The last couple of days something has been seriously missing in my life. I’ve tried to fill the painful emptiness inside of me with food, yoga and I finally started reading that book. I spent quality time with myself. Then, because that didn’t work, I spent quality time with friends. If it wasn’t knowledge that I was seeking, then maybe my wishes were physical, I thought. The hours in the gym did not do to me what they use to do. I was confused. Yes, my family and friends from back may be far away, but were they really the cause of this burning desire of more satisfaction in my life?
It took my shrink less than a minute to find out what the issue was. “You’re lucky,” she told me. “Many people suffer from this mental disorder nowadays, but in your case it might not be hard to treat at all.”
Ever since I lost my phone a couple days ago, my quality of life has decreased significantly. I have lost many dear friends who thought I was too arrogant to respond to their invitations. The few moments that actually were still worth experiencing, I could not imbed in my memories (or share with the Internet) because I did not have my phone’s 5 GB camera with me. My only moment of social relief, when I was invited for a party off-campus on Facebook, did not last for long, because I wasn’t able to find the location without my phone’s useful GPS system. On the other hand, I did get to sleep in and miss class, because my phone also functions as my agenda and alarm clock.
“You can overcome your cell phone addiction, Doris. Losing your Nokia might have saved you. In a while you will actually start to enjoy life again, like I did when I was your age,” the shrink said.
The U.S.A. has approximately 280 million cell phones that are in use by circa 90 percent of the population. In the Netherlands, that number is even higher, because of multi-users such as my dad: The number of cell phones is about 1/5 higher than the population is. The cell phone addiction has become an epidemic, particularly among teenagers, and as an ex-junkie I see it as my duty to prevent you from going down the same road.
Does your full battery only last for one day? Do you use your phone in the restroom? Do you secretly check if you have missed calls or texts in class? Do you feel a brief moment of panic when you feel your pocket and you think your cell phone is gone?
I ask myself: Are people too available nowadays?
Doris ter Horst
Columnist Doris ter Horst can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org