November 24, 2015

4 Life Lessons I Learned By Putting My Phone Down.

dendelion perspective by LaPrimaDonna
When you get your nose out of your phone, you’ll find the beauty in the not-so-typical beautiful landscapes, such as the run-down streets of a city, the wildflowers that grow out of the sidewalks, the way the light streams in your bedroom window.

In this day and age, we practically live inside our phones. Everywhere you go, no matter the time of day, you’ll catch people’s faces fully focused on what is going on inside their phones.

We find ourselves craving the connection through our social media apps over real-life, real-time connections.

Honestly, it’s really sad. In fact, according to this internet addiction study, even 17 percent of men and women admitted to choosing to go without sex over the internet.

Here are five lessons I learned by putting my phone down and choosing to be here, now. Hopefully you can learn from these, and realize the importance of getting out of our phones and into reality.

1. Observances.

It wasn’t until my phone died on me at school that I decided to get my eyes off of Instagram and onto what was going on around me. I was riding the bus home, and hadn’t even looked at the bus driver as I walked on the bus. With a dead phone, I looked up and noticed some things around me: a new couple (or what seemed like it) deeply in love. A boy with cerebral palsy who was in a wheelchair. A boy sitting next to me reading a math chapter book.

All of these beautiful occurrences going on around me that I have so much to learn from. I was inspired by the love from the couple. I was grateful for my own health and physical abilities because of the boy with cerebral palsy, and I was awe-struck from the boy next to me reading a chapter book about math—for fun!? All of these people around me I could learn from, and yet, most of the time I was stuck in my phone looking at fitness models, fashion accounts and nature pictures. Not that there’s anything wrong with those things, but can I be real with you for a second? Same sh*t, different toilet.

Once I looked around me I saw raw, authentic people that made me ponder my own life and existence for the rest of the day.

2. Connection That Is Real.

The same day on the bus that my phone died, I decided to talk to the boy that was reading a math book next to me. I was curious. Who would read that, and more importantly, why? I asked him about his book. We started talking, and it turned out that we were in the same statistics class. I had never noticed him before. He seemed cool and smart, and we even exchanged numbers so that we could study together in the future.

This is an experience that never would have happened had my phone not died. Not only did I meet someone new, but I met someone I probably never would have initially reached out to, and I was able to get out of my box, my comfort zone, and explore new possibilities. And hey, I scored a Stats buddy in the midst of it!

3. The Beauty That You Can’t Find In A Lens.

This last weekend I journeyed down to Moab for a weekend of rock climbing, canyoneering and good ol’ adventuring. I brought my new Canon Camera. However, when we made the descent down the most beautiful canyon, I realized that I had accidentally left it behind.

Initially, I was super bummed. The canyon was breathtaking, and being a millennial, the first thing I thought of was: “But Instagram!” Even I dislike this quality about my generation (as much as I love Instagram). Down the canyon we went, and I noticed how special it was to only look through the lens of my own eyes without worrying about the lens of a camera. No pictures could possibly compare anyway, and why waste time looking through the lens of a camera when I could see every ray of light, interpret every bright color, feel the sun on my face and smell the crisp cool air?

I was experiencing it fully. And every time I went to instinctively reach for my camera that wasn’t there, I was reminded to step back and absorb the canyon through my own perspective—which was even more special, anyways.

While my friends on the trip were able to capture plenty of beautiful photos, looking back, none of them were able to fully capture the essence. And this is something that—for once—I was able to indulge in.

4. Shift In Perspective.

Usually on Instagram, we follow the same types of accounts, and you’ll see the (again, blunt) same sh*t, different toilet. Gorgeous girls with perfect bodies, beautiful, unscathed landscapes and motivational quotes. We get so adjusted to seeing life through this perspective, that we forget there is a contrast out there in the real world.

You’ll realize that there are perfectly imperfect humans, with different shaped bodies. You’ll find the beauty in the not-so-typical beautiful landscapes, such as the run-down streets of a city, the wildflowers that grow out of the sidewalks, the way the light streams in your bedroom window.

You’ll see and experience the hard parts of life, which are not always conducive to the “motivational quotes.” You’ll experience how being imperfect is perfect. And you’ll fall in love with those imperfections.

You’ll see that life has trials, and it is these trials that open our minds, expands our consciousness and molds us into who we really are.

A new perspective brings new experience—and a new experience brings expanded awareness.

Every time I get out of my phone and really pay attention to what is going on around me I am amazed—not only from what I learn about others, but from what I learn about myself.

Next time you’re on the bus, waiting in line, or at the dinner table with friends, try putting your phone down. Observe what is going on around you. Learn from the people you wouldn’t otherwise notice. And most importantly, shift your perspective.

You might be surprised by how enriched your life will become.


Author: Brooke Nally

Apprentice Editor: Cecilia Vinkel / Editor: Catherine Monkman

Image: “Dandelion Perspective” by LaPrimaDonna/Flickr.

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