What I Learned Not Having a Phone for 8 Days

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

We recently went on a vacation to Paris. After looking into the roaming plans and their cost, we decided to leave our phones at home for the vacation.

I knew it would bug me, but I had no idea how or how I’d react.

A little background before we begin. I haven’t been without a cellphone since 2002. In high school, I was the dork with the digital organizer. I had an HTC-Dream in 2009 and remember Android 1.6 Cupcake. All that tells you I’m a little of a gadget nerd and haven’t been far from the convenience in almost a decade.

One of the first pictures I took and posted directly from my HTC-Dream to Facebook in October 2009. (604×402 pixels in size)

Like most people my age, I rarely make phone calls with my phone. Only when I have to or if I want to speak with my older relatives.

What I didn’t miss

I expected to miss the constant social connection of my phone, but it’s the part I missed the least. It was actually kind of nice to disconnect and ignore things that weren’t important.

I’m a little bit of a digital hoarder. Take for exemple that before this trip I had a mailing list subscription to TeeFury in 3 of my 5 emails.

The vacation and only being able to clean out my facebook and email once a day, sometimes less, gave me the push I needed to start cleaning out subscriptions, groups, and even a few friends.

What I have now is a quarter the amount of incoming emails and a lot less of an urge to check my phone every four seconds.

What I did miss but was glad I didn’t have

The camera on my phone is exceptional and I have a nasty habit of relying on it too much. I have a fantastic Mirrorless SLR and need to use it more often. No matter how good your phone’s camera is, at the moment, an SLR will be much better.

This forced me to reach into my bag and grab the camera instead of just pulling out my phone.

What I missed

Being able to search for random information, directions, locations, and even identify landmarks; was something I truly missed about my phone.

The ability to pull out my phone and be told what a landmark is and its history is extremely useful. Being able to ask where to find the closest café is extremely useful. Being able to find out the hours of operations for business over a holiday is useful.

I have terrible handwriting so being able to write a list for groceries on my phone is something that I love. The list is shared with my wife so if she forgets something while I’m out, she can add it to the list no problem.

Despite being French Canadian, there was a language barrier and some words I had no idea what they meant. It would have been nice to have a universal translator in my pocket for shopping.

We went to Paris with my in-laws and being able to separate without detailed plans of where and when to meet is something I greatly missed.

I also missed being able to listen to music, read, play games, and jot down ideas.

 

I still think that the roaming is excessively expensive, but I sure missed the convenience of having my phone.

Éric

Identity Musings

“The soul’s made of stories, not atoms.” – The Doctor in The Rings of Akhaten

I’ve been thinking a lot about identity. Who we are, who we think we are, and who people think we are.

The Dissonance of Identity

It’s happened to all of us at one point. A friend or family member says something is “typical you” and it shocks you. “How could they think that?”

When my wife was younger, her family would by her cow themed presents. She says that once she mentioned that one cow was cute; her family swears that she loved cows. That’s a perfect example of the dissonance between who we think we are and who others think we are. “I don’t like cows” compared to “She loves cows.”

There’s a disconnect between what the three parts of yourself. I’m sure there are technical terms for it but I’ll just make it up. There’s the Self Identity, the Projected Identity, and the True Self.

Forget about the last one. By the time you have discovered and understood the True Self, you’ve already altered it.

The other two are important to understand, both in life and in fiction. A good villain thinks he’s the hero. Think about that… Go ahead I have time…

Yeah you could be the villain in someone else story. The truly depressing fact is, you have been at some point.

There are two ways to look at this, you either accept that it’s part of you or you deny the effect of other people’s opinions on your life.

I know I’ve done some stupid things and I’m not proud of everything but I am sorry.

To everyone who has seen me as the villain in their story: I’m sorry. (And thank you for reading my blog.)

Changing

When I was young, I hated green olives, or I thought I hated them. Then one day I decided to try one. Something had changed and suddenly my mouth was telling me I liked green olives.

As human beings we change and a lot of the time we don’t notice. This applies to everything in our lives. However our perception of ourselves doesn’t always change with us.

That’s what makes me still think of myself as an Improv player, despite the fact that I haven’t played in over a decade. The realization that you aren’t who you thought you were can painful.

