My iPhone just stopped working this morning, and as a result I've been without it for the whole day. What I've learned about myself today is fairly interesting:
1. I'm An Idiot For Not Backing Up My Documents
I found out that I'll be losing all my photos on my phone, due to the particular nature of the issue I'm experiencing. Maybe I could spend time or money to figure out a way to extract the data, but I need this phone back pronto, so bye bye photos. Luckily I made a backup when I upgraded to iOS 8 a few months back - but this was an extremely rare event. Despite the fact that I have 6TB of external hard drives, and a DropBox Pro account, I somehow almost never back up my iPhone or my computer. I need to figure out a way to backup all of my photos and videos (that's all I really care about) every day.
2. I Plan Even Less
Although I am fully capable of creating elaborate grand plans, when it comes to the mundane things like going out to dinner, running errands, or even a taking a small weekend trip - I'm fairly useless. Having an iPhone makes it even worse. Today, had my phone been working, and I needed to go to the Verizon store to renew my contract or something, I would have looked up the location of the nearest Verizon store only after I had already left the building to see if I should start walking left or right. But without my phone today, I had to first actually make that plan, figure out exactly where the nearest store was and where I was in relation to that before I left my office. This is the most planning I've done in quite a while - and it turns out the store was literally on the same block as my office building!
3. I Think More Like A Photographer Because I Am One
I had film cameras growing up, and a series of nice digital cameras in the 10 years before I bought my iPhone. I was always pretty into photography, and took quite a lot of pictures over the years. But now that I have a super easy to use digital camera in my pocket at all times I'm easily taking two orders of magnitude more pictures than before. Not only has this extra practice made me a better photographer, it also changes how I experience daily life. In my short walk home today there were a few times I would have normally stopped and taken a picture with my iPhone, but couldn't since it's broken. Before my iPhone if I saw something interesting I'd just silently chuckle to myself, but now my mind immediately tries to figure out the best way to frame what I'm seeing for a picture.
4. I Spend More Time Consuming And Less Time Thinking
This is perhaps the most jarring change of all. Every time I get a few seconds I open up my phone to use it. If I'm stuck at a crosswalk I open up my phone an make a few moves in 2048. If I'm stuck in line for the elevator, I'll read a few paragraphs of a news article. If I go to get a glass of water, I'll check my email on the way. It's just absurd how I fill this downtime with constant consumption of content. I very much value time where I can just think, and these moments previously were filled just with ideas I was mulling over. But now I just have this burning desire to get more information at every free second. I don't really think this is a good thing. How do I go back to my old ways? Is that even possible now?
5. I'm Always Reachable
There is this unwritten expectation that if you have a phone with internet access, then you should be reachable. Furthermore, if you are unresponsive for a few hours, then something could be seriously wrong with you, and it is cause for concern. When my phone died today, I felt the need to let people around me in the office, and my family know they could not reach me, but that I was okay - it was just a dead phone. Although it is nice to be in close communication with the people in my life, there is just something strange about this new cultural expectation. Perhaps I need to take a wilderness adventure and just get away from things for a bit…
6. I Occasionally Don't Pay Attention To The Person In Front Of Me
I really try hard to make sure to always give the person I am talking to my full attention. I do think it's rude to be checking your phone while eating a meal with another person for instance. However good I am at sticking to this, I'm much worse than I used to be. At least three times today I reached for my phone during times when another person was talking to me. Normally I just do this to check notifications in case there is something urgent or extremely interesting - so it's just a glance. But still - this is not a habit I am proud to have developed, and really need to work on breaking it.