Vishal Ostwal

I Write About Life

How to Get Back the Life Your Cellphone Took Away From You

Get rid of your cellphone

I woke up staring at the shiny screen that popped out notifications, I buried my head within futile applications, and unknowingly cut myself from the real world – that didn’t feel like a life.

Honestly, I regret it.

There’s something I’ve lost, and I don’t even know what

My cell phone sits in a corner. I use it less, and I’m glad about it. Proud, indeed.

I’ve never been a virtual fanatic, but there was a time when I used to feel like a cyborg and my cell phone was wired to me. Or at least it felt such. The moment I held my phone and started using it, the world blurred, and then disappeared.

I was suddenly with the celebrities sharing their outfits, people posting their breakfast, and my high-school friends giving me a glimpse of what they were doing … #bff #fun.

I watched.

That was interesting and fun. Years went by catapulting angry birds, tickling tom, laughing at memes, and tinkering with unnecessary stuff I didn’t even need.

Then I realized something.

While I was doing all this, my phone had bitten a chunk of my life. I can never have it back. All the beautiful time I was blessed with… gone. Now I’m left to wonder what just happened.

I try remembering days and years of my life, but feel blank

Sure, I remember some of those funny viral videos, uber-cool games, and revolutionary apps launched by tech giants – but that’s not what I’ve wanted to remember.

I feel betrayed.

Instead, I wanted to remember my family, the sunrise, stars, and peace within. I want to remember myself, really living. But I cannot. I try hard, but I feel helpless and give up. I let out a sigh and think “It’s gone. Move on.”

I lost. Technology won.

While I thought I was controlling my gadgets, it was the other way around. My gadgets were crumbling me.

There have been days when I’ve spent more time watching screen than the actual world. There have been days of rain when drops didn’t touch me because I closed myself in my room. And nights when stars were non-existent for me. While I was busy scrolling, the sun went down.

Now, I’m trying to get my life back

I’m trying to feel more like a human.

I still use tech, because I need to, but I’m attempting to not let it turn me into a slave. I’m ensuring it doesn’t run my day. And that’s because I want to feel alive.

I’m a minimalist at the soul. A simple human being picking up reasons to smile. I can’t afford to live like a robot. I don’t want to. It costs my soul. So I’m trying to get my share of life back.

  • I crack jokes even though I know memes can make people laugh. I do it in spite of having a pathetic sense of humor. I love it when people smile back. Cellphones are rude, they don’t.
  • I look people in the eye while talking, not at the cellphone. I know who’s more important. I know how bad it feels to compete for attention with a gadget.
  • In the morning, I don’t pounce on my cellphone to check notifications. Instead, I step out, look at the mild sky, admire the chirping hummingbirds, and sense the soothing coolness of the air. I begin my morning with myself.

My phone is going nowhere, but my life is slipping away. I’d rather keep my phone aside because I appreciate my existence. I decide to be grateful.

So I’m doing this

I don’t wish to advise you like your grandfather about what you should do. You’re grown up, and wise enough.

When technology controls you and starts taking over your life, it should be a concern. That’s when you should know it’s the time to reflect. You may face an irreparable loss and feel trapped inside a virtual world.

That sudden realization can be painful.

It happened to me.

I can’t grab my phone by its collar (it doesn’t have one) and yell “I want my life back!” Instead, I use it less. I find ways to break the trap I’m stuck in.

Sometimes I just know I’m caged, but I don’t want to be. I wish to break out and feel like I’m a human again. When I try to, it seems easy. So I’m trying.

Oh, and here’s how you can get back the life your cellphone took away from you

No big revelation here.

I can throw some sort of random advice at you, but for now, I want you to ask yourself how much you’re entrapped by your phone. Decide to get back the life your cellphone has snatched from you. Find a way.

Maybe, delete your social media profiles like John Saddington did. Or do what Jenna did. She completely got rid of her smartphone and says,”I’m glad to be back in the world again.”

Or just do what everyone else, including me, does. Take a few little steps, stumble and start again. Try – that’s what matters the most.


[…] and move your body a bit. I’ve been taking little steps like going for walk and spending lesser time with screens, and that seems to […]

Ryan Keiner says:

Hi Vishal,

A valiant post that I think many people would benefit from reading and reflecting on (myself included).

I am a believer that technology (phones) can be used as a tool to be more social and enhance your life. BUT there is definitely a fine line somewhere in there between enhancing life and taking away from life.

I strive to use my phone as little as possible; just a means of connection, but it demands attention. It’s so hard to ignore all the other things our phones can do to distract us from the world.

I think, at least my focus is, that we should move to use technology in a way that allows us to live fuller lives. Use technology to bridge connections that would otherwise be impossible, and strengthen relationships that would otherwise grow weak, but live your life outside of the screen.

Technology, and the use of it, should reflect who you are apart from it rather than living your life subject to technology.

Thanks for the post and opportunity to reflect on this.


Hey Ryan,

That’s a thoughtful comment.

I wouldn’t say technology is evil. Not at all. But it becomes a severe problem when it starts taking over our actual lives.

Thanks for stopping by.

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