I never realized how connected I was to my phone until I left the United States and moved to Mexico. In America, I constantly had my phone in my hand incessantly checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the many other social media sites and of course, email.
When I landed in Tapachula, the first thing I did was purchase a local SIM card for my iPhone so I could communicate with everyone back home. The plans down here for foreigners are almost exclusively pre-paid, which is ok with me.
After a few days of adjusting to life in Mexico, I realized that I wasn’t pulling my phone out nearly as often as I did in the U.S. I started to think about why I wasn’t and what was causing the change.
My volunteer work here is very hard work. I work 6 days a week and most days I will work 10-12 hours. We usually have 2 volunteers on shift at a time, so it can get quite hectic trying to manage 47 kids. I am staying so busy with the children, that I don’t have time to think about my phone or what else is going on in the world.
It has now been over 3 weeks that I have been in Mexico, and I now notice that I don’t even pick my phone up when I wake up in the morning. I have no desire to check emails, social media sites or any other apps on my phone because I am looking forward to the beginning of a new day actually interacting with other people.
I have made many new friends here in Tapachula and we sit around the volunteer table after shift to talk about life, our friends and our family. One thing I notice as we are sitting around the table is this: no one has their phone out. We are actually enjoying conversation without the distraction of a smart phone constantly interrupting us.
I am now going to challenge myself to something even greater… Only check my phone twice a day. Once in the morning after coffee and once before bed. I know it will be difficult because of the conditioning from the past, but I know that it will be worth it. I feel there is no need to have more contact than that. All of the time I will gain from not constantly checking my phone can be put to something more productive and worthwhile.
Society as a whole has lost the ability to have an intelligent conversation because of the addiction to our cell phones. I would like to be one of the people who help turn this trend around.
I will challenge each and every one of you who read this to my same challenge: Put your phone down and actually start interacting with your friends and family again. Go outside and enjoy the outdoors without your phone and see what will happen. Play a board game with friends and talk about life.
We need to stop getting lost in our phones and start enjoying life the way it was meant to be enjoyed… through our own eyes!