My Year Without a Mobile Phone

how to survive without a mobile phone

“How to Survive Like It’s 1995″

My year without a mobile phone wasn’t part of some process to simplify my life. I wasn’t trying to abandon technology or get back to basics or go on some natural retreat.

It started a year ago when I tried to update my existing mobile phone, and to complete the process I needed a number that was part of the original packaging. I couldn’t find it, so I gave up and said, “Eh, oh well.”

It wasn’t a big loss. I didn’t have a smart phone, it was the kind that you had to triple-tap to text, and I barely used it. I work from home, and most of the places I go are within a one-mile radius of my house, so I could use the home phone if I needed to call.

(By the way, I’m not really a fan of the home phone since so many companies don’t respect the “do not call” list. Ours was part of a bundle package with the internet and cable, and we kept it in case the kids needed to use it in an emergency.)

So there I was without a working mobile, but feeling rather indifferent about it, I didn’t replace it right away.

I could survive like it was 1995. I did it once before. Maybe I would get lost and have to drive around looking for a store, and I wouldn’t be immediately available to reach. Since everyone else around me has a phone, I knew I could just borrow one if I really had to.

Living Without a Mobile Phone

I made a few social observations during this time when I didn’t carry a phone around. First of all, it’s really odd to stand in line and watch all fifteen people ahead of you look down at their phones at the same time.

Being the only person in the room without a phone almost feels like being the only sober person at the party, like you’re missing out on something, but at the same time maybe you’re the only person who is fully paying attention.

I noticed that some people put their phones away when having a face-to-face conversation better than others. I appreciate when people put their phones in their pocket or bag instead of placing it directly on the table in front of them. I realize I’m not as important as someone’s husband or kids, but it’s distracting to stop and wait every five minutes while the person you’re talking to responds to a text.

When people say they struggle with feeling too connected and not being able to unplug, here is an easy solution: You can turn off your phone. (There’s a button on the top.)

Also, re: loud ring tones, not a fan.

Try Google Voice

So people could still reach me, I set up a Google Voice account. I kept the same mobile number that I had for several years, and I moved it (ported it) to Google Voice.

Google Voice is like a main switchboard that joins your phone lines and your computer. People call you on one main number, and you control the settings. You can screen your calls and set “do not disturb” times. I used it to forward the calls from my mobile number so I could answer them on my home phone. I had texts and voice messages sent to my email, and I responded to texts from my computer. Most people didn’t notice that I no longer had a mobile phone since they could still call and text me at that number. The cost to set up a Google Voice account was $20, but after that it was free, and I wasn’t paying monthly charges for a mobile plan.

Eventually my husband insisted that I get a new phone for safety and convenience, so now I have a fancy, new phone, and he can text me instead of calling at me from across the house like people had to do in olden times.

I use my fancy, new phone to send texts to four people and take pictures of my food. I like it.

What do you love most about your phone?
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.

Comments

  1. Jackie sheridan says:

    I went a year without a phone at all. No house phone, nothing. It was very freeing. If i needed to make a call to a utility company, or make an appointment, i used my husbands phone. But otherwise, i had facebook to relay messages to people, and a free texting app on my ipad to communicate with my sister, husband and mom a few times a week. The money saved over thwt year, for not having a smart phone is tremendous. I eventually gave in and got a (free!) little cheap flip phone, the same “triple-tap to text” type from best buy from their go-phone line. I had $10 in rewards money, so it was completely free. My phone line is only $10 on top of my husbands iphone bill (yikes).
    I had a to laugh at your observations of how others use -and abuse- their phone. I notice it too with company. The constant need for them to check their phone, almost subconciously is remarkable.

  2. The title of this post makes me laugh a little. As if it’s an achievement of some sort? :) We have a home phone and one Tracfone which we put 1000 minutes on A YEAR. And we never use them up. I guess I must really live in the dark ages, hmmm?

    • This sounds like me…For years I had a cell phone plan for my husband and I and the bill kept getting bigger and bigger so one day I cancelled it…We kept our old cellphones (flip open, triple tap style :) but bought minutes from Walmart…Tmobile minutes $100 for 1100 minutes…This lasts us about a year :) Sure, iphones are super cool and all but it is not a necessity and there are other things we wish to do with our money at this time.

    • If you live in the dark ages, we do too! I haven’t had a cellphone of any kind for three years, and before that, I had a pay-as-you-go “dumb phone” that I never really used, plus a home phone. My husband does not have a cell either. We are quite contented to just have one home phone line – it definitely helps that my husband has a phone in his office, but quite frankly I almost never want a cellphone. The one time I really needed to call someone and I couldn’t use my home phone (I had locked myself out of the house, actually), I found that local businesses were quite happy to let me use their phone. For us, it’s mainly a matter of “who needs it?” – it’s a way of simplifying and NOT being available all the time, which I like. It’s much much cheaper, and there’s no motivation to constantly upgrade. Most of our friends don’t check their phones all the time, thank goodness, although I can understand doing this with a sick child/parent/stressful situation, and being grateful for that safety net. The only (very small, kind of hilarious) downside has been friends that just don’t get it that they can’t text me:-B But frankly they often email me anyways, rather than texting. But for now we find the price and sound quality and dependability of a home phone, in combination with internet connection, meets our needs well. I think that next time we make a big trip in the car, we may get a cell to have on hand for safety, and I could see one being handy when we have kids. Until then, cell free and loving it! PS and I love that you take photos of your food – that’s totally what I would do! Hahahaha.
      Bronwen@Bronwenreads´s last post…Review: Norwegian Handknits: Heirloom Designs from Vesterheim Museum

