Posted in Freedom Friday

Off the Grid

A few weeks ago I got my first smart phone. Yeah, I know. Jack, where have you been? I’ve been living under a rock, and I liked it there. Actually, that’s not true. I had a phone in 2000 when our family was going through a life-changing event and I needed to be available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. But after a year, once the need had subsided, I retired the phone for a good thirteen years and lived off the grid. Today, things have changed again, and I’m in need to be available. Not my choice, yet I’m now fully connected with an iPhone 6.

Off the Grid
Off the Grid

This is Freedom Friday, and these are my thoughts about—well, I’m not sure. Keep reading.

I’m still trying to adjust to my phone. That sounds weird. How about if I say it this way—I’m attempting to figure out how all the options work. Remember, in 2000, all we had was voicemail, caller id and the phone itself.

Today, there’re notifications, sounds, data plans, voicemail, a camera, GPS, and much, much more. I’m not overwhelmed since I’ve had an iPod touch since 2010, so I know how touch screens work and all, Skype, messages, and everything else. I mean, I’m not a total dunce. It’s just—well, it’s just trying to get used to the fact that I’m a phone call, message or email away.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m making a big deal out of nothing.

What’s on my mind is I’ve been so far off the grid for so long that getting connected in such a way has left me to appreciate the solitude of my walks through the woods. I can still do that, however, I now carry the world with me in my pocket knowing at any moment a call can come through that could change the entire course of the day. I suppose it’s something to get used to. Yet, am I the only one who feels this? Perhaps living off the grid for such a long time has left me appreciating what I had.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Leave the phone at home. Unfortunately, I can’t do that. It defeats the reason why I had to get one.

The positive part about it all is that the phone has left an incredible impression on me by way of all the options I have to communicate when I’m away from home. I can skype, message, facetime, email, tweet, comment on wordpress, and comment and like on facebook. In that sense, I’m happy to say I’m having fun in that way. Besides all those awesome and cool features, I can play a few rounds of my favorite games (i.e. Bubble Witch 2 Saga, Candy Crush Soda Saga, and Card Shark Solitaire). Yeah, call me a kid at heart. I’ve always been young in thought.

Anyway, tell me your story. What was it like when you got your first phone? Was it all you’d expected? Do you enjoy always being accessible?


Have you had to adjust to a new phone, too?


Jack Flacco is an author and the founder of Looking to God Ministries, an organization dedicated to spreading the Word of God through outreach programs, literature and preaching.

13 thoughts on “Off the Grid

  1. How do you like this for of the grid…My first cell phone (not smart phone) I purchased in May of 2011 and still use or not use is more appropriate. The last time that I had the internet was March of 1999! I just got back online about 1 month ago in November 15 2014!!! The internet has changed so much it’s a culture shock to me. I still don’t know what half of all this tumbler and twitter stuff is? You know you don’t need any of this to live and be Happy! I am not entirely sure that I made the right decision to come back online again! In the last 15yrs I have cultivated my art skills,read many “real” books and taken notes on each of them. If I had the internet all this time, I really don’t think that I would have done any of this. I fear that the internet is one big Black Hole of a time waster and I am already getting sucked into it! I try to be creative with it working on my ( blog. What a adventure! By the way ur Zombie posts are pretty damn cool!———RJ

  2. I carry a mobile phone in case I have to make an emrgency call, eg car breaks down. Other than that I never answer it. I have proper cameras if I need to take a photograph of something. (I never take photos of car crashes, riots, people hanging off the sides of buildings or dogs water skiing.)

    My tablet can connect and when I find myself somewhere with free wi-fi I feel the temptation to use the internet even though I don’t want or need to use the internet. It’s there and it’s free. . . !

    Off the grid is achievable, but with so much mouth-watering must-have technological phantasmagoria most people can’t resist. One of these days someone will invent a camera that makes phone calls or a wristwatch that can access the net. Hang on, I think that last one might have been done.


  3. The weird thing for me about “always” being accessible is how few people actually try to contact me. It’s like…knowing they could reach me so easily makes it less of a priority because it can be done at any time. Dunno if that makes sense…

  4. Congrats on the smartphone! I love and hate them. Now work extends outside of work hours, everybody expects you to be all the time available, and I especially hate the manner that people break out their phones when in the company of others, like at a restaurant or wherever. BUT I love the ease of blogging, instagram, apps, the chance to google my daily quota of a billion questions. So, it’s a toss up I suppose.

  5. We’ve had mobile phones ever since those monster-sized clunkers came out that you plug into your car lighter in the early 1990’s and this year we finally broke down and got smart phones. BUT, we try to do everything we can to minimize their effect on our lives. It doesn’t sound like you can, which I’m sorry to hear, but when we go out, my husband’s phone stays in the car when we get out. Mine stays in my pocket but if it goes off? I’m not answering. If it’s important they’ll leave a message. If they don’t leave a message there is caller ID so I know who to call back.

    I think the psychological aspect of always being connected, at least for me, encourages a feeling of uncertainty, loneliness and maybe even a little fear if we find ourselves without the phone. Recently I found myself far from home without it and I felt untethered and just dangling out there, exposed. What if something happened? How would I contact my family? What if they need to contact me? It was disconcerting and I didn’t like it. I had to keep reminding myself that it’s only been within the last 20-30 years that we’ve been like this and before that humanity survived just fine.

  6. I got my first cell phone when I got my first car. My father insisted. It was similar in size and weight to a brick. It stayed in the car. Eventually I progressed to smaller and more portable. My first smart phone was last year. Phone smart, user stupid. I can turn it on and make phone calls, sort of.

  7. Ah, that is a hard thing, to be so connected, I think.

    I got my first cell phone when I was pregnant with Son the Younger. I found that I had started freaking out over stupid stuff (pregnancy brain) and needed to call for help for the most ridiculous things as I’d panic when driving and like that. So it was a good thing.

    I don’t, though, always appreciate being constantly available via all my networks. I confess. I tend to withdraw from the overload during the year at times. So I have a smartphone now, but I don’t have my email, twitter, Facebook, or Goodreads currently optioned on it. I can get calls and texts, but that’s about it. Oh, and my family can Facetime me. But they’re FAMILY. 🙂 This helps me not feel so overwhelmed.

    Being off the grid is lovely. I sometimes wonder how we managed before instant and constant availability – and I’m glad my loved ones can find me if they need me – but yeah. It’s grand to be able to tuck the world away and just be disconnected.

    A walk in the woods sounds perfect. Maybe I can do that during vacation, when I don’t have to worry about the school calling. 🙂

  8. I got my first phone back in 2002-2003 and it didn’t even have a camera. I didn’t even have text and it was fine. Then I moved up to the other stuff. Everything had a bizarre shock to it. People only communicate through text and get angry if you use the phone as a phone? The camera is the most important part? I still wonder how long it will be before the ‘phone’ part is totally removed from the device.

    If it makes you feel any better, my wife doesn’t have a smart phone. She has a regular cellphone. It works and she tends to forget to charge it or have it on her, so I think a smart phone would be wasted on her. That and she already does enough selfies with her digital camera.

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