When it’s 2015 and you get your first smartphone

or: On changing people and principles and what really defines a person.

I recently took down the sentence “I don’t own a smart phone“ from my About-page. It was true until April 2015.

I am generally not very good with phones. That is not a big problem in Germany, where I relied on the good old landline. But even there I got a lot of complaints because text messages could go unanswered for a week or longer because I just never opened my mobile phone.

Since in Kenya I don’t have a landline, a mobile phone is essential. My mobile phone is yet again unique, because it is so old that it is unable to show 2015 on its calendar. (I put it back to 1998, because the days and dates are the same.) It also doesn’t have ringtones, it only vibrates and sometimes even just blinks blue. You generally have to be a bit lucky if you want to reach me through my phone.

Then I started working on my entrepreneurial venture and figured that I will

  • one: spend more time in traffic jams going to town and back for meetings
  • two: spend more time on social media promoting my organisation

That is why I got my sister’s old smartphone. This gives me the opportunity to do emails and social media on the go, during the long commute to the city centre and back, and also some reading of other blogs and websites. Like that, I have more time at home and answers to emails or messages don’t get delayed.

When I started writing friends emails from my smart phone, it must have indicated it, because I got a lot of surprised replies: Laura, you? With a smartphone? Halleluiah, a miracle!

So a part of my claim to be an old soul, a traditionalist, consciously slow and mindful, unique and independent, not giving in to the “evil rush of technology”, all that went to pieces. It’s almost like a satisfaction for people to point their finger and say: See, you are finally giving in. You are not that strong and unique and standing for yourself as you always pretended!

But I realised that is not the point.

It doesn’t matter whether I have a smartphone or not. The point is to know what I am standing for and continue to live the way I want to live. It also depends on how I use it. I haven’t become less of an old soul, a traditionalist, consciously slow and mindful, unique and independent, just because I now own a smartphone.

People change and so do principles because time changes. Principles should not define people.

I may wear the same hat for years and be known for it, but only because I give it up one day doesn’t mean that I am now less of what I was standing for before. We tend to focus on superficialities, because they give us easy orientation.

But the true character of a person doesn’t lie in their accessories or principles. It lies in how people do their things.

What defines you? What are you standing for? And how to people perceive it? Let me know in the comments.

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