Fandoms

Being a fan a decade or two ago was simple for me. I was a Trekkie. No doubt about it, no second guessing nothing. I built my identity, morals, and knowledge of story structure around the shows. From 1987 to 2002, I lived and breathed Star Trek.

If someone were to ask me the same thing now, I’d reply that I’m a Geek. It’s not that I love Star Trek any less, it’s that I have so many other Fandoms that I don’t have the time or energy to list them out.

There are fandoms that I’m not part of but still enjoy the source. I like Star Wars but I wouldn’t consider myself a Jedi, Warsy? Whatever they call themselves.

When I was about to go to high school, I was terrified to be placed in the wrong group. Television, books, and movies had trained me to think high school kids were sorted into categories. Boy was I shocked when I realized that it never happened. Sure there were cliques and groups but they weren’t categorized and the groups consistently shifted.

In a world that tells you, consistently, that you must be one thing, it’s hard to realize I’m not just one thing.

I will attempt to list all my fandoms at the end of the post. *

The Future

As confusing and as painful not knowing or being wrong about who you are is, it’s nowhere as devastating as realizing you aren’t who you wanted to be.

At every part of your life, you’ve looked toward the future and said, “That’ll be me someday.” Some people even achieve those goals but most won’t.

Interestingly the idea of what we are going to be seems to be tied with turning 30. It’s not everyone but when people say, “When I grow up.” It’s around 30 that they are thinking or in the very least 30 is when we stop pushing the age back.

I’ve noticed a lot of friends being upset that they aren’t who or what or where they wanted to be. I understand. When I was 5 I wanted to be a taxi driver by now. When I was 10 I wanted to be Paleontologist by now. When I was 15 I wanted to be a robotic expert by now. When I was 20 I wanted to be a media theorist. When I was 25 I wanted to be alive.

Other than that last one, I haven’t really succeeded at becoming what I wanted to become.

It hurts, you feel like you haven’t accomplished enough. Seen enough of the world, or changed it enough.

You’re not alone

You know what?

It’s ok, if you aren’t where you thought you’d be.

It’s ok, if you’re not who you thought you’d be.

And it’s ok if you’re not who thought you were.

The important thing to remember is to Keep Moving Forward. (Yeah I just reference Disney. You got a problem?)

Don’t wallow in pity or fear. Analyze and mobilize yourself. Figure out what you like about yourself and concentrate on improving it, figure out what you hate about yourself and concentrate on accepting it. Talk to friends and family, or even a professional if you need to, it’s ok not to know.

I know what I want to be and where I want to be in ten years but it took me a while to figure it out.

Good luck!

Eric

* I started listing everything and it devolved into listing everything I like a lot. Here’s the partial list, I’m sure I’ve forgotten plenty of things.

Browncoat, Bronie, Trekkie, Gater, Whovian, Fiver, Scoobie, Whedonite, Nerd Fighter, Beard Lover, Fullerite, Supernatural fan, Superwholockian, Schlocker, Playgrounder, Phineas and Ferb fan, Weekender, Kim Possible Fan, Backie, Loki’s army, Baker Street Irregular, Potthead, Ringer, Amberite, Dresdenite, Gaimanite, Gamer, Goblin, Tortallan, Rush fan, David Usher Fan, Shakespeare lover, Robert Frost Fan, Reader, Minion, Disney fan, Stephen King Fan, Winter fan, Superhero fan, Android, Ubuntu, Gadgets,…

Identity Musings

“The soul’s made of stories, not atoms.” – The Doctor in The Rings of Akhaten

I’ve been thinking a lot about identity. Who we are, who we think we are, and who people think we are.

The Dissonance of Identity

It’s happened to all of us at one point. A friend or family member says something is “typical you” and it shocks you. “How could they think that?”

When my wife was younger, her family would by her cow themed presents. She says that once she mentioned that one cow was cute; her family swears that she loved cows. That’s a perfect example of the dissonance between who we think we are and who others think we are. “I don’t like cows” compared to “She loves cows.”

There’s a disconnect between what the three parts of yourself. I’m sure there are technical terms for it but I’ll just make it up. There’s the Self Identity, the Projected Identity, and the True Self.

Forget about the last one. By the time you have discovered and understood the True Self, you’ve already altered it.