      • Bronwen, I think it does make a difference how your friends and family use their phones. If that’s the primary way they keep in touch, you might feel more of a need (or pressure, depending on how you look at it) to get/use a cell phone. Lucky for you it works out well.

        • I agree that you need to think about how you fit within your social setting, for sure, but I also think that it’s easy to look at what your friends are doing and start thinking that a smartphone is a “need” not a “want”, which is not a good idea, if it affects your ability to meet other financial goals. (I can certainly see getting one at a different time of life – they are fun!) It’s interesting that within my age group (mid-twenties), people tend to send emails/Facebook messages quite often, even to people that have cells and could receive texts, and since I have predictable access to a computer, this works fine (I’m a librarian on a large university campus). If I’m missing out on plans with friends, I don’t know about it! and that’s totally cool. My family is all in another country and wouldn’t be sending me international texts in any case – we use Skype or talk on the phone. One other factor to keep in mind – how often you make long-distance calls. We have found that a home phone is more cost effective and reliable in that case, in combination with Skype.
          Bronwen@Bronwenreads´s last post…Review: Norwegian Handknits: Heirloom Designs from Vesterheim Museum

    • It is funny, but we get accustomed to things. Like can you imagine how people lived without plastic wrap? Or getting up to change the channel on the TV?

      I also think it’s funny how we think of cell phones as a necessity for safety, even though we survived just fine without them in the “old days.”

      • Well no, we didn’t survive just fine without them in the old days. People died getting lost while hiking, got frostbite or died from cars breaking down in the freezing winters and not being able to find help in time. People died in their homes because they’d fallen and couldn’t reach the telephone on the wall, whereas now they can reach the one in their pocket just fine. Kids got kidnapped because people would walk up to them on the playground and say “your mom sent me to get you,” but now they look at that person and run or call an adult because they know darn well if Mom sent someone to get them she would have texted first. And we can’t forget the people who can easily and readily get ahold of their doctors or have their hearts monitored and be otherwise able to live something resembling a normal life, because they’re not tied at home to a landline for heart monitoring.

        That’s not even considering things like how businesses aren’t ALL as accommodating as they used to be about allowing potential customers to use the phone, let alone being willing to page an entire store of customers for someone’s phone call. Or the fact that pay phones are practically a myth anymore.

        You may not have a lifestyle that having a cell phone adds any safety to your life, but there are plenty of people who rely on them regularly and whose lives or families lives have literally been saved by having ready access to a cell phone.

        • Heather, You’re absolutely right.

          Though I hadn’t thought it through as thoroughly as you have, I do feel safer with a cell phone. We have our parents on our plan for just that reason. And honestly I feel naked going out without my phone, vulnerable I guess.

          I put my cell in the pocket of my motorcycle jacket in case I get thrown far from the bike and have to call for help. I laugh when I tell people this, but seriously, you never know.
          Bridget´s last post…Crazy, Stupid Love

  3. I used to not care so much about being in touch by phone, but with 3 kids in school I now try to make sure I have my phone with me at all times. I usually have the ringer off, which is why I try to remember to set it in on the table when I am out with friends. I’ve had two emergency situations at school, one involving stitches, & one where my child was inexplicably fainting & whoozy. I want to go get my kids & be there for them if they are sick at school. I can’t imagine anything more miserable than being sick in the school office with the school nurse talking at you.

  4. I’m laughing as I read this, because it’s so timely for my situation. I had an iPhone 4 and it was stolen earlier this year. Rather than replace it right away (I was eligible for an upgrade, but we were already saving in our budget to get the “fall iPhone” which we had heard was coming out), my husband and I decided to continue our plan to save gradually for new phones (what a strange concept, huh!?). I was fortunate enough that several members of our family had old phones still in their possession after recent upgrades, and I was able to get my Mother in Law’s old second generation iPhone. It didn’t work as well as the new ones, but the phone portion of it (you know, because it is a phone!) worked great. I stopped looking at my phone all the time instead of playing with my kids, and even though I have a new phone now I am far more mindful of how much time I spend on it.

    I have never understood someone who will interrupt a face-to-face conversation for a phone….whether that be text or call. When I enter a business my phone is on silent. We NEVER carry our phones to the table. It’s common courtesy.

    • Kym, You would think it’s common courtesy, but unfortunately, there are a lot of people who think nothing of interrupting a face to face conversation to answer a text. Things that could’ve waited in the “old days” now demand our immediate attention, apparently.

