Help I’m becoming a phone zombie

I held on to my old Nokia 3310 phone for ages, long after almost everyone I knew switched to smartphones. I swear that thing was like a Chuck Norris of phones – it survived a drop into a rain-filled gutter and the battery lasted for something like eight years. I was keeping it around partly out of fascination with its long life, even after most of the numbers on the keys became almost invisible from use. Plus, I have to admit, despite being generally easy-going I have a stubborn streak that randomly shows up here and there, so when somebody tells me that I just have to get a smartphone my impulse is to dig in the heels.

Anyways, eventually it spluttered and died, so I thought it was time to get myself a smartphone. I smugly picked myself an inexpensive plan, because, ha hah, I wasn’t going to be one of those people who can’t ride two floors down in a lift without whipping out their phones and burying their noses in their evil glow. Nope, I was only going to use it for calls and messages and only use internet when absolutely needed. Good plan.

Well I haven’t yet sunk so low as to get my phone out during a lunch with my Dad or something, but I really underestimated the powerful pull of having so much information and all my regular internet haunts so readily available. It’s insanely addictive. Waiting for a latte at my local cafe? Check the phone because obviously the two minutes of waiting are just too unbearable not to be filled. Too lazy to switch on the tablet at home? Reach for the phone instead. Phone began to replace my reading at night and I’d only half-watch the TV programs I was actually interested in because of the phone. Phone time instead of listening to music and people-watching on the train. Phone instead of morning news while eating my breakfast. Even extra payment for exceeding my plan is no major deterrent – what’s extra $10 per month after all?

This has to stop… so here are the rules: 1) Absolutely no phone in the bedroom, especially at night. 2) No phone on the train – it makes me feel motion sick anyway. 3) Checking the phone while sitting in a cafe by myself = fine. Checking the phone to fill in every single short gap in time = not ok. 4) No splitting between the phone and TV programs I’m genuinely interested in watching. It’s amazing how much more enjoyable they are if you give them your full attention instead of 30%.

With luck and willpower I shall avoid this fate:


The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell – Book Review

danish.jpgAnother I-moved-to-another-country book, this one by a London woman who moved to Denmark after her husband got offered a job with Lego – and rather than exchanging one capital city for another, they move to the “real” Denmark, a tiny town of 6,100 in the rural Jutland (the European peninsula part of Denmark). Unlike many other books of the similar sort, which are rather rambling in nature and simply concern themselves with the author’s experiences in a foreign country, this one has an actual focus: uncovering the secrets of Danish happiness.

Read more

Living Alone: Pros and Cons

I’ve been living in my one-bedroom apartment for a few months now, and a few hiccups aside (leaking shower, wardrobe that still stinks months after painting) it’s been mostly wonderful. It goes without saying though that, like anything, independence comes at a price.

The Good:

1. Personal space and freedom
This is where you’re supposed to say stuff like, yeah you can watch movies until 3am, walk around naked and eat ice-cream and pizza for dinner every day!! I can’t say I have much inclination to do any of these things to be honest; but it’s true, having a place all to yourself is awesome. Cook whatever you want, eat whenever you want, clean the house however often you want, listen to whatever music you want.

2. You can have your place looking just as you wish
I’m basically treating my apartment as a giant creative project, picking every single detail with the utmost consideration. I’m well aware that, if I end up living with a partner some time down the track, I’ll have to work on compromising and letting go of wanting every single thing to be just so. For now though, it’s great to have the freedom to create a living space without having to contend with anyone else’s tastes or possessions, and know that everything in my apartment is there because I want it to be there.

3. Feeding one person is easier
Sure I sometimes end up making classic single-person mistakes like buying too many greens that end up in a rubbish bin. But on the plus side, one person requires much less groceries and the meals made in bulk last longer. I’m quite content to eat the same leftovers for dinner for a few days, and if you spend an evening once in a while cooking up freezer-friendly food, your lunches are sorted for weeks to come.

The Bad:

1. It’s all on you
Mortgage, electricity, water, gas, council rates, body corporate fees, groceries, renovations, repairs. I’m lucky to have a great family who can loan me money and help with things if need be, but still there’s no one there to share these costs with me on a regular basis. Needless to say, my spending habits changed a lot and holidays to Europe will not resume for quite a while. No one to help out with the housework either. Washing the dishes is particularly annoying; you wouldn’t think that one person could generate much, and yet, in a short amout of time, there goes my entire supply of spoons and tea cups.

2. OCD
My particular obsessive behaviour has always been checking the cooktop, and it got much worse when I started living alone. Just before I moved in, I accidentally turned on the gas one day and only realised this when the smell got bad, so this made me even more paranoid. I have to tell myself that the gas is switched off and everything is fine so calm down and chill out for the love of god! at least a couple of times a day.

3. Company (lack of)
Being fairly introverted, this is not usually a problem. After a day in the busy studio at work I’m totally fine with being by myself for the rest of the night, and I get to see family and friends over the weekend. Still, I’m a kind of person who can disappear into their own head a bit too easily, and sometimes, after spending a few days at home, I can feel like I’ve retreated into myself too much. You need other people to remind you that it doesn’t all revolve around you and put your problems into perspective.