The other two are important to understand, both in life and in fiction. A good villain thinks he’s the hero. Think about that… Go ahead I have time…

Yeah you could be the villain in someone else story. The truly depressing fact is, you have been at some point.

There are two ways to look at this, you either accept that it’s part of you or you deny the effect of other people’s opinions on your life.

I know I’ve done some stupid things and I’m not proud of everything but I am sorry.

To everyone who has seen me as the villain in their story: I’m sorry. (And thank you for reading my blog.)

Changing

When I was young, I hated green olives, or I thought I hated them. Then one day I decided to try one. Something had changed and suddenly my mouth was telling me I liked green olives.

As human beings we change and a lot of the time we don’t notice. This applies to everything in our lives. However our perception of ourselves doesn’t always change with us.

That’s what makes me still think of myself as an Improv player, despite the fact that I haven’t played in over a decade. The realization that you aren’t who you thought you were can painful.

Fandoms

Being a fan a decade or two ago was simple for me. I was a Trekkie. No doubt about it, no second guessing nothing. I built my identity, morals, and knowledge of story structure around the shows. From 1987 to 2002, I lived and breathed Star Trek.

If someone were to ask me the same thing now, I’d reply that I’m a Geek. It’s not that I love Star Trek any less, it’s that I have so many other Fandoms that I don’t have the time or energy to list them out.

There are fandoms that I’m not part of but still enjoy the source. I like Star Wars but I wouldn’t consider myself a Jedi, Warsy? Whatever they call themselves.

When I was about to go to high school, I was terrified to be placed in the wrong group. Television, books, and movies had trained me to think high school kids were sorted into categories. Boy was I shocked when I realized that it never happened. Sure there were cliques and groups but they weren’t categorized and the groups consistently shifted.

In a world that tells you, consistently, that you must be one thing, it’s hard to realize I’m not just one thing.

I will attempt to list all my fandoms at the end of the post. *

The Future

As confusing and as painful not knowing or being wrong about who you are is, it’s nowhere as devastating as realizing you aren’t who you wanted to be.

At every part of your life, you’ve looked toward the future and said, “That’ll be me someday.” Some people even achieve those goals but most won’t.

Interestingly the idea of what we are going to be seems to be tied with turning 30. It’s not everyone but when people say, “When I grow up.” It’s around 30 that they are thinking or in the very least 30 is when we stop pushing the age back.

I’ve noticed a lot of friends being upset that they aren’t who or what or where they wanted to be. I understand. When I was 5 I wanted to be a taxi driver by now. When I was 10 I wanted to be Paleontologist by now. When I was 15 I wanted to be a robotic expert by now. When I was 20 I wanted to be a media theorist. When I was 25 I wanted to be alive.

Other than that last one, I haven’t really succeeded at becoming what I wanted to become.

It hurts, you feel like you haven’t accomplished enough. Seen enough of the world, or changed it enough.

You’re not alone

You know what?

It’s ok, if you aren’t where you thought you’d be.

It’s ok, if you’re not who you thought you’d be.

And it’s ok if you’re not who thought you were.

The important thing to remember is to Keep Moving Forward. (Yeah I just reference Disney. You got a problem?)

Don’t wallow in pity or fear. Analyze and mobilize yourself. Figure out what you like about yourself and concentrate on improving it, figure out what you hate about yourself and concentrate on accepting it. Talk to friends and family, or even a professional if you need to, it’s ok not to know.

I know what I want to be and where I want to be in ten years but it took me a while to figure it out.

Good luck!

Eric

* I started listing everything and it devolved into listing everything I like a lot. Here’s the partial list, I’m sure I’ve forgotten plenty of things.

Browncoat, Bronie, Trekkie, Gater, Whovian, Fiver, Scoobie, Whedonite, Nerd Fighter, Beard Lover, Fullerite, Supernatural fan, Superwholockian, Schlocker, Playgrounder, Phineas and Ferb fan, Weekender, Kim Possible Fan, Backie, Loki’s army, Baker Street Irregular, Potthead, Ringer, Amberite, Dresdenite, Gaimanite, Gamer, Goblin, Tortallan, Rush fan, David Usher Fan, Shakespeare lover, Robert Frost Fan, Reader, Minion, Disney fan, Stephen King Fan, Winter fan, Superhero fan, Android, Ubuntu, Gadgets,…