain away like Bridget Jones does. My phone chose to stop working properly, but I can still choose if I want to give us a second chance. I accept that technology occasionally breaks, and that only in rare occasions it gets fixed magically. I consider my options, and decide to send it in to the seller, praying that the guaranty will cover the repair. If it does not, or the phone is unfixable, I will let it go. I just wish grief had a shortcut and that I could have avoided the ridiculous rollercoaster of emotions that this problem created.

After all, 16-year-old me was probably right. We are in a relationship with our phones. An often obsessive, unhealthy one, but a relationship after all. And when our phones die, or stop working like they used to, we feel the pain of loss. But who can blame us? They do make our lives easier. They are there when we wake up, and when we go to sleep. We spend our time with them, as on average, 90 minutes of our day are spent using the phone. The questions we should ask ourselves, as we would do in any other relationship, are: Is the time shared with them quality time? Is this interaction making us happy? Because if the answer was no regarding people in our life, we would instantly understand that we are better off without them. But, for some reason, it seems way harder when it comes to our technological devices.

Would you like to read more SmiS-articles in English, go here.

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