four days without a phone

The Original LG - Tough Times

I lost my phone four days ago. I left it in an Uber in Paris on the way to the airport and have now been living four days completely without a phone. Since it has been quite destabilizing I wanted to ramble on what has come up for me during this experience – and in case you’re wondering, no I still do not have a phone, lol.

It has been a strange and eye-opening experience. From my complete helplessness in being able to get it back (it was either getting on my flight or trying to find the phone), to having to surrender to being without it, to losing communication with the outside world (emails have been my main form of communication), and then dealing with how to get a new phone without having a phone to make phone calls with — it has been a serious practice in surrender and patience.

You don’t realize how much you rely on something until you do not have it, and our phones pretty much contain our lives nowadays.

On top of that, I was sick on my flight back from Paris with a cold and felt depleted when I got home. Then on Saturday I woke up with terrible cramps and got my period. It has felt like one thing after another!

I have felt disoriented and unsure of what to do with myself. Which made me realize: we truly are addicted to our phones. I have not thought of myself as a very phone dependent person, but this experience made me realize how real the addiction is.

I feel like I have gone through stages of withdrawal these past few days: it started with shock and disbelief, then anger and frustration, followed by sadness and isolation, and now finally release.

Friday and Saturday were the worst, but today I woke up and thought: well I have to go on without it.

I went out and did all the things I normally “needed” my phone to do. I went on a hike in complete silence, I drove around LA without google maps, picked up my boyfriend for lunch at the exact time we had agreed upon (no little timing changes or running late), read my New Yorker Magazine when I got a pedicure, took chances by going to places without knowing if they were open or not (and surprise - the library was closed) and then adjusting.

It has been strange, and I do feel like I am missing out in some weird way and was scared as a female doing things alone without any way of being able to reach out to someone if something went wrong, but after pushing through these discomforts, I am seeing the gift in it.

The freedom and space it has given me is lovely. I am not constantly bombarded by messages all throughout my day. When I am with someone, I give them my full attention, having nothing to pull at my thoughts or check on even for a second. When I am out and about, I am fully present. When I am at my apartment I have done things that are more introspective and nourishing - I have read interesting articles, read more of my books, and journaled each day. I have gone to sleep MUCH earlier each night. And I overall just feel calmer.

The Recovery Diaries: Dealing with the Unknown

I am the kind of person who always likes to have things figured out. I like to know exactly where I am going, have a step by step breakdown of how to get there, and then make a detailed game plan to follow to ensure that I get there exactly when I want to get there. Ambiguity? Playing things by ear? Figuring it out as you go along? Yeah, not my thing.

This discipline (or let’s be honest: crazy OCD) served me well in certain areas of my life but sadly it’s not an approach you can apply to everything. I desperately wish I could but I have realized that life just doesn’t work that way. It was great for my middle school, high school, college years but it has sucked for life after that. Post college life isn’t measured and predictable. It’s a hot mess and the more you try to shove it into a box the more it explodes out on you. Like a demented jack in the box.

I have no idea what I am doing right now. Nothing resembles any sort of plan. I can’t look beyond one year of my life, which drives me absolutely crazy.

It makes my skin crawl with anxiety and I hate it. But I also know that fighting this isn’t helping me at all. The more I try to wrangle my life into some sort of step by step plan the more it hurts me because it does not fit that format. It keeps not working and I am left feeling completely defeated and frustrated.

I have realized that I have to take a different approach. I can’t keep banging my head against the wall for answers that I simply don’t have right now.

I have to embrace this messiness and the fact that life does not make any sense to me right now.

I have to be ok with not knowing where a decision or job will lead me but just taking it because for right now it’s the thing that works best. I can’t look down the road and see how it will serve me because unfortunately I don’t know the future and I have no way of knowing. As hard as it is for me, I have to proceed forward blindly with the faith that things will work out in the end.

Something that helps me stay the course is reminding myself that even when I did things in my insanely controlled way, it didn’t work because I didn’t know myself well enough. That’s why I am in this situation now! I was making decisions for a future Lili that I didn’t know. I was so controlled in the way that I did things that I didn’t give myself any space to experiment or explore different things. If you would have told me five years ago I would be pursuing writing I would have laughed in your face. So what good did that life plan do for me?

As much as you try to make things predictable and set, life can change in an instant and all of those plans are thrown to the wayside.

So that’s where I am at now: No longer looking for the path but instead embracing this huge field of grass in front of me that seems to be in the middle of nowhere and deciding to just roll around in it and believing that eventually I will find my way.

Have you ever felt lost in life? How did you deal with it? I'd love to hear in the comments below.