I Used My Cellphone From 1999 for a Month to 'Reconnect' to Life. Spoiler: It Was Horrible

‘It simply left me feeling utterly disconnected.’

Okay, so I have a confession. I couldn’t get hold of the exact Nokia 3310 I got for my 12th birthday back in 1999, but this Nokia 105 is pretty much it’s equivalent except for its snazzy colour screen. I wanted to see if I, as a typical cellphone obsessed millennial who takes my phone EVERYWHERE, could cope without my iPhone for a whole month. What I found out proved to be very interesting… 


Image: Valentino Nicol

Here Are the Three Things That Really Stood Out.

1. We pick up our phones A LOT!

Research shows we check our phones over 80 times a day. This is the one thing I noticed the most – I was picking up my Nokia all the time for absolutely no reason, and because I couldn’t check emails, social media or WhatsApp I just put it back down. I often got an ‘itch’ to do something on my phone, so would end up playing snake until the feeling went away. I played so much of it, I managed to get an impressive high score of 2 840! 

Image: Giphy

2. It’s not social media I missed.

Sure, I missed Instagram a little bit but it was actually all the other nifty apps that don’t immediately come to mind when you think of a cellphone detox. Here are the top apps/phone features I wouldn’t want to live without again:

Spotify: I love listening to music on my phone while I get ready for work and while I’m exercising.

Google Maps: I’m fairly new to the city of Cape Town, so I rely heavily on Google Maps. This was probably my biggest inconvenience. I would look up my destination on my computer at work and turn on the mode to ‘street view’, then look for landmarks and try to visually remember how to get to a new venue. Google Maps is SO MUCH easier.

FNB Banking App: GEO Payments and making everyday payments on your phone is one of the easiest and most convenient things out there. The first weekend I started the challenge I went to a farmers’ market, with no cash or Snapscan (another money app I really missed!) and had to borrow money from a friend and drawn money later to repay her.  

Camera: I don’t take too many pictures, but I really missed sending silly selfies to my friends. Who knew I’d miss sending and receiving double chin pics? Lol. I cheated slightly by opening PhotoBooth on my computer and emailing pics to my bestie.

Calendar and Notes: From my groceries to my monthly budget, I plan almost everything on my phone, this has happened so subconsciously. I had no idea how often I used these two features.

3. My final observation came as the biggest surprise.

This made me decide to abort the challenge altogether after fourteen days. I got depressed. Which sounds awfully dramatic, but I honestly really struggled towards the end of my second week. This challenge was originally aimed to reconnect me to ‘life’ by disconnecting, but it simply left me feeling utterly disconnected. If I ever try a digital detox again I wouldn’t leave my smartphone in my drawer but would simply put it on airplane mode for a few days. 

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