The Time Capsule

This is a response to “Hacking your way to a great work-life balance.”

Work-life balance is really important. Being able to disconnect from the stress of the workday and finding ways to relieve that stress are key factors that play a role in managing your mental health. In fact, one of the major stressors of our modern world is our phones. They have so much power over us and can strain our emotions more than we think. We put our entire lives in the palm of our hands and let our phones dictate so much how we feel on a daily basis.

To demonstrate how phones are so powerful in our lives, I want to share a personal story that happened to me recently.

I’ve been on the ultimate quest right now to detox my space and organize things better. I needed bins to store things so I thought I’d bounce over to my parent’s house and see if they had anything I could use because who wants to pay for things anyway?

While searching my closet for trash cans to use, I came across my old iPhone 7 with its bright pink phone case sitting on a shelf. The thing had been dead for years and hadn’t seen the light of day since 2017. We are now in 2023, that was 6 years ago. 6 years ago! I had come across another bin with an old charger and thought why not plug in the suction cup even though I know it probably won’t charge. When I plugged it in, the battery showed what it looked like to charge. I thought, There’s no way this thing could ever turn on. I continued my search for trash cans and returned to my phone a few minutes later.

When I clicked the home button, my lock screen lit up brightly and a picture of my ex and I on vacation appeared. I was in complete shock. I couldn’t believe the phone was still working. For the next 10 minutes I was overwhelmed by the amount of content I saw because I had never backed up my phone and couldn’t believe it was turned on. Everything was frozen in time. Messages between friends I didn’t talk to anymore, my old housemates group message, funny gifs between my ex and me, it was all there. I clicked on my photo album and saw photos I hadn’t seen in years.

You could say I started to spiral and all my emotions went wrong. In 2017, I was a junior at the University of Tennessee after transferring from a smaller, liberal arts school and embarking on a new journey. All I could think about as I stared at my phone was how much had happened between then and now. Much good had happened in the space in between, but also many hardships. I was wondering why my phone would suddenly start now when it hadn’t started for years.

I took my phone off the charger and kept searching everything I could in what felt like a time capsule of my life. My battery started draining and when I tried plugging the charger back in, the phone now couldn’t hold the charge.

Then, just like that, my phone broke off and everything was lost in black. I looked up and looked in the mirror, thinking about what had happened.

The summary of this story is simple. Phones have a powerful hold on our emotions and can transport us to another world. Even though they are great for staying in touch with people, showing us the way, playing music and more, they still have the power to rule our lives. Taking time away from your mobile device in this modern world is now more important than ever. So the next time you’re on a break from work and want to pass the time on your phone, think about what you can do to get a tech detox instead.

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