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Five Things That Happen When You Don't Have A Mobile Phone

14/08/2014 16:45 | Updated 20 May 2015

It started classically - with an iPhone 5 drowning in the loo - and the way it played out was equally cliched. The phone was submerged in dry rice, watched fretfully and fished out two days later, a mute black rectangle. It wouldn't turn on. It wouldn't charge. It was officially dead.

Two weeks on - and thanks to a predictably complicated insurance policy - I find myself still without a mobile phone. The period of mourning has passed, as has the twitchiness of empty hand syndrome, leaving me on the other side of a techy black hole so pleasant, I'm considering quitting this mobile phone malarkey forever. Or at least for a little bit longer.

mobile phones

You may think - reading this on your mobile - that such a move is preposterous, but give it a minute. Aren't you exhausted by the never-ending scrolling, replying, tweeting, Instagramming and Facebooking of constant connectivity?

If taking a holiday from your digital life to reconnect with your actual life appeals, here are five things to expect from self-imposed gadget ban...

1. Panic. How will I know if people are tweeting me? Or Facebooking me? Or just trying to get in touch via bog-standard email? The idea you'll not only be unaware of correspondence but you'll be unable to respond instantly instigates feelings akin to a panic attack. Now, your options are a) to man your laptop 24/7 or b) to get back to everyone during your 9-5. After a couple of days, you realise the latter option is kind of what you should have been doing all along.

2. Empty-hand syndrome. Ah, the aforementioned feeling something is physically missing. It's awkward, it's uncomfortable, it's disorientating. It forces you to actually walk down the street face up, looking forward. You may even make eye contact with strangers or do a bit of old-fashioned window-shopping. And your hands? You'll fill them with other things, like a nice coffee from a cafe you've never even noticed or just fresh air from walking at a more stroll-like pace.

3. Discomfort with living in the moment. You have a cool-looking sandwich or cocktail and find yourself mentally captioning up the picture you can't take. Does seeing these things even have any value if they can't be measured in shares and likes? And what about these witty descriptions you're constructing - are they supposed to just stay inside your head? The resounding yes is kind of depressing at first - this unsharing approach to life will not make you more popular - but then you start to enjoy privacy again. Each moment is yours to savour and remember. Tell your friends or partner about it instead of your Twitter followers - they'll appreciate it far more.

4. Realisation you don't care as much as you thought you did. Life without Twitter, Facebook and Instagram is beautifully placid. I've realised I don't care what Giles Coren thinks about anything and that when it's not subjected to constant visual comparison, my life is the way I want it to be.

5. Acknowledgement actual life is everyone's second screen. A theory last year was television had become "second screen" because everyone was primarily tweeting and Facebooking, and watching their favourite shows on the side. But these days everything is second screen. While my best friend and I are catching up, she's simultaneously answering emails. When my sister and I go for drinks, she's Instagramming our surroundings. It looks hectic and busy and buzzy and relentless. It also seems a bit pointless - where's your actual life among all of this and what you are connected to? It's at this joyful stage you sit back, breathe and consider never ever going back to mobile phones again.

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