  5. I love my iPhone and wouldn’t want to be without it for even a day. I do use it when I’m standing in line sometimes – I may as well get something done rather than just standing there. But if I have an opportunity to talk to a real person instead, I will always choose the real person.

    I try to be courteous in my phone use and ignore it when I’m in social settings. My granddaughter does NOT like me to use the phone when I’m with her (she’s 3). So I don’t.

    But I do have family members who drive me crazy with their phone use. It’s like they can’t live without it or have it out of their hands even for a moment. I don’t ever want to be like that. It’s just a phone.
    Patty@homemakersdaily.com´s last post…How I Clean My Bathroom

  6. Really great – sparked some ideas for my husband and I. Thanks!

  7. I do think things change a bit once you start leaving your kids at home alone. If I’m out I will check my phone to see if it is my husband or children. Generally they know if I am with a friend or at an appt and won’t text unless it is important. I will not repsond to other texts or calls when with people or in a place where it will bother others. Also, we have a rule in our home that our supper table is free of media – the teens try to buck the system some days:) Something I find superbly annoying are those headset phones people wear now; you never know if they are talking to you or to someone on their phone.

    • Jackie sheridan says:

      ..or to themselves @.@

    • “you never know if they are talking to you or to someone on their phone.”

      That used to startle me sometimes. I don’t know if it’s just people on the East coast, but people carry on loud, heated discussions in public. We also get a fair amount of people who talk to themselves, too, actually. But usually they’re a little nicer to themselves. :)
      Bridget´s last post…Financial Peace

  8. I have an iPhone that I LOVE! But I don’t use the phone part very much – just to call my mom who doesn’t use email. I don’t text at all. Most people email me. I love that I can get my email on my iPhone. I have a severely disabled adult son who lives in a group home. I love being able to be available to him at all times when he isn’t at home with me. It makes me feel better. I set a different ring/vibration tone for any of his staff so I know when it is a call/email about him. I do put my phone in my purse when I am with other people – unless I am taking pictures of my food ;)

    Having the iPhone makes me feel like I can go places and still know that anybody can contact me. I work at home and do not have a landline. I also use Google voice as my business number and I forward the calls to my iPhone. I only give out my cell phone number to family and friends. I do put it on vibrate often.

    My pet peeve is when people check their phones during a movie! It lights up the movie theater!!

  9. All I have is a Tracfone, flip style, and I think I’ve used about ten minutes in the two years I’ve had it. I don’t even know the phone number. Before I had a phone, I could easily find someone to lend me one. After I got a phone, the chances of it actually being charged and in my bag when I need it are about 50/50. Oh, and I borrowed a smartphone from someone recently to check something on Facebook.

  10. I too was phoneless for about a year… now my husband and I share a mobile phone. It’s so freeing to be able to go about without one! Your points about feeling like the only sober one, and seeing all fifteen people in front of you looking down at theirs are SO true! It got annoying to be trying to have a conversation in person with someone and having their phone keep interrupting! We are now in a generation of people who won’t be able to live without them, I imagine… crazy!

  11. I have never purchased a cell phone (and I think we are roughly the same age, so it’s not as though I am some older person who is reluctant to embrace new technology). My reasons have varied over the years, but one thing that has made me reluctant to do so is the way people behave–sometimes the rudeness of answering a call or texting in certain situations, but also the level of importance some people place on this particular object. Although I appreciate the great things one can with a cell phone, particularly a smart phone, it seems a little unhealthy the dependence. Although I have been seriously considering buying one for variuos reasons, I would really hate to find myself adopting the rude behaviors that many cell phone users don’t have a problem with.

    • but your not having a phone doesn’t make other people less rude, does it?
      you’re entirely in charge of your own behavior and i’m sure if you’re polite it will set an outstanding example for others who use their phones too. maybe you will develop a following and can blog about modern etiquette. it could be a whole new world for you. =D
      but try, for your own sake, not to judge too harshly a culture (modern communication) that you chose not to participate in until you’ve fully experienced it. it sounds rude.

      • Sometimes the best way to see something is to step outside of it. Perhaps one has to experience a culture to fully understanding it, but I don’t think one has to participate to observe and draw some conclusions. A person doesn’t have to own/use a cell phone to see that many behave rudely with respect to theirs. (I’m a cell-only person, btw.)

      • I certainly don’t mean to sound rude. Tone can be challenging to discern in text communications. But although I may not own a cell phone, I have used one, I am aware of the various other benefits (texting, apps, etc) and as Rita points out, one can still observe and draw some conclusions.

        • My First Grader has food allergies. It’s a small thing. Lots of kids have ‘em, but when she’s at school my phone is my most important possession. If my husband calls me when I’m out to lunch with friends, I answer on the first ring because he’s not a chatterbox. Sometimes when you’re outside a culture, it’s easy to judge what seems impolite, but you really can’t know. You can’t know why that lady drove too closely to your bumper this morning or why some man dashed in line ahead of you. We can’t know where people are going or what’s important in their lives but just calling people out for using a cell phone sounds backwards elitist and hipster. I don’t support it.

