Give yourself a treat and ditch your mobile for the day
- Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
If you want to feel freedom and liberation in 2020, simply leave your phone at home, says Rachel Moore
When being separated from your smartphone feels like losing a limb, you know your priorities are badly skewed and your life needs a serious reboot.
Yesterday, I committed the most radical act since catching a coach at dawn from Sheffield to London in April 1990 to join the march against the Poll Tax.
I had a day out in London and left my mobile phone at home. Deliberately.
I walked away, shut the door and ventured out unconnected. Free, untethered with no risk of interruption on a special late Christmas present day planned by my partner.
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It felt like cutting the umbilical call. It needed planning and a steely will. A phone isn't just a phone; it's a diary, timepiece, camera, entertainment in your pocket, entrance tickets, train tickets, you can pay with it… when you start to list its uses and how it has sneaked its way to dominate our lives it is unnerving.
Wearing watch and carrying actual train and event tickets and credit cards, I felt jittery, discombobulated but, slowly, liberated and lighter.
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For the first time for as long as I could remember I was out of contact from texts, calls, work emails and social media.
Stepping on the train it felt wonderful, free of the ball and chain to spend an uninterrupted day with my partner focused totally on our plans and each other without the temptation of 'just checking." Like an extra present to him, undivided attention.
Six months ago, the thought of it would have sent me into apoplexy, an attack of the heebie jeebies. Like absent-mindedly leaving a child in a shop or forgetting to pack essential medication for a holiday.
The business, the family, my diary, all my contacts, what if something happens? What if I'm needed? What if I miss bad news?
But, recently, a love-hate relationship has developed into near loathing of the wretched thing, the hold it has on my life and what it symbolises.
I'd like to chuck it into the Wensum and walk away forever and go cold turkey, but would the impact on my work, friends, family and a whole information stream that keeps me informed, connected, and effectively imprisoned by a slim oblong straight jacket be too detrimental?
It's not being in easy contact that I loathe; it's that persistent urge to scroll, check the news, check emails just in case and click on social media for a butchers during a five-minute sit with coffee, and still be here 50 minutes later looking at outfits on Instagram, a diatribe of squit on Facebook and vicious exchanges on Twitter.
It's an addiction. I've never had an addiction, and it's hideous, feeling that overpowering need to be attached to something that is strangling your life and hooks you in to wasting hours on inconsequential rubbish.
Its misuse - abuse really -is affecting relationships and stunting communication in couples and families.
Is there anything more disturbing about our society than seeing a family in a café or restaurant in silence, all staring at or playing on their phones, leaving the youngest and babies to grow up thinking that is the norm?
Our addiction is shaping a generation of ineloquent monosyllabic oiks.
Relationships are destroyed by evenings sitting together staring at phones taking our heads elsewhere.
What was once a simple way of keeping in touch has murdered conversation and human interaction as we knew it.
We've let what was once exciting, useful and entertaining tool, a useful aid to life offering a fountain of information at our fingertips, become like a drug, and stifling and thwarting real relationships.
When it demands iron self control and will power to be away from your phone for a day, it's an unhealthy situation that needs to be fixed.
A WEE PROBLEM:
A trip to the cinema is as good for you as a mild workout, according to boffins,
Watching a good film counts as light cardio - good for the heart, memory and concentration, and watching at the cinema rather than at home means fewer distractions, allowing your brain to devote a rare period of "undivided attention" to what is unfolding, say scientists at University College London (UCL).
But not if the experience is interrupted by weak bladdered fellow watchers disrupting the row to scuttle to the loo.
During the two hours of the mesmerising epic 1917, three people in my row needed a tinkle so we all had to stand up so they could barge by. It's so irritating, disruptive and selfish.
If you're a bit weak in the bladder department, book an aisle seat, or, as one less selfish man caught short did, stand at the back for the rest of the film to save disrupting others twice.
Or don't quaff great vats of drink before a showing.
Why anyone would want to nip out, miss the action and crucial parts of the plot is lost on me anyway?
A waste of money and as thoughtless for everyone else enjoying the film as slurping that drink and rustling wrappers of the mountain of sweets.
Honestly, grown ups are getting more like children all the time.