Four days before my wedding I did something really stupid. Like, really stupid.
I put my phone in the cup holder of my car and failed to notice the cup that currently resided there, with about a half inch of water in it. Once I arrived at my destination, I picked it up only to be surprised by the water dripping from it, and the already glowing camera light. Cue devastation. This literally was the worst possible time for this to happen. Four days before my wedding. Four. Plans were being finalized, questions needed answering, family was coming into town, travel plans were taking place and then there is me… with no phone. Totally disconnected. Totally panicked.
Now let’s just be clear: I don’t live on my cell phone, but I rely on it a lot, and this was not the time to be down my main tool for communicating. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to ‘unplug’ from any of your devices, but I sure as all hell never volunteered to.
So you can only imagine that flying solo came with a few hard knocks and some surprising revelations. I’ll spare you stories of my Instagram withdrawals and focus on 3 positives:
1. I became a better driver. Which if I’m being honest, there’s vast room for improvement in this category. I’m a horrible driver. My family and friends can attest to it. I hit things, lots of things, like curbs, luckily not people or animals, but I nearly took down a palm tree once (I mean, it came out of nowhere!). Maybe it’s because I have a horrible attention span, or I’m always impatient and just need to be there now. Who really knows? But suddenly, being alone in the car I felt… vulnerable. I stopped tailgating. At night, I followed the speed limit and scanned the road more attentively because if I became stranded, or had an accident, help was not a phone call away. It was suddenly the nearest town, or whoever stopped and help (and that brought on a whole fresh tidal wave of fear and anxiety within me). I never considered my cell phone to be some type of magic safety bubble around me, but apparently I acted like it was my guardian angel… which explains a lot of the said accidents above.
2. I became a better communicator. Suddenly leaving my fiancé in the morning meant 8-10 hours of little to no communication. We discussed our plans for the day in full prior to leaving the house. No, there wasn’t a play-by-play of each hour of the day, but it was very clear what time we’d be where and what time to expect us to be home. It wasn’t the same ol’ “see you later and have a good day” exchange that we’d apparently become accustomed to. We made plans. We were more in sync. This was also true for anyone else I was set to meet up with that day or the next. I’d use our landline to confirm plans and be extremely clear in the specifics of who, what, when and where. I left little room for interpretation, which brings me to my next point..
3. I became more accountable. No cell phone made changing plans last minute pretty much impossible. If I was running late, I couldn’t send a text saying, “Be there in 5” or “I’m parked out back”, or “Was it Starbuck or Peet’s?” If I said I was going to be somewhere at a certain time, I had to be there. There was no back-up plan, no scapegoat. And with my fiancé, if I was late I knew that he’d get concerned. I mean, he’s fully aware of how I drive… or maybe he’d think I got cold feet. Ahh, the timing of it all… Face. Palm.
Somehow I survived, and the wedding went off without a hitch.
And now that I’m back living and functioning in the 21st century with my shiny new phone and new last name, I really have no desire to go back to the old me.
So instead of waiting for some other catastrophe to force me to keep myself in check, here’s 3 steps I’ll take to keep this positivity flowing on the daily:
1. Making sure my phone is zipped into the inner pocket of my purse when I’m driving. Less temptation to glance at it and more attention on the road.
2. Talking through our daily schedule each morning with my (now) husband. This gives us a clear picture of each other’s day and, really, who knows when one of us will drop, lose or just forget to charge our phones? Communication is a good habit to have.
3. Remember that I liked the feeling of being on time. And my friend and family liked it, too. It made me feel good to be accountable and I’m going to commit to not relying on my phone as a crutch for timeliness.
This may or may not work out for me (you know what they about old dogs and new tricks), but I’m going to give it a shot.
And while I’m at it, I’d be interested to know what big (or small) habits would you be forced to make without the security blanket of your cell phone?