In today’s world if you forget your cell phone, you’re likely to panic. Good News Wants to Know… What was your life like before cell phones?
When I started my career thank goodness there were beepers and pay-phones. If you were calling back long distance, you had better have a pocket full of quarters and good eyes to spot a payphone as you drove down the street, and hopefully there was not too big a line to use the phone and it worked.
Don Campion, Founder/CEO, Banyan Air Service
Wow! Life before a cell phone…? I remember having a beeper during Chiropractic school in the ’90s. A patient would beep and the vibration spurred on an immediate search for the nearest phone. Land lines were the thing! My future husband and I created expensive long-distance phone bills calling back and forth from Connecticut to Georgia. One day Jeff sent me a flip phone in the mail and ever since, our phones have gotten sleeker and smarter.
Dr. Andrea Hazim, Founder and President, Elev8Life Educational Foundation
My life before cell phones was simple, but I was a child. I would go outside and play/hangout with my friends. I also remember when we used a home phone. Many times I couldn’t wait to get home from school and talk with my friends on the phone; however, the downfall was anyone could pick up another phone in the house and listen to the conversation.
Ariana Reid, Executive Director, Hope Women’s Centers
Ahh yes… life before cell phones, which should include life before email and text messaging as well. Early on we relied on our dad’s whistle, which could be heard a block away, or the mini cow bell that our mom used to call us home. There was uninterrupted conversation, eye to eye, which resulted in a clear communication of feelings and intentions. Communication had lulls which caused us to “pause and think” before we wrote or spoke in a response — a novel idea today. Yes, the pace was slower, the communication reflected more thoughtful, kind responses, and as a result, our relationships had the opportunity to grow deeper and in a more positive way.
William “Bill” C. Davell, Director, Tripp Scott Attorneys at Law
My first cell phone was in 1985, so my memories before that are fading. However, I do recall many times calling from a pay phone with little privacy. I now enjoy the privacy and the efficiency which comes with the cell phone.
Dr. William “Bill” Fleming, President, Palm Beach Atlantic University
My life was less scattered with not so many “dings.” The beeper world was the preliminary cell phone stress syndrome.
Bill Hobbs, Executive Director, Urban Youth Impact
My life was so sad before cell phones. I had a dumb beeper that did nothing but tell me someone was trying to reach me. #143. Before that I had nothing but a landline phone in my parent’s kitchen with a really long cord that wrapped around anything it touched. Cell phones are amazing, and they make us better human beings. The weather, my emails, my bank account, all my photos and Marlins baseball are all a quick glance away.
Bob Denison, President, Denison Yachting
Life was definitely more intentional before cell phones in that I had to be more relational and personal in my day to day life.
Charles Bender, founder/CEO, Place of Hope
Before cell phones, I got to think about things a lot more before we expressed ourselves on a subject. I could reflect on conversations and correspondence, thinking deeply about things versus now when an immediate response is what is demanded. Before cell phones gave us freedom to move outside of the office, I enjoyed certain boundaries between professional and personal lives that allowed me to escape, which I no longer enjoy. Before cell phones, the pace and demands of my life were slower and simpler and the amount of information was much more limited; now everyone, including me, seems to be hurrying through social media posts and floods of information with little time to consider what the LORD would have my response to be. Before cell phones, there were a lot fewer interruptions into my life. The urgency of a ringing, dinging, vibrating cell phone that DEMANDS to be answered and looked at and responded to interferes with some really important things that should command and keep my attention, and I guess that sums it up best: before cell phones, what was really important was easier to discern. Work-life balance was much easier to maintain before cell phones, and I had a cell phone in my car when that was the only place you could get them, next carried a brick, then a Blackberry, and now I have an iPhone.
It’s hard to remember what it was like before them, but thanks for reminding me!
Collins Forman, Jr., P.A.
One time it would have been great to have had a cell phone was when I had only three days to drive from Florida to Idaho to start a new job as a High School teacher. My car broke down in the desert, which necessitated my having to hitch hike about 60 miles to the nearest town with my Labrador Retriever between the trucker and me. In town, it took some time to locate enough change so I could use a phone booth to call various towing services until I was able to find one that was willing to go with me out to my car. I had to drive through the night the last night to make it in time for the first day of school!
Deborah Cusick, FAU Campus Volunteer, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship
More peaceful, less stressful and simpler.
Gita Santangelo, community prayer partner
More peaceful. Less hectic.
JoAnne Larson Daudt, P.A.
Remember the phones on the wall? I remember having to dial in to get voicemail messages. And I had a cute “phone book” with everyone’s contact info. Before cell phones I had maps! So many conveniences with cell phones now, but worry they are becoming another appendage.
