EDGEWATER, N.J. — Iris Tirri won’t go back to the way it used to be.
In the beginning, she felt strange not having her phone on her.
She felt disconnected from the world. Like she was the only one at a black-tie event in jeans.
Tirri almost like she was going through a breakup.
But now that it's been two months since she slid her iPhone shut for the last time, Tirri can’t see herself going back to how it was.
“In the beginning it was really hard and you would get a little sad because you feel so disconnected,” Tirri said from her one, old-school house phone in her living room.
“But now it’s peaceful.”
Having gone tech-free has brought Tirri closer to her family. The relationships that relied solely on texting have fallen by the wayside and the truer friendships have become more enriched.
“I used to text my mom something brief every day. Now we talk almost every day for 10 or 15 minutes and we actually have a nice conversation," she said.
“I feel closer with her now than I have for years.”
Going into the ordeal, Tirri knew she’d have to log onto Facebook at least once to help with an ongoing project she’d been involved in.
Tirri and a group of moms recently raised thousands of dollars to purchase guitars, which will be donated to the library for free classes in memory of a slain Edgewater girl.
She was okay with that, since it was for a good cause.
“But," she said, "before I knew it was two hours in, just catching up on other people’s lives."
“I can’t believe I had the time that I did to spend on social media or my phone.”
Sure, there are times when Tirri misses the conveniences and luxuries of technology — Pandora, her GPS and even her email.
But there are things she's happy to live without.
The guilt of forgetting to read group text messages, which never seem to lull, for example.
Hearing her phone buzz on the table while helping her daughter with homework.
And Tirri doesn’t miss wondering which one of her twin boys grabbed her phone and which body of water they chucked it in — a washing machine or a lake?
“It’s kind of like all of a sudden having your electricity cut off — you get down when the sun sets,” she said.
“But then you light a candle, or you light a fire. And everything is okay.”