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What I Learned From Going 3 Weeks With No Phone

Going 3 Weeks With No Phone

This summer my family and I moved from Loveland, Colorado to Berlin, Germany. Going into it, we knew there would be some pretty major changes and that we’d be challenged in new ways. One of the things I didn’t expect, however, was how much I would learn from having to shut off my phone.

Knowing that it would cost an arm and a leg to use our US phones abroad, my husband and I decided that we would leave his phone on for a few weeks while we waited to get our new German phones, but mine would be shut off. I was nervous at first, but in the end, I’m glad that I did it.

Here’s why:

3 Things I Learned From Going 3 Weeks With No Phone

  1. When I stopped using my phone, so did my kids. It used to be that I couldn’t go anywhere without my boys asking to play games on my phone. Even at home they’d ask. I would get irritated with them, and also with myself. I was leading by example and I was on it constantly checking my email, updating social media, and playing Candy Crush. I was teaching them how to act, and they took the cue. That’s changed now. As a family we talk when we’re out and when we’re at home. We play card games and kick the soccer ball around, really enjoying each other without distraction.
  2. I had to ask for help a lot. On our third day in Berlin my husband and I found ourselves entirely lost. Normally we’d simply pull out our phones, type in the address we were looking for and be on our merry way. Not on this day. For the first time in a long time, I had to approach people we didn’t know to ask for directions and help. It was humbling, but also rewarding when certain people stepped forward to our aid.
  3. My husband and I had to work together. Coordinating schedules was never a hard task when we both had our smartphones. Tyler would get off work and if I wasn’t home, he could text me to find out where I was, what our plan for the evening was, and so forth. But for the last few weeks, we’ve had to sit down each morning and map out the day. We plan our morning runs, work schedules, kid schedules and dinners. Not only that, but since we aren’t texting back and forth all day, we have more to talk about when we do see each other. Dinner conversations have been great!

It’s been three weeks since our move, and I’ve been told that my new German phone will arrive any day now. I can’t lie, I’m still excited to have it, to acquire a few of the apps I’ve been missing. But I’m taking a few lessons with me from my time without a phone. I’ll be making more of an effort to leave it in my purse, to engage with my kids in play and my husband in conversation, and to reach out and ask for help when I need to.

Have you gone without a certain form of technology before? What did you learn from the experience?

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