Last Wednesday, I took my iPhone away from myself.

I had felt pushed to get rid of my iPhone for months but there are a few reasons I kept it:

1. Because I “need” the GPS!
I tend to get lost. I do much better with a GPS in hand. But honestly, I drove for two years without a GPS. Getting lost was often a fun adventure that ended up just fine. I almost… missed… getting lost while driving. If it really got bad, I’d call someone who knew that area and they’d help me out. So finally I let go of that reason.

2. To appease my mother.
This one sounds a bit strange even to myself because my mom pays the phone bill. Or in other words, she pays an extra $360 a year so that I can use this device and have a data plan on it. But when I suggested that for my family’s financial situation, I would love to give it up – she became angry at me and demanded that we “talk” about it first. Which was usually her saying that I should keep it and it didn’t cost that much more (even though it did when I looked into it).

3. Because honestly, I liked it.
I really did love having a phone that never asked me to delete my messages. A phone that I could look up anything no matter where I was. I loved having unlimited usage. I loved that my to-do notes in evernote could be accessed anywhere and that I could go paperless and never lose important information in my time of need.

But when I found myself standing in front of the AT&T store on Wednesday afternoon, I knew what I had to do.

I was asked multiple times if I was “sure” I wanted to do this because I would not get my unlimited data plan back ever again. So I lied. I told them all “Yes, I am sure”. I didn’t really want to do it all that much.

When I got home, my brother accepted it and told me he would give me a few days to clean out my phone (for the record, he only gave me 24 hours). I transferred things to my iPad, my computer and YouTube before handing it over to him the next day. (Then I wondered why I have a Macbook and an iPad. But my realizations on why I feel alright keeping those and not the iPhone will be saved for another time.)

I have realized more things now that I don’t have it anymore. Not everyone has this problem with their smartphone perhaps, but I did.

1. I wasted a lot of time when I was with people.
Often times when I felt bored at all, I would refresh facebook or tumblr or twitter. I told myself that it only took a second or two but all those seconds added up. Instead of making new conversation with someone who I was with and not speaking a lot to, I checked my phone. I checked my e-mail. I refreshed anything I could get my hands on. Sometimes I just played with it. I really did nothing.
Now that I have an “old school” flip phone, the only thing I can “check” are my text messages. And what I have learned is that when I am alone and bored, I find myself texting people instead, seeing what they are up to and how they are doing. Having an iPhone, I was able to isolate myself from everyone without realizing it at all! Now I find myself much more desperate to talk to people instead of ignore them for no reason.

2. I am not good with being alone.
I thought that I had beat this goal of not needing to feel lonely when I am alone. But in reality, I just replaced people with a device. As I walked to my car from the beach, I felt a little anxiety at not being able to check my phone. I had some serous addiction issues.

3. I feel a lot less guilt for the phone bill.
I’m not guilt free because my mom is still paying the family plan. But I did save her $30 a month. She may be upset about it now but in the long run, she’ll feel some relief. My brother’s iPhone 4 still charges $45 a month (which is over $500 a year, just for a data plan) but at least I did what I could. If I get a job, I’d be a lot more willing to pay my part of the bill now too.

4. I’m starting to wonder why I have so many social networking sites.
It takes a lot of effort now to keep up with Tumblr, Facebook AND Twitter. I mean seriously?

All in all, I am beginning to accept the change. I have a long ways to go before I become a better person – this was only a starting point… not a conclusion.

“Technology is a good servant but a bad master” are words I thought I understood. But like an alcoholic or a drug addict, I did not realize the addiction until I let go of my drug (which in this case, was my iPhone).

Do people who sit there on their phones drive you nuts as well? Or are you (like me) one of those people?