My name is Sage. I am 15 years old, and first received an iPhone of my own at the age of 13.
After two years of having the iPhone heavily impact my view on myself and my surroundings, I decided to leave it behind, and recently traded my iPhone in for a regular Pantech.
I had been so caught up in Instagram, Snapchat, and random videos on YouTube that I didn’t realize how the little phone in my hand had slowly turned into the huge monkey on my back.
Even after less than a month of being completely off my iPhone, I started to see not only my mental, but serious physical and emotional patterns change.
Yes, the iPhone did make useful and even fun activities accessible in the palm of my hand, but it also changed who I was.
When I got my first iPhone, I was ecstatic. I was just about to graduate the seventh grade, and was ready to take on life as an “adult.” My parents, who had finally warmed up to the idea after my constant begging for years, didn’t realize their mistake until they started to see me change so completely.
It only took me a couple of months with the iPhone to lose touch with nature, gain an attitude, and start to loathe myself. I would spend time admiring others’ lives, wishing I could look like someone else, or be like those “other” girls. I stopped appreciating who I was and became negative and cynical, always comparing my life to others.
Even though social media is meant to make friends, it did quite opposite. Rather than making real interactions and plans with peers, it turned me into more of an introvert, spending more time with friends online than in person. Even if I went out and saw some of my friends, we would all sit next to each other, faces blankly staring at screens. I cannot blame the iPhone for making me download these certain social apps, but as a teen, the pressure from society and fellow peers to be accepted completely shattered any willpower I had.
These apps had become almost like a drug to me, and I was addicted purely to the thought of fitting in, which is basically the whole concept that social media projects.
Of course I have to appreciate what the technology of the iPhone has done for me, but I also had to realize what kind of person it was encouraging me to be. I spent so much time wanting what I didn’t have rather than appreciating the amazing things I did. My mom asked, almost pleaded for me to leave the iPhone behind since basically the beginning, but I had become attached to it, refusing to admit what negativity it had created in my life. Even six months ago, I would’ve never imagined the thought of life without an iPhone.
It took becoming seriously depressed and completely isolating myself from my family and close friends to realize what owning an iPhone had done to me.
After only a few months of being iPhone free, I have done amazing (and real) activities with friends, picked up an instrument, and re-bonded with my fellow family members. I’ve stopped arguing constantly with my mom, who I dearly love, and most of all began to actually explore who I am. Not just writing an Instagram bio for myself, but actually creating memories that will truly shape my identity.
I feel not only more accomplished, but more appreciative of who I am, rather than hating myself because I’m not model skinny or don’t go to huge spectacular parties every weekend. I’ve used the energy I spent moping over what I could look like or what I could be doing, to actually start doing things with my life, like making the damn best muffin recipe I’ve ever tasted.
I stopped wishing, hypothesizing and wanting, and began living, doing and being.
There’s nothing more important than being in the moment, and it’s good to be back in my own moment, rather than spending time wishing I were in others.
Author: Sage Nuessle
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Michele Ursino/Flickr