          • I live with my partner’s two elderly & chronically/terminally ill parents, have a sickly dad and a grandma whose health has been up and down for a while now, as well as a former stepdaughter in a bad living situation who could call me for help at any time. That means there’s a large list of people for whom I will answer the phone every time. If they’re just calling to chat, I hang up quickly. So far, about 80% of my phone calls/texts haven’t been interruption worthy. But do I risk ignoring it and missing out on that 20% of important calls? I don’t think so.

            So I’m with you. I’ll risk being a little rude to answer, and the people who I’m spending time with already know the gravity of the situation enough to forgive it. But it does help that I answer the phone with things like, “Hi mom I’m out to lunch with a friend, what’s up?” Everyone else texts before to see if I’m available, if it’s not important.

  12. i really love my phone. i don’t use it all the time and i won’t when i’m taking someone else’s time face-to-face. but i love having directions, shopping, reference, camera, video all at my fingertips. it’s a convenience i think is quite amazing.

    long ago, i remember getting lost driving to friends houses and events, often scared while looking for addresses in the dark. i remember working summers in a library as answer girl, searching brittle card catalogs and dusty old 50 lbs reference books hours maybe for just one little question! i remember running inexplicably late to an important meeting and both sides missing a sought after opportunity. would not trade my phone for 1990. did that- no fun!

  13. The thing I cherish most are the pictures in my phone. I know, it’s crazy. Oh and I really love keeping in touch with close friends and sharing pictures in What’s app messages.

  14. Rita Kate says:

    What I like best is it doesn’t work at my house. It isn’t a smart phone. I don’t text, watch movies or listen to music or play games. It’s a pay as you go. I have it so when I travel (50 miles to the doctor’s office) I have a phone that might work. Thought I might like a gps. But hey those have gotten cheap enough I could buy a plug in.

  15. I have a basic flip-phone for emergencies, convenience (it stores all the phone numbers), and it has voice mail, unlike my land line phone at home. So if anyone who knows such, if they cannot reach me – can leave a voice mail message on the mobile. I am grateful to have the phone and would not want to give it up.

    Still, I often feel like the lone one at a party of couples – everyone is texting, calling, and walking across the street chattering or texting without looking at traffic. I too think it’s rude that people feel a text or such on their phone should automatically take precedence over a face to face conversation with them. Are they waiting for the transplant surgeon to call? Sure, we all have emergencies, or if there is something pressing – then indicate in advance you are expecting a call / text.

    Just reminds me that I don’t want to be THAT attached to my phone.

  16. I’ve always been mindful of the cost of a cell-phone, minutes and data plans etc. etc. … But what struck me the most about them was Sept 11, 2001. People running down the streets of New York, those without cell phones grabbing those with, begging, “please call this number, tell my wife I’m okay.” And those on the final flight, that crashed into the field. Things have changed. Courtesy is courtesy, I offer, no matter the circumstances. I have no hesitation to ask someone, politely, to use their phone differently in my presence if its warranted. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. Like honking a car horn – especially when the light changes and the driver ahead is staring down at their phone. I try to be very conscious of my own cell phone use, that’s all I can control.

  17. Me and my husband are the type that got way too caught up in our iphones. I got rid of mine a couple of months ago and do not regret it for one moment and in december he is getting rid of his. For necessity I got the cheapest virgin mobile phone with no bells and whistles for $20 a month and have never been happier. Now my husband is driving me nuts because it is like his phone is glued to his hand and we are not even there. He doesn’t do it on purpose – just like I didn’t, I really think it is a compulsion that some people can’t help and it is better just avoided all together.

  18. I’ve never owned a cell phone – on purpose. If I’m out someplace, it’s because I WANT to be someplace. Whether it’s the grocery store, the zoo, or the library I choose to experience the place I’m at – not waiting in anticipation for something potentially better (or worse) to occur via the phone. If I opt to be with my friends, I don’t want interruptions: I want to focus on time with them. If I’m at a store, I’m capable of making a purchase without calling for help. And waiting in line? I don’t need a distraction: I enjoy the alone time or talk to someone.

    Yes, I have three young children. The oldest is 11 and allowed to babysit. They know that in the event of an emergency – even if I had a phone – I’m probably not the nearest adult who could help them. Not having a phone has made me intentional about getting to know my neighbors, who are some of my closest friends now. So if there ever was a problem, the kids would just walk to a neighbor’s house. People comment about how mature my kids are, and I attribute part of that to the fact that they know mom isn’t always reachable. Hence, they’ve learned to make their own decisions without constantly “checking in.”

    Driving long distances? Yup, road trips for thousands of miles without one. If the pioneers could make it across the country without paved roads, I can make it to a convenience store and ask a question. Chances are I want a bag of m&ms anyway. (There’s probably an app for that, but I thoroughly enjoy meeting new people face to face.)

    There are a handful of times a cell phone would have been convenient. But overall, I think I’ve enjoyed life much more without one.

  19. Ah, the cell phone — the bane and blessing of the early 22nd century! I resisted getting one for a long time, but as someone above said, when I started wanting to leave the kids home without an adult sometimes, it sure became a good thing to have.

