This is the post where I'm supposed to confess how I'm counting down the hours, minutes, seconds until I'm allowed to once again feel the warm glow of the television screen, until I'll be able to travel down the information superhighway at speeds only limited by how fast my fingers can type, until all the apps on the Smartphone bring nothing but happiness and joy back into my life! But I can't, because none of that would be true. Sure, for the first few days I kept telling myself, "Only 29 more days. Only 27 more days. Only 26 more days!" just to make it through to the end of that day like a child counting down to their birthday or Christmas. Yeah, I struggled with coming to grips with the reality that technology dependency reduced me to inefficiencies when completing every day tasks: "Where's my checkbook? Do I even have a checkbook anymore? Where are my envelopes? How do I address a letter? Do I have stamps? Where do I place the stamp? What am I supposed to wear outside to put this in the mailbox?" The realization that everything was okay and that we are extremely adaptable to changing stimuli only clicked in my mind around the halfway point in this challenge. Then, and only then, did I start realizing the things I really needed were different than what I wanted.
The advantages a smartphone brings are aplenty. I've already described how apps as simple as a calculator, calendar, camera, and contact list make our lives much easier in ways we take for granted everyday. Candy Crush will definitely be fun to pick up and play again! But is your high score and the highest level you've achieved really more important than something else you could be doing? If anything from this part of the challenge, I learned that you can put the phone down and pick it up later. Just look at the picture below. We're literally viewing life through a glass screen and not with our own eyes any longer.
I still don't miss television, at all. I've had the opportunity to read more books this month than I have in the past three years. This will be most interesting to see how fast (or slow) I get back into the habit of watching TV. At first I yearned for the shows I would watch on a weekly basis, now there's not much of a desire. From books I've learned more about business and having a positive attitude in life; from television I've learned the best way to kill a zombie — both equally important mind you, but I know there are books that teach that too. Yes I did watch TV for one hour out of the 720 other hours, but felt justified in my choice to do so based on the subject matter and the up-front admission that I was going to do so through the post that day. As judge, jury, and executioner, if you still feel I should suffer the punishment chosen at the beginning of the challenge, then voice your opinion in the comment section below if you're so inclined.
This was still the hardest part of this challenge. Not having Facebook has made me feel socially isolated to the point of near depression. When a friend references something they've posted or talks about a mutual friend's engagement or the latest meme then asks, "Oh, you didn't see that on Facebook?" made me feel like an outcast. Even breaking the ice with someone I know when confronted with a face-to-face conversation wasn't as easy. For instance, if you noticed on your feed that they posted about a new job and then you saw them at a bar later that week, most of you would say, "So, tell me about the new job." Every conversation I had with friends this month couldn't have been prefaced by some prior knowledge provided by Facebook's news feed. While the argument could go both way on that, I found that situation to be a good thing because those conversations felt untainted and they organically evolved as we were talking to each other. There was no agenda, cue cards, or heads up, it was just communication in the purest form.
This challenge was totally worth every single minute. Try giving these up for a weekend, maybe even a week. Can't do that? Just give up a different one each weekend instead of all three at the same time, then share your results here on the site. You've heard me talking about it for 30 days, I want to hear about your experiences.