I didn’t quit social media on purpose, though I’ve read plenty of stories about why taking a break might be a good idea. As a type-A person who is admittedly addicted to checking email and staying in the loop – not only when it comes to my friend circle but also with news related to my job as an editor – I brushed the idea aside. “I’ll try deleting Instagram the next time I go on vacation,” I lied to myself. The most tuned out I have ever been is on a recent trip to Disney World with my family, where I decided to give up clicking through every single Instagram Story at the top of my feed (like I usually do) mostly just to conserve battery life.
But when I lost my phone in the first East Coast snowstorm of the season, Instagram Stories quickly became a distant memory. There were blizzard-like conditions in Newark, NJ, and I was in an Uber trying to get to my boyfriend’s office so we could drive to Atlantic City for the weekend. The hotel room was booked, dinner reservations were secured at one of the hardest Italian restaurants to get into, and I had my outfits picked out. It was a done deal! I had to get to him. When traffic came to a standstill and my Uber driver got us into a jam, he suggested I gather my things and get out and run to Joey, who was just a few blocks away in his own car.
I carefully tucked away my purse into my duffel bag and slipped my phone into my pocket, knowing I’d need it to contact Joey when I got close. As I hopped out of the car, my phone must have fallen in the snow, and I didn’t realize it was gone until I heard someone shouting my name from across the street. In that moment, as I was soaking wet from the storm and coming to the realization that I had been sprinting through a dangerous area with no tracking device, all I cared about was getting to Joey. Screw the phone.
Once I was in Joey’s truck, we used Find My Friends to track my phone and found that someone had picked it up already. A few unanswered calls confirmed I was not getting it back. Knowing the type of person I am, and the fact that I stared at my screen more than I did him during the first few months of our relationship, Joey was probably shocked at how little I panicked. The weather was so bad, and we felt so overwhelmed and angry at our poor luck, that we tried to turn the car home and skip our mini vacation. But the only way traffic was moving was south, and it would take hours to travel north toward our apartment. We decided to head down the shore and make the best of our long weekend. The anticipation of four days without social media set in with every mile.
What I didn’t anticipate was how positive the experience would be; seriously, I ended up enjoying one of the best days of my life. Here are all the things that changed for the better in my case and the one thing I decided about my future relationship with my phone.