    I don’t text except with the code our daughter dreamed up for me to use when family need to inform me of something and want to know I received it (because I often don’t carry my phone and don’t answer it at home). They text me, and I respond with “k,” which is as fancy as I get.
    Lori @ In My Kitchen, In My Life´s last post…Lori’s Almost-Famous Peanut Butter Pie

  20. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard, or said, “What did we do before cell phones?” I guess we paid attention to who we were with and where we were :) I do appreciate having a phone for safety and convenience, but I hope that I’ll always be able to unplug and put people first.
    Emily´s last post…Packing Light

  21. I was never into phones prior to the smart phone era. Back in the old cell phone days I always had some old hand me down phone and it was practically never turned on.

    Then in 2010 I got an iPhone and it was all over. I love that little device oh so much. However, I like to think of it as my “little internet machine” rather than a phone since I use the phone function infrequently.

    What I love most about my phone is having the internet at my fingertips. Whatever you want to look up, you’ve got a way to do it. this is the type of technology I was dreaming of long before it existed (or came to the mainstream).

    What I love second most is how it combines so many items into one. For example, I no longer have an MP3 player since my phone covers that functionality. And I recently loaded all of my loyalty cards into an Ap called Key Ring so that I could clear them all out of my wallet.

  22. I’m glad that my kids have telephones because I can text them from my computer. But I really, really hate telephones, and I have no interest in having a cell phone. I don’t have any friends, so there’s no one to call me, so there’s no need for me to cart around a cell phone. Poor people & cell phones don’t mix.

  23. After my sister put her fancy phone through the wash, my parents used my free upgrade to get her a new phone. So… after my phone fell in the lake? I was out of luck. I actually bought a Track phone, put my SIM card (which thankfully survived the lake) in it, and tada! Phone! No internet, no GPS, no camera, doesn’t get photo texts… and I like it just fine.
    Little Wife´s last post…Destiny and Jello

  24. To save money after losing our jobs we let our phone plans go. Now that my husband is back to work, he has an iPhone which is paid for by his company. I chose to still go without. I really don’t mind it…it’s one less thing to keep track of. And as far as safety. Years ago…1995 I was doing a bit of traveling and my husband thought I should get a cell phone. It was a lot of money and I wasn’t ready to bite the bullet. I also was feeling that if I got a phone for safety, than maybe I wasn’t trusting God. Funny thing. Within days of that decision I made a 5 hour road trip for business. My Jetta went silent and I pulled over to the side of the road on the freeway. I really wasn’t quite sure where I was, so I pulled out my atlas. As I was looking at the atlas, a State Trooper pulled up and asked if I was lost or in trouble. I explained my situation. He then went back to his car, called for a tow truck, and proceeded to wait behind me until the tow truck came. He then spoke to the tow truck driver…essentially checked him out…and made sure I was okay getting into the truck with the driver. Once my car and I made it to the VW dealer, a service person at the dealership phoned Enterprise and in a short while an Enterprise rep pulled up with a car, I signed some papers, transferred my goods and away I went. A little behind schedule for sure. But, I was safe and everything worked out better than if I had a cell phone as my safety. I believe that God honored me and proved that day he could be trusted to take care of me.

  25. I used to not care about having a cell phone. Then my oldest child became a teenager. It’s a different world. It really does give you a lot of peace of mind when you can check in with them from wherever you’re at and wherever they’re at. So yeah, I’ll pay the money each month.

    I also have to say I use the GPS on my phone all the time, and I would not be able to keep up with everything without the calendar.

  26. I have never gone that long without a cell phone, maybe just leaving it at home while we went away for the weekend. But when we moved overseas I got a cell phone for family back home to call me, but they were basically the only ones with my number besides my husband. So my cell phone became a completely different thing in my life. It wasn’t always going off, it was constantly interrupting or distracting me. I simply used it when I needed it–kind of like the way phones are supposed to be.

    I do love having Evernote on my phone though . . . it’s like carrying around a digital notepad.
    Rue´s last post…Sun Prints

  27. I would love to go without a phone, but that’s probably because I manage my building and get a lot of unwanted phone calls! But I also don’t have a smart phone and am resisting switching to one (even though Hubby is in love with his shiny new iphone). I kind of miss the days when no one had phones!
    Erica {let why lead}´s last post…Erica’s Guide to Apple Varieties

  28. The Phone… any phone. Home, mobile, cell, smart, etc. Whatever you choose to call it is a sore spot for me.

    I HATE HATE THEM.

    And that is hard to admit since I worked in the Telecom Industry for almost 40 years. Even after being retired for six years, I still cringe at the sound of a ringing phone. I have been tempted to disconnect our house phone but for some reason we continue to hang on to it. My cell stays in my purse (charged weekly) but is only used for emergency outgoing calls.

    In an ideal world, for me, there are no phones and I am no longer forced to listen to all the JoeBlowhards and ChattyCathies of the world. The movie theatre is a happy place again. Driving is safe again.

