The phone throwing thing started with coconut chips. I had been through a series of unfortunate events in Nepal two weeks prior.
And when I’m stressed, I cope with the help of sweets and wine. Since I’m in a holy town of India, there’s no wine. None. So that’s how I ended up on my bed at the yoga ashram, forlornly searching for a source of income and shoveling coconut chips into my mouth.
On this fateful day, I picked up the coconut chips bag by the wrong end because I was glued to my fervent Google searches and not paying attention. Thousands of small bits of dried coconut spilled like unicorn tears all over the computer, the floor, the bed. A moment later, I’d throw my phone out the window.
Before I go any further, I’ve got to tell you about why I was in possession of a brand new iPhone 7 in the first place.
Two weeks earlier in Nepal, I began an eight-day trek up to the base camp of the Annapurna mountain range by attempting to pee on the side of the trail. What I didn’t know yet is that one, there are actual toilets up the majority of the trail and squatting is completely unnecessary. Two, watch out for caravans of passing donkeys that can push you off the mountain. A caravan of donkeys inevitably interrupted me mid-pee, and to avoid falling to my death, I scrambled up on a rock so they may pass. All of this to say I left my phone behind on that very rock as I walked away, marveling about my unexpected donkey encounter. I rushed back about five minutes later, but the phone was gone.
It had already been a pretty bad day considering earlier that morning I found out my unemployment payments were over (no income!) and Donald Trump was elected President of the United States of America (unrelated events, but for me, both terrible scenarios). I sent a message to my phone from my travel mate’s, offering a reward of 20,000 rupees for the return of my device. No response.
I decided to forget about the whole thing and focus on having the time of my life climbing this mountain. So, over the next six days, we ascended to 4,130 meters. It was grueling and gorgeous and an incredible challenge of mind and body.
At the top, between dealing with the effects of accidentally drinking unfiltered water a couple of days before, I managed to come out of the bathroom long enough to marvel at the sun coming up behind the absolutely stunning Annapurna mountain range. My spirit felt like it was sparkling.
For those moments, I didn’t care that I was suffering from serious digestive issues, that my candidate lost, that I unexpectedly lost my income or that my stupid cell phone had gotten stolen. I was alive, on the top of a mountain, and life is really beautiful.
Back down in civilization, I allowed worry about my situation to creep back in. I made a rash decision to pony up an insane quantity of rupees that I couldn’t afford to buy the only legit iPhone I could find in Kathmandu. I still hadn’t found a job, and I wasn’t sure where I would go after India. The Trump thing also turned out not to be a hoax.
Fast forward two weeks: I’m in India and I’ve got a bed covered in coconut chips and anxiety. I gather up the quilt, flap it grandly over the railing of my second story balcony and see the gold glint against the backdrop of the Ganga River as my new phone sailed down among coconut flakes and smashed to the concrete below.
I already felt guilty for spending way too much on this damn phone, and now I’ve gone and, quite literally, thrown it out a window.
Sometimes we do really stupid things. We are careless with our stuff, don’t plan things well enough, make rash decisions and spend beyond our means. This isn’t the first time I’ve done it, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. But what is this life if we’re not here to learn something?
At that moment I was so tired of worrying. I was exhausted and frustrated and what’s the point of worrying anyway? So as I walked downstairs to collect my phone from the ground, I paused and resolved to just stop. Stop worrying and start surrendering to the flow of life.
Worrying (or not worrying) is within my control; whether stuff works out for me is not. So I shrugged and accepted that I had just carelessly destroyed my expensive device (stuff happens!) and I made the choice to believe that my financial situation would work itself out. I felt lighter, and even saw the comedy in the whole situation. I threw my own phone out the window! Life is so funny.
After this revelation in perspective, some unexpected things happened. The phone that fell two stories suffered no damage. In a strange twist of events I got the original phone back when the thief ransomed it to me for 50,000 rupees instead the 20,000 I had offered. I found a house sitting gig in Thailand where I could stay for free, and I got a freelance job online.
The only thing we truly control in life is how we approach it. Since I’ve made the choice to let life happen and stop worrying about everything, things have worked out for me in ways I never could have predicted. At very least, I’m having way more fun. All I had to do was throw my phone — and my illusions of control — out the window.