Blackberry withdrawal, and my new life with an old phone
Not too long ago, I couldn’t leave my house without my Blackberry. In fact I couldn’t even roll out of bed without it. The first thing I did every single morning before I got out of bed was check all of my new emails. And there are always a lot of them. Then, throughout the day, I would obsessively check for new email about every half hour. If I was bored I would check it every minute or two.
I also began to completely rely on the calendar to remind me of everything I had to do. In fact, it pretty much crippled my memory, and I could no longer rely on myself to remember any appointments, even if it was just something later that day. It’s kind of similar to what happens when you use GPS in your car all the time. After awhile, you can’t find anything without it. My GPS was actually broken for awhile, and I swear I nearly started hyperventilating the first time I had to write down directions and actually watch for street signs.
I have been through a couple of Blackberries. Both of them had problems with the charging jack, which would eventually loosen up and quit charging the phone. After the second one broke (which I had for over 2 years, so no complaints), I thought about changing cell phone carriers, since Verizon is a lot more expensive than some of the other choices. So in the meantime, I switched back to an old cellphone that has no email, no QWERTY keyboard, and pretty much no other features except that it can make phone calls. Let the withdrawal symptoms start…
For the first three or four days, I actually had this panic feeling every time I left the house or office. I was so used to instantly getting email and responding to it, not being able to do that felt unnatural. I missed my Blackberry for a good three weeks, but had too much going on at the time to worry about switching service providers. Then something strange happened. After roughly three weeks of using the old cell phone, I started feeling more relaxed. Much more relaxed than I had felt in a long time. When I was out with my family, I didn’t even think about what emails might be sitting in my inbox. I started getting used to sitting down at my computer and checking my email just a couple times each day, and responding to all the messages right then. I actually started feeling like a real person again, not just a real estate robot sent here to spend my entire life buying and selling real estate.
It may seem like I am joking, or exaggerating, but I honestly feel relieved not to have a Blackberry anymore. I definitely understand where the term “Crackberry” came from, and for some people it can certainly be addicting. I still have my old phone, and don’t plan to upgrade any time soon. Sure, I don’t look so high tech anymore with the cool new phone, but now I feel comfortable going a day without checking my email every five minutes.
Advantages of NOT having a Blackberry
- It forces you to have better time management with your email.
- Instead of staring at your phone every time you are out, you actually experience the world.
- At least on Verizon, you save a lot of money not paying for the data plan.
- Freedom. I don’t feel like I always have to be working and following up on email instantly.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the Blackberry, or other similar phones, but for me it just feels better not having it anymore. Maybe it seems strange, but it is amazing how eliminating some of the small distractions in your life can make you feel like a new person.