    OK… off my soapbox. :)
    Donna´s last post…Pick One: Halloween or Strings… Giveaway

  29. I like lots of things about my phone! Texting friends, playing games, using the Evernote app (which I notice you have too).

    But I think the top two are: as an entertainment source for Eleanor when we randomly find ourselves waiting somewhere, and as a camera. I take gazillions of pictures, and I love it.
    Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm´s last post…31 Days of Awesome Kids’ Books: The Gingerbread Cowboy

  30. I love this post so much!
    My smart phone has changed my life for the better, in one way in particular. I downloaded the Couch to 5K app and started running. I’m a runner now. Who knew?! Never would’ve happened without that iPhone app, though, and now I run with that thing strapped to my arm so Runkeeper can tell me how far and how fast I’m going, and I can keep track of my progress.

  31. Oh. And I have that same Burt’s Bees lip gloss.

  32. I had a simple flip-phone (with 3-press texting) for about 7 years and barely used the phone ever. I was on month-to-month service (not locked into a plan). I did fine and noticed many of the things observed in the post and in the above comments. I vowed I would never become one of those “bad phone etiquette” people.
    Recently my phone gave out. I really like having it for emergency purposes. I was involved in a terrible circumstance just prior to owning a cell phone, and later got one so that I would never be without help in any similar situation. Having had a phone at that time may have saved me from the situation.
    Anyway, I just got an iphone 4s this past week – and I love having it. I do use the phone more often, but I also use texting, look up emails, evernote and other apps. I’m starting to use the calendar as a personal organizer (instead of the small notebook in my handbag). This is great and I do find it worth it for the price as I’m getting so much more now than I got for the old “plan” price before.
    I STILL vow not to use my phone in an obnoxious manner. Tonight I was out with friends and didn’t check the phone once. I did have someone show me how to use a function on my phone, so I did pull it out then. I can live without my phone, but I really like using it. You can own a cell phone and have good manners. It is not exclusive to those without a cell phone. I do agree however, that there needs to be much improvement in general cell phone etiquette overall though.

  33. I have a smartphone for several years. I use alot of the internet. Mail, facebook, twitter, etc, but sometimes it gets stressful trying to keep up with all of the social stuff. My contract ends soon and I think I’m going to try for just the cheap flip phone with no text, no internet for awhile and give myself a break. I do catch myself looking at my phone all the time when I’m out eating lunch or dinner with my hubby instead of talking and I hate that.

    We were eating dinner out the other night and there was a family of four sitting beside us and the whole meal they never said anything to each other. The young girl was texting the whole time, the young boy was playing a game, the mom was talking on the phone, and the dad was on his ipad. I said something to my husband about it and he looked down at my smartphone in my hand. (ok point made… phone going into purse lol!)

  34. I have an iPhone and I unashamedly love it. My husband and three children also have one. No landline. We always know where each other is at all times, which is my favorite feature! I love all the things that it can do. I use it for most things—phone (obviously), address book, recipes, shopping list, directions, maps, banking, calculator, weather, pedometer (to track my steps when walking), email, alarm clock, books (kindle app), clicker (to keep count of my knitting & crocheting rows), calendar, appointments, etc., etc., etc., virtually anything I need is at my fingertips and in one small place. No more lists and printed out directions that seem to clutter my purse, get lost, or worse left at home. I knit and crochet a lot. Patterns and information are right there at the push of a button. My husband loves to bird hunt and has a propensity of getting lost. No fears. No worries. He can be found with his GPS on his iPhone. He also calls to tell me the area he is hunting each time he moves from place to place. I hate to shop and try to do as much shopping as I can online. Again, my iPhone is great for that, too. It is not only a phone, but a tool for me to simply my life and consolidate as much as I can into one small place that can be accessed by the push of a button.
    As far as people being rude with phones, you can’t change them. You can only be an example by the way that you use yours.

  35. I love this post. I may become the last person on earth not to own a smart phone, and I am just fine with that. I keep the computer upstairs, away from the normal traffic of the house so that I must make an effort to go check my email. There are enough distractions pulling me away from being fully present and enjoying life with young children, I don’t need any more.

  36. This stuns me – in a good way. I cannot imagine living without my smart phone, and I hate saying that. Google Voice sounds like an intriguing option. I love how you constantly challenge me and introduce me to new things. Keep it up!

  37. If I had a smart phone I’d use it a lot. So I tell my husband.

    But neither my son nor my husband (who both use their smart phones a lot) believe me. They point to the fact that I don’t answer my phone or check my texts, and that my phone was not working for over a week before I even noticed.

    All of these facts are true. But I’m sure I’d use my smart phone. If I had one.

