Reasons why I’m not getting a smartphone anytime soon
It seems like every day I get a dose of helpful reminders of the fact that I’m getting older. As if getting older wasn’t already a fun process in itself: having more responsibilities, juggling a busier schedule, tiring more easily, not being able to stay out until 3 in the morning, etc. I could go on and on about the things that I’m starting to experience and struggle with as I settle into my mid-twenties, but I’d rather not remind myself more than I have to. This past weekend was yet another wonderful example of what tends to happen as we get older.
Overall, I like to think that I’m pretty on top of my schedule, but this weekend I couldn’t seem to get a handle on everything that I was supposed to do. Not only did I forget the two softball games I had on Sunday, but I also forgot my coverage at the receptionist’s desk on Monday morning. I felt pretty disappointed in myself. Usually, I think it’s normal to not remember something here and there. After all, we are human; and sometimes we forget things. On this occasion, however, I was actually disappointed in myself for not remembering. When I took a closer look at what happened over the weekend, I realized that I was out all day Sunday and, having a “stupid” phone, was not able to check my email all day. I was out and about; enjoying brunch; walking around Eastern Market, and watching the women’s world cup final with my friends.
When I finally did get around to checking my email, sure enough, there were reminders about both the softball games and reception desk coverage. The disappointment I experienced in my moment of forgetfulness was a direct result of this new standard I had unknowingly set for myself. I had created this expectation that I would never forget anything because every aspect of my life is now on some form of online calendar. I rely on pop-up emails to remind me to go somewhere or do something. Since when did living in the moment cause me to forget future obligations? Had this new expectation trained me to rely on technology rather than my brain to remember things? The last time I checked, remembering was a function of the brain.
These questions got me thinking about our dependency on technology and how it has changed the way we use our brains; in particular, the constant access to internet and email (among countless other applications) on smartphones. According to a PEW study, 1 in 3 American adults owns a smartphone. These people have also undoubtedly set a standard for themselves to never forget anything; but really it’s their phones that are doing the work. Smartphone users are in constant connection to their work and social circles. You’ve seen it walking down the street or riding on the bus to work: people with their heads down; mesmerized by their smartphones.
Don’t get me wrong, smartphones do have some very useful functions. Who wouldn’t want to have a GPS with them at all times. I basically do, since I’m usually traveling with someone who has a smartphone. Call me old-fashioned, but I still find some sort of nostalgic joy in being on a mini adventure, asking for directions, and navigating a paper map. I don’t want to forget how to do things like that. I like to use my brain for what it’s meant to do.