Almost two years ago I was over the moon to find out that I’d won the latest iPhone 4 in a twitter prize draw. I went on for the next year and a half to become even more deeply addicted to twitter, blogs, Pinterest and aimless browsing. It was a lifebelt in a way – I was an isolated, lonely mum of a new baby and a toddler and the friendships I formed on the internet helped me in countless ways. It wasn’t all as justifiable as that of course; I got just as addicted to Words with Friends, Draw Something and sudoku, although the Angry Birds mania somehow passed me by. I also loved the camera, which got me beautiful shots of the babies made even more beautiful on Instagram, and the 32GB memory which let me carry all my music around.
But I have been struggling with depression, and in my struggle with depression I have confronted some of the things which are not- how can I put it – how I want my life to be. I have had deep and searching thoughts about my lifestyle and my faith. And after one rather bad spell, I retreated into my shell, away from my internet relationships pretty much completely. Not in a dramatic, ‘I need time away from the internet’ kind of way – I just didn’t log on any more. I started thinking instead, all those thought processes I’ve already mentioned.
I realised that I had withdrawn from the internet world because I was allowing it to dominate my physical world far too much. I wasn’t writing, I wasn’t paying enough attention to my kids, I wasn’t dealing with my emotional and spiritual problems. I was also all twittered-out and couldn’t take part in the social relationships I had built up. Relationships, by the way, that I still value very greatly. The support I received within minutes of posting that my grandpa had died was incredible and very touching. I could have just put the iPhone down, or knocked off the internet access, but the problem was much too deep. I had become dependant on the iPhone to take me away from the real world – if the internet access had gone, I still had games to play or a million unread blog posts on my feeder. It needed to go.
I won’t deny that money was a very attractive option too. In the end, despite a jammed power button, it sold on eBay for £250. But it was far from the real reason. If I’d only made enough to cover a new, simple phone (I mean simple – a Nokia C1-01. Back to the olden days of only being able to make calls and texts) I’d have still done it.
There’s another aspect too. I’ve become far more aware of my lifestyle, and it wasn’t healthy. Quite aside from being physically fit, I was setting a really bad example to my kids and I wasn’t living the kind of life that my increasingly Quaker leanings were leading me to. I want to downgrade, to simplify and focus on the things that matter, and selling my iPhone has let me do that.
The day I walked out of Phones 4 U (I actually cringed writing that. Would it really have been that bad to have called it Phones For You? I should have avoided them on grammarly principle) with my new, basic, talk and text Nokia I felt a huge sense of freedom and that I’d done completely the right thing for me. Not for everyone; but for me, definitely. It’s a fantastic tool, no doubt, and there will almost certainly be times when I miss the camera, or the iPod, or the internet, or try to do something that I just took for granted on the iPhone, but I feel like I’ve made a good choice and that it’s a step towards a more balanced and simple life.
I will come back to twitter and facebook, I miss the friends I’ve made there far too much not to, but not having the instant 24/7 access will help me use twitter with purpose again. And blog with purpose again, perhaps. And write. Oh goodness, I need to write again!
With love, from Becca.