    This weekend I had a German meal at the strangest restaurant. I couldn’t take a picture with my non-existent smart phone. Fortunately I had a regular camera with me to take pictures of the taxidermied animals and real live golden retriever we found there.
    Bridget´s last post…Financial Peace

  38. I use my phone to listen to the radio, static free.
    I use it to read the news, I stopped watching T.V. News
    I play scrabble and other word games and I have gotten a lot better. ( I call it brain exercise).
    I use its calculator ( to figure out tips and percentages off) , (I corrected a cashier just yesterday), and timer(to cook steak on the grill) and alarm clock (to get up on time).
    I use the camera all of the time.
    I let my 4 year old grandson play preschool games when we are at a restaurant until the food comes. He is much happier to wait then.
    I use the maps to find places and get out of traffic jams.
    At book club we get on the library web site to check on how many books they have of the next book we want to read and the availability.
    In the grocery store, they didn’t have the bagged salad I wanted, so I looked up the recipe for it to find out the ingredients and bought the individual ingredients I needed to make that same salad, while I was still in the store.
    It is bought a time saver and a time waster.
    Right now I misplaced it and I know I turned it off, so I can’t find it, and I really miss it. It is somewhere in my house.

  39. As long as it is used a tool with the human in control, I have no objections to a cellphone or smart phone. Mine is very useful indeed to me. But it doesn’t rule my life. If I think there may be an emergency I might leave it on the table (rarely), but with the ring tone off, nothing worse than phones ringing loudly in public – it lights up anyway if anything comes in that might need my attention. Mostly it doesn’t need my attention and I can concentrate on other humans!
    I use many functions: alarm clock, calendar and reminders, maps (though not as a GPS – which woman needs a GPS? LOL), weather report, lots of books and occasional surfing for information, buying train tickets… among other things. In my country this is no more expensive than any other simpler phone.

  40. Also I think going without a phone is no problem at all as long as you have other electronic devices – even my 21 yr old daughter can do it.
    Take away the phone, the laptop and any option for communication – another matter!

  41. I was telling a story about you the other day, remembering a blog post you wrote about having a pay-as-you-go cell phone plan and paying around $25 a year. I was so inspired! Congrats for going a whole year without the distraction of a phone and really paying attention to people! You rock!
    Paige´s last post…Hello Monday, Hello October

  42. Update: My phone wasn’t in my house. I got a call from my neighbor. He found my phone while walking his dog. I think I put it on the bumper and fortunately it fell off near my house. Amazingly it was fine and it didn’t rain.

  43. I have to admit…I have a smart phone but I am probably the last person on earth to get one. I held on to my simple cell phone for many years and even refused to turn it on at times because I hate lengthy phone conversations.
    Well, I still hate talking on the phone for too long, but I mainly use my cell phone for pics, surfing the web, and the occasional emergency child distraction (thanks to itunes kids shows downloads).
    I’m so spoiled now.

  44. I have a cell and I only use it when I’m away from home to coordinate meeting times/places or shopping lists with my husband. It has web access, but I never use it because it makes me claustrophobic. I like a big screen.
    I also like the camera function – I snapped a photo of a rug the other day I thought my husband might like and that we could consider buying. Much better than trying to describe it to him or dragging him to the store.
    It would be nice to snyc my google calendar with a smartphone, except some of my friends who have that say that it can goof up sometimes, so I’m not sure I could trust it.

  45. I hate my phone… I either forget it because it’s so damned small. Or I can’t hear it and I’ve missed a dozen calls because it’s so damned small and the ring isn’t loud enough! Or I can hear it ringing and ringing like you wouldn’t believe and I can’t find it because it’s so damned small!

    See a common thread in this comment?

    Yep, my phone is too damned small for me now.

    When Mum bought it for me around 4 years ago, it was perfect for what I needed: texting. Now, if somebody sends me a photo it’s itty-bitty and I can’t see a thing on it! If somebody tries to call me from their hands-free in their car, I can’t hear them because the microphone doesn’t work well enough – stupid thing!

    Now, I’ve begun looking around for a new phone for the new year. I’m sick to death of fiddling with this stupid little phone which I lose most of the time. I know I’ll have to fork out over $300 for something with a decent screen and I will have to change phone companies – maybe to Vodaphone – but it will be worth it. Anything to have a bigger phone where I can see what’s on the darned screen.

  46. Once again we all get worked up over something that must be a matter of what is best for you and your family. I have a smart phone with a very limited data plan. I use our home wireless network most of the time. It is my phone (no land line), my GPS, my mp3 player, my camera, my e-reader, my calendar, my address book, and my calculator. I don’t need to carry lists any more, because they are on my phone; and the app I use let’s me share them easily with my husband. I never forget my Bible or my notes from last week’s Sunday school lesson.

    In short, having a smart phone has simplified my life. For some people, that is not the case. I absolutely understand that they do not want a smart phone, or possibly even a cell phone.

    Of course, no level of usefulness excuses rudeness. I too find it rude when someone I am talking with face to face just stops to answer a call or text. I understand checking to see who it is, especially if you are away from small children or an ill family member; but always answering no matter what tells the person you are with that everyone else is always more important.

  47. Wow – I am so impressed! I am ashamed to say that I sometimes feel addicted to my iPhone. However, I really make an effort to put it in my purse when I’m around others. But those people you observed looking down at their phones while standing in line? That is me, sadly. It’s like a pacifier.

