How To Be Happy - Throw Your Phone In The River...

Saturday was a truly lovely day. The sun shone, the birds sang and soared in the sky above and the very best bit of all was that Son didn't have to go to school. So, with a song in our hearts, a spring in our steps and a dog by our sides, we set off to watch some of Son's rowing friends competing in the Wallingford Long Distance Sculls.

Walking by the Thames is, I must admit, one of my favourite things. I've taken part in 100km and 50km races along it, I've boated on it, picnicked by it, paddled in it and thanks to Son's love of rowing, I spent a lot of time near it. These things make me happy.

Or so I thought until I threw my phone into my beloved river.

The river, minutes before phone loss - screenshot from Instagram!

The river, minutes before phone loss - screenshot from Instagram!

Yes, you read that right. I have the distinctly dubious honour of having done just that. In my well intentioned gesticulations to a rower who was heading off course around a tricky bend, my phone flew from my hand and plopped ignominiously into the deep water. With a few frankly pathetic bubbles and within a few seconds, it was lost from sight.

Some prodding around in the water with a very long stick and tentative investigations of the bank confirmed the fact that there was no hope and the phone was indeed lost.

R.I.P. Phone.

But I have to say that since that moment, I've been happy. Happier, more peaceful and a whole load more productive than I have been in months with the apparently 'useful tech' by my side. I've been completely 'in the moment', I've got things done, I've had proper downtime and overall, my life has been way happier.

Yes, I've still had a nice and comfortable Mac sitting on my desk so I've not been totally cut-off but my dramatic ditching of said iPhone has made me realise just how much time I waste faffing around with crappy apps, checking things that really don't need checking and generally wasting huge chunks my life staring at a tiny screen when the big wide world is out there passing me by.

This shouldn't come as a surprise of course. I've read endless features listing the benefits of 'screen free time' but I've never thought they applied to me. I've always thought that it's Son who needs to learn how to manage his screen time, not me. I'm a responsible adult who can be totally in control and besides, it's really important that I check the weather/the TV schedule/Twitter/Instagram/Ocado/Teamer on a regular basis and why shouldn't I play a game or two when I get a free moment?

The answer of course is that there's no reason why I shouldn't do those things but my goodness, how all of that crap has been sucking my time away. In an effort to be more organised, more efficient and more productive, I've been less so.

The last few days have made me realise how I've let my life be run by something that absolutely doesn't give a monkeys about me. My phone doesn't want me to ask it about its day, my phone's face doesn't light up when I give it a hug or offer to play a game with it. My phone doesn't give a hoot if I'm relaxed, happy, calm, loving or useful in any way.

In short, my phone was a bit of a shit.

Don't get me wrong, phones can be useful but let's be honest, they're in no way essential. Yes, I'm sad to have lost some photos but those moments still happened and actually, if I'd not been taking the flipping photo at the time, my memory of that moment that I so desperately wanted to capture would probably be all the clearer. So more fool me.

My happy time over the last few days has been free from bongs, bings, flashing screens and endless alerts. Instead, it's been full of better moments where the world outside hasn't been allowed to intrude at will. Yes, I've checked up on things but without the phone continually tethered to my side, craving attention like a needy two-year old, it's all been on my terms instead and that's been rather wonderful.

So, when the new phone arrives tomorrow, will I re-install all the apps I had before? Will I be able to resist?

I hope so because as unexpected cold turkey goes, the last few days have been bloody brilliant.