Karen Granger, Community Relations Director, 4KIDS Palm Beach
I think life was much simpler and more relational. To connect with someone you needed to have a conversation. Embracing and using technology and innovation for good is important, but it’s also important to be aware of some of the bad habits it could create.
Kevin Enders, 4KIDS President
My life before cell phones I remember was not as complex. We were not tied to our phones and social media. Even though we talk now, it was more of a conversation, and we listened more than we spoke. It was not just a text. There was a connection. Unfortunately, today we are not connecting as we once did. Today we are connected to the world, but not one another.
Dr. Mary Drabik, President, South Florida Bible College
Life before cellphones was more inconvenient but less stressful. You could actually enjoy a movie or coffee with friends or a fun day at the beach without a steady barrage of text messages, Facebook updates on Doris and Marty enjoying a Slurpee at the 7 – 11, and an unspoken expectation from the world that you are available 24/7 to watch their cat videos. The words “Where have you been?” were limited to teenagers coming in late for curfew; now we get confronted with that question because, heaven forbid, we decided to turn the phone off for 30 minutes while we were on the treadmill at the gym. And no one ever missed a “turn only” signal at the light because the driver in the car in front of them was too focused on his phone to realize the light changed. The cell phone has turned into a never-ending distraction attaching us to a world of frenetic yet empty activities that we ignore at the peril of our relationships with friends, bosses, clients and family. In the end, it should be asked: were pay phones the key to a better quality of life?
Oksana Horton, Artistic Director, Revelation Ministries
Before cell phones my life was less stressful because most people did not expect you to call them back immediately. People realized that you would have to return home or to the office to listen to their message on the answering machine before returning their call.
O’Neal Dozier, Pastor, Worldwide Christian Center
I know most people would say that life was simpler without a cell phone; for me, that is not necessarily true. I used to carry around a black book to keep track of appointments, phone numbers and addresses; the cell phone has replaced that. Post-hurricane Andrew, trying to find my way around Miami without GPS or street signs was a nightmare. It would have been great to have a cell phone to guide my way.
Patricia Colangelo, EdS, Director of Operations Florida, Trinity International University
Before cell phones there were definitely four things distinctly different in my daily routine: 1) I was more apt to read my Bible than listen to a podcast, 2) I did all my phone calls from my home phone/land-line, 3) I did all my emails on my desktop at home, 4) I took all my photos on my 35mm camera and had the film developed at Walgreens…. Oddly enough, life seemed a little less “busy” back then.
Coach Rick Andreassen, Founder/President, SAINTS of Florida P.E. and SAINTS International Sports Ministry
While I love the connectivity, information and usefulness of cell phones today, I missed the impact of not having small computers we can carry around in our pockets. When I didn’t have a cell phone, I was forced to be present in the moment and with the people around me. These moments created deeper and more meaningful bonds, even if the number of people were less.
Robin Martin, Executive Director, Rebuilding Together Broward
Cell phones! Love/Hate relationship might sum it up best. Not sure I can recall life without them, but I do recall my wife wanting one for her birthday before I had one. Guess what, she got one first. It wasn’t the “brick phone” but it was a lot bigger than what we can’t live without now. Now that we have them, even though they keep us plugged in 24/7, I am not sure I would want to do life without one!
Romney C. Rogers, Managing Partner, Rogers Morris & Ziegler Llp
My life was a little less stressful. I didn’t feel the need to check in every five minutes, and I could spend hour after hour in the study carrel at TEDS library. If I needed to call someone, it cost me $00.25. I miss those days in some ways, but not when I am lost and need to use GPS.
Samuel Lamerson, PhD, Professor of New Testament, Knox Theological Seminary
Well, I had a chance to find that out about a month ago. The screen on my phone went dead, and I was not sure how much of my data would be retrievable. While waiting for my new phone, I was not able to get text messages. And, most people communicate via text. I decided that if someone wanted to reach me, they would have to call. After a week, I had over 50 messages. But, I was also free from social media for a week. I have to say, I do not want to go through that again. My question is, “How did we ever live without cell phones?”
Tewannah Aman, Executive Director, Broward County Right to Life
Lives were much simpler without cell phones! Not as crazy answering everything on a moment’s notice. It gave me more time to enjoy the present time as a treasure for the very thing I was doing at the time. iPhones are wonderful efficient tools for achieving purposeful goals, getting information, spreading the Word of God, and for keeping up on relationships; however, living without them wasn’t hard in the early days. Actually believe it or not the absence of constant phoning left us with days full of stress free joy and more time for creativity. Communication in “the day” was even more special perhaps as it did take more effort. Don’t get me wrong, I do love my iPhone and I get it that it is hard for some to imagine living without. Remember though for those who have never know life without one, you must never feel sorry for us back then in the no cell zone!
Virlee “Vee” Stepelton, Ministry Advocate