I talked before about my battle with time anxiety and how I have managed this back into its box in recent years.
Today I experienced the same feeling, but it was not directly related to time. It was connected to my battery. To be more exact, I had rented a bike, and I was cycling around Beijing on what was a beautiful day. But when I took out my phone to take a photograph of the skyline, I noticed I had virtually no power left in my battery. I was flying on fumes, as they say. Oh, Shengus!! (slang for oh Shit!!)
My heart sank. What would happen to my bike rental as I had activated it using an app? How do I get into the shop I was heading to without my health app access? How do I pay for my purchase without power in my phone? So many questions and so much exposure to a bad situation.
Wow. This was a shock, and I realised at that moment just how reliant we are on our phones here in China. I obviously had a bit of an overreaction with my ‘what if scenarios’. But how I was feeling was how I was feeling at that time, no arguing with that. Not great and not thinking.
I felt real pressure to get back home as quickly as possible. I had not felt like this in a long time, and I could feel my temperature rising and sweat running down my back as my heartbeat took a sharp jump.
I had left my backup power pack in the apartment. That decision was a conscious choice because I was going to take it with me, but I left it because it was too bulky. I also had almost a full battery. But what I didn’t account for was my VPN running on the phone in the background and draining down my battery. Take a note for another day: switch off VPN.
I made the call and decided to skip the visit to the store. I took a sharp left turn and headed back to my apartment. It was just too risky to keep going, and it would have compounded how I was feeling. Without a phone in Beijing, your choices are limited. Although the weather was excellent and I could have walked back if all else had failed, I had lost the moment and needed the safety net of getting home.
I got back with seven percent left in my phone battery, and that was with the power saver mode switched on. It was a beautiful day, and it was also a very beautiful lesson.
Next time, I told myself, do not ‘forget’ your backup power pack. Stop, think about anxiety and make the right choice…
Go for the power, not the convenience.