I think that people, especially people whose interest in digital privacy and security is new make the mistake of thinking they need to go invisible. You can’t do that (realistically), and even if you wanted that, you couldn’t do it.
It’s apparent that this is likely how you currently feel based on your post:
Your phone connecting to cell towers when you don’t use airplane mode means that it’s hopeless and that there’s no use in pursuing privacy and security? I completely disagree.
I think that for most regular people, they first need to take care of basic security. That means securing their accounts, using a password manager, using strong 2FA methods. Your first goal shouldn’t be to become anonymous, it should be to make sure that a service you signed up for 11 years ago having a data breach doesn’t completely destroy your digital life. Much more reasonable, isn’t it?
Then, you want to cover the next thing - use devices which are up-to-date and not end-of-life. Don’t use a computer that still runs Windows 7. Don’t use a phone that hasn’t received firmware updates for 2.5 years. Are you doing that to become a ghost? No, you’re doing that so that you’re not susceptible to widely-known public vulnerabilities.
Once you’ve taken care of basic security, you can start looking towards privacy and what that means to you. This is where most people lose it, get overwhelmed and quit. You use Facebook, you use Instagram. Is all hope lost? Are you forever doomed because those services collect data on you? Is privacy dead? No. If you want to keep using those services, keep using them. Be aware of what that means, and deal with the fact that what you do within those services is not private. Does that mean that since you decide to use those services, you don’t want other aspects of your life to be private?
Say you’re using Google Drive for your work or school notes, does that mean that because you do that, it’s over? Not everything is equal - there are probably other notes that you would rather keep separate, and you should find a solution that keeps what you want to keep private… private.
Just because you want to use a system that allows you to make contactless payments doesn’t mean that you can’t and shouldn’t keep some things to yourself.