I woke up some mornings ago, and I knew I’m going to learn to live without my iPhone and iPad because they have been stolen from me whiles I was asleep in the night. Surprisingly I wasn’t hurt. But somewhere deep on the inside I knew I’ve lost something. Something valuable to me. I’m not talking about price here. I’m talking about the value I derive through the use of these two things.
I have friends I talk to. I have business engagement I get done. I write a lot of things on the go. I take a lot of pictures—pictures of my little boy mostly. I love to see him grow through the lenses. Someday when he grows up he wouldn’t have to ask a lot of questions about when he was a baby because it’s all there for him to see.
I do all these with the two things that have been stolen from me. I felt empty. But I felt alright.
Through the years, I’ve learnt to appreciate things. Things that make life easier. But hey, they are just things! I love to have them. But I don’t cling to them. I’ve learnt what it means to detach from things. Everything we love is ending. All the food that taste sweet in our mouths are the reason we are dying young. Someday, you’ll lose what it is that you think you love so much. It is only when you cling to them that you feel hurt for their loss.
In the morning when I woke up and these things were lost, I felt very light. I had to go to work without their weight in my bag. That’s the lightest I’ve ever felt in a long while. But who said it’s wrong to feel lightweight?
My day was long. There was nothing to do to while away time. I couldn’t say hi to friends on WhatsApp like I usually do in the morning. I couldn’t check the news from my favorite news portals. I wasn’t receiving the usual notifications that bug me through out the day. I was losing on so many things, I thought.
A night finally came and I didn’t die. I’ve gone through the day just fine and still me. In the night, I picked a book to read. If I had my phone, I would rather be chatting with friends than to read. If I had the iPad, I would rather be caught up in something immaterial rather than to read. But tonight, I’m left with out these things so I picked a book instead.
The Book is titled; “Who Will Cry When You Die” It is authored by Robin Sharma. I started and couldn’t put it down. All night I read this book till there was no page left. “Wow, did I just do that?” I asked myself. I felt very transformed and all of a sudden the vacuum I’ve felt all day was filled. One story from the book kept ringing in my ears. That’s because it spoke so well about my situation.
The story was about Thomas Edison, the inventor.
Thomas Edison had invented many things during his lifetime. He invented the phonograph to capture sounds on records. He’d invented the incandescent light bulb. He’d invented the quadruplex telegraph. He’d lived a life. During his last years, Thomas was going totally deaf. Someone went to him and asked why he didn’t invent a hearing aid. Thomas Edison replied; “How much have you heard in the last twenty four hours that you couldn’t do without?”
It’s been a week now without a phone and I’m still whole. It’s been a week now without hopping on my favorite news portal and I can say I haven’t missed a thing. It’s been a week now…and my answer to Thomas’ question is this;
I can do without everything I’ve missed over the week. Actually, I missed nothing.
So what have I gained?
Time after time I’d made myself believe I have to spend months to finish reading each book I pick. That’s a lie. And I just realized it. It took me only two days to read three books. I did it without having a phone. I got time to work on a book that I’m writing. I wrote about twenty five pages in just two days. I did that without having a phone or iPad.
Instead of filming my boy when he’s playing, now I play with him. Instead of taking pictures of his growth, I’m becoming part of his growth. Now I look at him more. I see more through my very own eyes than through a camera lens. I believe now he sees me as someone he could play with instead of someone he had to play to. That makes him more happier and he laughs more.
There are other ways to reach people. People you care about. People you want to talk to. When you lose your phone, those who really want to reach you will definitely find a way. People have found some amazing ways to reach me. When they do, they don’t ask “what’s wrong with your phone?” They go straight to the point. They communicate their reasons for reaching out to me. Most times, the issues they brought are very important.
Not having a phone helps. It helps to avoid unnecessary conversations that steal a lot of time from you. Can you imaging someone sending you a mail just so they could gossip with you? People who go that extra mile to get to you have only important things to say.
You see, not having a phone isn’t bad after all. All the lack of time that I complained of, now I know where they went to. I know what steals my time. I will learn to do away with those things that took unnecessary time from me. People will say hi to you because you are online. Not really because they have something to say. People will like to talk to you to break their boredom, not because they have something important to say. They see you as a way to while away time.
If I should pose Edison’s question differently, it will be; “How much of things in your life now do you think you can never live without?
We get attached to things and we have the cause to believe we can never live without those things. We invest our hopes and emotions in people. Then we tell ourselves, we can never live without them. When we are in love and engulfed in love’s aura, we tend to believe we can never live without the object of our love. We can never live till we have no option than to live without.
After a while, as Veronica Shoffstall said “you learn that you really can endure. You really are strong…and you learn and you learn…”
You can live without them. Soon the vacuum would be filled with another thing to love. Then you move on. Then you someday look back and wonder how you were able to survive it.
Then you will know.
You can actually live without most things you believe you can’t live without. You are that strong.
You don’t know it yet.