today I simplified

I deleted phone numbers from my phone.

I did it kind of brutally. If we haven’t used the phone for our communication in over a year, the number got erased.

If I didn’t ever really like someone to begin with, the phone number got erased.

If I didn’t think I would be needing to call a person or business again, or if the number was easy enough to find if the need arises, the phone number got erased.

It’s a simple thing but it’s emotionally difficult. It’s akin to erasing people from my life – but they’re people who weren’t an active part of my phone life.

Some people who met criteria #1, but who are still dear friends got to stay. Friends who are patient and kind with a non-phoner like myself stayed snugly in their spot on my SIM card.

But from over 300 contacts, I’m down to about 80.

And I am liking the super-speedy scrolling that’s happening now, although now my memorized phoning rituals are all off, which is almost reason to not delete. Now if I want to call the Mountain Man, I have to look at my phone instead of hitting “L-down-down-down-down-call”.

(photo stolen from wirelessinfo.com)

It was physically easy and emotionally hard. But so much of simplifying can be that way. It seems so hard in the moment to let go of something I’ve been hanging on to, but I am on this ongoing quest to simplify the stuff and the noise out of my life.

Friends who were cherished in their time, but have moved on were being held on to for the memories. Old, now-disconnected phone numbers were still there. Friends who I haven’t spoken with in years (and have little in common with anymore) or people who I had a specific shared experience with (volunteering, especially) found themselves in my phone list. And it was lovely to have them all, until it got to be more like clutter and less like a relationship.

I gave myself permission to let them go. I remembered something about each one as I waited for my phone to process the deletion.

I wasn’t able to delete one number though, of loved ones who have been gone for years. Deleting that number is giving up too much. But the rest are gone, making more physical, emotional and mental space.

I no longer have to scroll past names and feel a pang of guilt for a lost friendship or a book I never returned or a memory that I think I owe them $20. I no longer have to scroll past a name and feel a twinge of anger over how I was treated by someone I don’t like, or wait, did they owe me $20? I don’t have old doctor’s offices and now-closed take-out places cluttering up my visual and mental space. It’s freeing.

I deleted the vast majority of my contacts. If you’re not there anymore, I’m sorry. We can still maintain our current relationship, which wasn’t on the phone anyhow. It may be nice to catch up, via email or facebook. Or we can write each other letters and postcards.

It is an easily overlooked area of clutter. But every time I needed to dial something quickly, it was near impossible to contain my frustration at the seemingly never-ending list of names and numbers. It was like a drawer stuffed to overflowing with menus for restaurants I never ate at, when all I wanted was to find the Paggliacci menu.

But no need to worry, even though Paggliacci doesn’t deliver to me, the number is still in my phone.


  1. I love this! (if I could only figure out how to even program numbers into my phone in the first place ... my system is more like, let's scroll throught the past 50 people who have called me and see if I recognize any of those numbers.)

  2. FIFTY PEOPLE HAVE CALLED YOU?!?!?! Way to make me feel like a loser, MOV. ;-)


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