    I will say: sometimes it’s kinda nice though when I accidentally leave it at home.
    Kristin´s last post…A weekend of Highs and Lows

  48. It’s hard to remember that there was a time when I didn’t have a cell phone. When I forget my phone I feel like I’m having an anxiety attack. Isn’t that awful? It’s such a distraction, though. I should practice connecting with the real world more and shut it off once in awhile. Thanks for the inspiration!
    Mel@TheDizzyMom´s last post…green chile lime hash

  49. What I love most about my phone is the app Instagram. I think it’s so much fun. (I take pictures of my food too!)

    Until last Christmas, I had a little flip phone and didn’t need or want anything more high tech, but my mom got me an iphone for Christmas (She also has me on her family plan and pays the monthly fee. So generous!) because I was pregnant and she wanted to be able to do Facetime (video chatting) with me.

    Although I like Instagram and Facetime to stay in touch with far away family, if my mom didn’t pay for my phone there is no doubt in my mind that I’d give up my cell phone. I absolutely don’t need it. I’ve made an effort to not become addicted to my cell phone because I want the people I’m with to know they’re my priority. I have one game, Instagram, and Facebook on my phone and that’s it. I don’t check email or surf the Internet (do people use that phrase anymore?!) on my phone at all. I keep my phone on vibrate most of the time and only check it a couple of times a day. I often leave home without it.

    I think cell phones have robbed us of the skill of being patient. Everything carries with it a false sense of urgency. People have to be stimulated all the time and there is not being present in the moment or tolerance for boredom. These are not characteristics I want to model for my son.

  50. I am not a big “phone” person. But have always had for emergency. & primarily to keep in touch with family (probably use more with kids, as others mentioned).

    We just upgraded to smart phones earlier this year and I was wary to make the leap. In the end I have really appreciated it in a wide variety of situations (emergency rooms, emergencies, hospitals, traveling – all of which have been abundant this past year). We could text before, but what a pain on those older phones. !! I was really worried that I would have more issue adjusting and being “always reachable” but am relieved to find my friends aren’t bothering me much. Sure, most my friends prefer not to be glued to their phone, but I have a few who are. I think either I am not that important, they know me, or they are just not used to me having a more modern phone. It hasn’t been an issue. When away from my family I tend to keep it closer than usual because the fam is getting used to texting me and reaching me. But at home I just put it away – they know where to find me. I only literally set it out in front of me with a friend once when I was expecting a very important phone call re: medical test results. Really, anything can wait a bit. It’s a wonder we survived before cell phones! ;)

  51. “Since everyone else around me has a phone, I knew I could just borrow one if I really had to.”

    Yeah, and I said I’d given up smoking too except for the ones I “borrowed” from other people. Doesn’t really count.

  52. I would never dream of answering texts or calls while out with someone else for a face to face get together; HOWEVER, when my kids are with a babysitter, that means the phone will be resting on the table. I just don’t trust being able to hear it ring or vibrate when I’m in a noisy place like a restaurant. So, that’s my exception to the idea that setting your phone on the table is inconsiderate. I think there can be good reason for it.

  53. Aleta Jacobson says:

    Hi Rachel and all,
    I was a “drag me into the 21 Century,” kind of person. I told my kids that cable was not needed for years. They were so mad at me that we didn’t get the internet until our oldest was in high school (early 90′s.)
    But one day I was coming back from a class at our local city college and got a flat tire on the freeway. If anyone does not live in So CA and know the “system” out here I will tell you that to break down on the freeway is like a death sentence. First is to get over so you can get out of the traffic of 80mile + per hr cars and trucks. The speed is more in the 90s.
    I was not able to get off the freeway and was reduced to getting to the side of the road to a call box that was near an exit and and on ramp. I climbed over the gearshift to get to the “safer” side of the car to get out and get to the call box. I had no cell phone and was not going to be sucked into the hype that everyone needed one. Ha! Boy I wished I had one then.
    The car shook as each car or truck roared by. I got the door open but even though it was not on the side of the traffic it was almost ripped out of my hands. This is no lie! I was shaking with fear. I got out of the car and walked back a few feet to the call box but really felt that even though I am overweight I felt me feet not want to stay planted on the ground. I got the call box to work but could not hear a thing. The wind of the cars and the road noise was so loud the only thing I got from the operator was, “Please, do not yell so loud!” I couldn’t hear what else she said so I just told her to call Auto Club for me and tell them were I was.
    While all this was going on I was holding onto the call box and hoping I would not be sucked into traffic. A Metro Tow truck showed up out of no where. I still don’t know if they just cruse the freeways or what. He made me get back in the car and he changed the tire for me.
    Then next day I got a cell phone.
    They happen to be a necessary thing that can save your life. I will never be without mine. That day on the freeway was so scary that I can’t even think about it with out a chill.
    Be safe.

  54. I love not having a cell phone! The mind scattering pinging of texts, being tempted to “check in” on FB before becoming present where I actually was, and I’ve actually filtered out some friendships that were apparently based on random texting chats. You CAN CALL 911 from any cell phone- even without a plan. My mind is clearer and I’m far more present.
    Amy Rene´s last post…Easy Gnome Costume with a Vampire Bonus