I have an old cell phone. It doesn’t have Internet. I can’t use it to check my e-mail. I can use it when I need it, however – but I don't feel overly connected to the world. I can still be in the moment with my family or friends – and get a call if I absolutely need to. It works for me and my life. It represents much more to me than just a phone. It represents a simplicity that I long to maintain in this busy life.
People often tease me about my outdated phone, with comments such as, “No WONDER it takes you so long to text!” and, “Is that a toy phone for your child?” With pink cheeks, I usually smile and throw my phone back into my bag and say something like, “It does the job.” Like my car, my philosophy with my phone is that I’m going to use it until it can be used no more.
I recently had to confront my modern cell phone non-conformism when a client (while explaining an example regarding her company's business processes) asked, “Do you have a Smartphone or an iPhone?” I, thinking I could coast pass this one without admitting I had neither, said, “Yes.” (Any cell phone is a little smart, right?) So, when she asked, “Which one?," I was cornered and had to come clean. I quickly replied, “Oh...you mean me? Oh, neither.” (Lol.)
And so, this week, sadly, my cell phone died after drowning in a minute pool of water. This makes me sad for two reasons: one, I like my old, tiny, must-scroll-through-the-letters-to-text phone. It’s tiny. I can drop it on the ground (or my son can spike it on the ground while having a tantrum in the grocery cart), and it survives. My daughter can decorate it with princess stickers. It's become part of the family.
Secondly, losing a phone means I must buy a new one. And buying technology is at the top of my list of un-favorite things to do. (Enter my husband who is my personal shopper – who loves researching products and comparison shopping more than life itself. I think he’s excited about this new project. Bless him!)
Another simple thing that I love...is paper. Paper makes my life easier. Paper was my first true love, and now, in addition to multiple spiral notebooks, I have a trusty, large, spiral calendar that I love so much! I can decorate her with stickers, use different color ink, carry her in my large purse, write notes about my day…I love her. And yet, I still get teased when I proudly bring her to meetings, and everyone else brings their tiny, shiny technological calendars, combined with a phone and address book.
Technology is wonderful and amazing - no doubt, as long as it keeps things simple. I adore my laptop. My digital camera has become an extra limb. And I would be lost without the blogosphere and the lovely, cozy, knowledge-packed realm of podcasting that streams into my ears via my precious, tiny, magenta iPod Shuffle. All of these things make me very happy. They bring the outside world in – and educate and inspire me daily.
Technology is doing its job when we feel more relaxed in its presence. But technology's not doing its job if it steals us away from a beautiful moment or makes us resent our responsibilities. It should allow us to have more time for the things that matter most...and it should make our lives better.
What is your favorite piece of technology that makes your life easier? I'd love to hear from you.