Surviving (Almost) Smartphone-Free: My Year-Long dumb phone Journey

Sep 30, 2023
Sharing my journey of how a broken iPhone led me to a temporary life with a basic phone - a period of simplicity, reflection, and rediscovery.
Let's rewind to 2022, when my iPhone 7 was practically my sidekick. It was the first phone I bought with my own hard-earned cash, so you can imagine, it held a special place in my heart. It was the first thing I reached for in the morning and the last thing I put down at night. Meal times, family moments, happy times and sad - my phone was there through it all. But then, a disaster struck. An accident left my phone shattered, and my heart, too.
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The moment I held my damaged iPhone, a wave of dread washed over me. It was a sight no iPhone owner wants to see - a cracked screen and a daunting repair bill. The emotional and financial weight of the situation was palpable. Yet, my affection for this device urged me on. I resolved to restore it, to revive the trusty companion that had been with me through thick and thin 💪.
As I embarked on the journey to fix my iPhone, I faced a crucial decision: what to use in the meantime? This led me to the world of "dumb phones." A step back in complexity, yet they are a pocket friendly alternative. See the process of getting an iPhone fixed is too tiring and needs a lot of patience.
That first week was... a challenge, to say the least. My dull Nokia phone couldn't quite compete with the apps, reach, features, notifications, socials and all the fancy apps that a smartphone has to offer. So It was a big adjustment.
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Boredom and frustration nudged me towards new endeavours. I delved into yoga and rediscovered the joy of reading. Sure, it wasn't as breezy as swiping through the world with a single finger, but hey!!, who am I to complain?
As the days passed, my morning routine shifted. Mornings started early with more time to family, followed by yoga, and nights ended with the solace of a good book. No more intrusive notifications, no ghosting blue ticks, no more FOMO from the perfect Instagram lives. My days and nights grew quieter, and I found extra hours in a day.
I began to venture out more, testing my bargaining skills and navigating new places without relying on maps. I also had the pleasure of soaking up some serious wisdom from the elders, which was priceless. To add a little spice, I even took on a few DIY projects! It hit me then - without my smartphone, I was learning, doing, and experiencing so much more. when I realized my average screen time used to be around five hours a day, it got me thinking about all the incredible things I could have accomplished or seen (or at least tried and failed) in the past five years.
And so, I made a heartfelt decision to let my shattered iPhone rest in peace, preserving it safe and sound. I opted for the simple companionship of my Nokia dumb feature phone.
Let's be clear, it's never wise to blame a smartphone. It's how we let ourselves get wrapped up in it. The culprit is human mind.
⏩️ Fast forward to today
It’s been over an year of living with a feature phone and I've encountered all sorts of people, situations and questions. If at-all, I’d want to share the last year with anyone, below points would be the gist of it.
  • Navigating through life without a smartphone is like rediscovering the world with a new set of eyes. Bargaining and buying groceries, hopping into an auto, and enjoying a meal - no app can match the joy of accomplishment in these small things by yourself.
  • To the younger generation, I must seem like a relic from a different era, a clone of a time they've only heard stories about. Their curious gazes remind me of the ever-changing landscape of technology.
  • Stepping into commercial spaces and family gatherings, I can't help but notice the judgmental looks. It's as if my choice to go without a smartphone challenges their perception of standard of life.
  • As for friends and family, they may see me as a bit of a mystery. Disconnected from the constant hum of notifications, I'm present in a different way. It's a conscious choice, one that allows me to savour each interaction without distractions.
  • In a country driven by the one of the world best and fastest payment systems - UPI, relying on good old-fashioned cash has become a rare art form. It's a dance of managing what you have and making adjustments when needed, a skill that feels incredibly grounding.
  • Once you shut that laptop, work is officially off the clock! And guess what? If something's amiss, you'll get a ring. This little scenario proved to me that work-life balance isn't just a fairy tale.
  • Emergencies? Turns out, they don't always need a smartphone solution.
  • Snap a pic? No need for a flashy phone, just a good ol' camera does the trick
Looking back on it all, I’d like to emphasize that while I’ve adopted a more relaxed approach towards smartphones, I do still engage with social media, enjoy a game of COC, and find them invaluable for international trips. However, I’ve significantly reduced my usage to just about 20 minutes a day. In fact, I’ve become quite content relying on my family members’ phones when needed. What’s crystal clear to me is that I’ve experienced a positive shift in my daily routine, and I’m thriving just as well without constantly depending on a smartphone!

P.S: Just a friendly heads up - I'm no award-winning writer. Even though I put this article together, a big shoutout goes to dear ChatGPT for giving it that extra sparkle. So, thank you brother 🙏.

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