(Phone boxes spotted on my recent trip to London)
I am what you might call a “late adopter.”
I usually observe trends – fashion, tech or otherwise – for quite a while before jumping in. When leggings came back into vogue, it took me a year to buy a pair (and now I own five pairs and wear them all the time). I lurked on Twitter for months before joining, and now I tweet nearly every day. I read blogs long before I created one of my own—and now I’ve been posting semi-regularly for nine years.
The latest link in this pattern? I finally bought a smartphone—two and a half weeks ago.
Before I decided to make the leap, I’d been using an old “brick” phone inherited from my mom. (I only switched to that one when my ancient flip phone died a painful death.) I could talk, text, take photos and send them, but that was it. And mostly, I didn’t mind.
Especially after the hubs bought an iPhone a few years ago, I sometimes wished I could check my email, tweet, or navigate a new city with my phone. But I also harbored a sense of moral superiority over those folks who depend on their smartphones for everything. I didn’t want to turn into an automaton, staring vacantly into my phone as I commuted on the subway or walked down a city street. And I resented (still resent) the high price tags of the devices themselves and the data packages they offer.
So why did I cave? In a word: it was time.
I’d grown tired of fighting with my old phone when it dropped calls or refused to send messages. I craved the ease of checking email, the weather, Goodreads and other social networks on my phone. And as I planned an international trip, I wanted to be able to access the Internet and video-chat with the hubs while I was away.
I’m easing in slowly, still doing most of my emailing, tweeting and other online business on my laptop. I’ve already dropped my phone, cracked the screen and paid (way more than I’d have liked) to get it fixed. But I have joined Instagram (you can find me here, if you’re so inclined). I appreciated the ease of emailing, using FaceTime, etc., on the go while traveling abroad. I’m relishing the improved convenience while trying to be mindful of how, and how much, I use my sleek new iPhone. (I’ve named her Penelope, after the narrator of one of my favorite books.)
I keep thinking of Gretchen Rubin’s frequent reminder that technology is a good servant, but a bad master. As much as we alternately love and blame our devices, we are the ones responsible for their existence and their effect on our lives. As I hang out with Penelope (and learn to appreciate her), I’m trying to keep that in mind.
I know I’m late to the game here—but do you have a smartphone? How have you found it enhances—or otherwise affects—your daily life?