Today it seems everything is done over your cellphone. Many times I come across a website that requires a verification code through a text, to which I sigh and exit the page. I live down a dead-end road with my only contact points being the internet and a house phone. Cell phones are now almost required to survive in the modern age. This can be very troubling for those who choose to live without one.
Some of you might ask, "Why would anyone choose to not have a cell phone?" And I have a very simple answer. Freedom. Life without a cell phone can be very eye-opening if you've had one before. You come to value knowing people in person, because often that's your only way out of trouble. You will also become more aware of what's around you. Your mind is no longer buzzing over that last text or what the neighbor posted on social media. Nobody can pester you on a night out over some silly gossip. My personal favorite, however, is that people that want to talk to you have to keep in contact. Value in asking how your friend is doing and if you can join in on the days spoils is finally returned. The craziness of texting once a month and only spending time together over video is gone.
Before you begin to think of me as some cave dweller scared of the newer technology, I better explain that my only complaint is the cellphone itself. As I stated before, I have internet at my house and use it quite extensively. I do enjoy programming from time to time as well.
Don't get me wrong though, having a cellphone has its perks. You've got a GPS, calculator, watch, and phone all-in-one, and it's easy to carry. However, nothing can beat the look on a friend's face when you pull out the trusty old Atlas to plan your next road trip. The shocked looks of people when they hear I still have a house phone keeps me laughing for a good minute. It's also fun to teach the little ones how to survive without technology. They get a spark in their eyes that can't be copied with anything else and reactions to "dinosaur-aged objects" are always a great memory. Surprisingly, I've come to find that even older kids don't remember the pay phone or stopwatch. They barely have knowledge of navigation without Google.
One such example was when I was riding horses with my younger sister and I had her leave her phone at home. We were gone for around five hours. I hadn't been on the roads we took until that day so she got to use my map. We took a couple wrong turns, one of them leading to some ponies which scared both of our horses silly, but we got to meet some locals that were delighted to see something from their early days. My sister's eyes shown with pride when she said she was our navigator. One of those new friends came to be her first odd job. As we were nearing the road that lead to home she asked what time it was. I told her to hold her hand with her fingers spread naturally below the sun and count how many fingers it took to reach the horizon. Confused, she did it and asked why. Few people know that tells you how many daylight hours you have left. Today she still talks about how that was a big day for her.
It seems that most everyone underestimates that value of learning the world. I'd like to challenge all of you reading this. Take one day, just one, and leave your phone at home. Go buy a map and a watch and give that subtly modern lifestyle a try. You might come to like it more than me.