Youth is Wasted on Youth

Hello y’all! Did you miss me?

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last wrote a blog post. I’ve just been so busy! I recently went on vacation last week, and I have lots to share. In fact, there’s so many things I want to blog about, I have no idea where to start.

I suppose I’ll share some of the stories from my vacation. I’ll do a general “vacation scrapbook” type blog soon, but there’s a particular story from my vacation that provoked some thought out of me.

Today’s generation they say, is increasingly addicting to cell phones and “me” culture. As a teenager in this society, I can say that it’s true. I’m guilty of it. My friends are guilty of it. Literally everyone living in the 21st century has been guilty of this at some point in their lives, some more than others, other’s subconsciously. But that’s not the issue here.

I don’t write this to be hypocritical, but rather in sadness over where our society has been headed on this train ride that chugs along at full speed, even though we have no idea where our final destination is.

I’m saddened by the amount of time we spend glued to phones, laptops, iPads, you name it.

This summer, I’ve had the pleasure of working at a tutoring camp. Every day, the kids have 3 break times, similar to school: snack, lunch, snack.

Usually during lunch time, and occasionally during snacks, we have a “free/play time” for the kids to take a break from story reading and worksheets. The tutoring centre has lots of toys, like jump ropes, hoola hoops, you name it. (Though personally, the centre lacks a skip-it, which was my childhood). However, at least 40% of the kids AREN’T PLAYING WITH THE FREE TOYS.

Instead, they bring their iPads and play Minecraft with each other, even though they’re sitting right beside each other.

This left me flummoxed to say the least. These kids are young! Maybe 4-9 years old. They’re big balls of energy that could run and play and laugh and sweat and enjoy everything life has to offer without worry… Yet they sit inside playing on an iPad.

Now, I’m quite young too, and I can admit that in my middle school years and even now, I’m totally guilty of doing nothing but reading internet fiction all day lying in bed, but it disheartens me that this kind of behaviour is so incredibly normal now.

Flash forward to my vacation. I went to St. Thomas, part of the US Virgin Islands. It took over 4 hours in a plane, but here I was. I went with my family for a late night swim. The sky was a dark navy, speckled with a battalion of stars.

St. Thomas is super hilly, and the little houses dotted the mountain top in a beautiful constellation of light. It’s a breathtaking view. I advise you all to see it in your life.

However, I know there are a few people who missed the view.

While I was swimming, I couldn’t help but notice two teenage girls sitting at the poolside. They were in their early-mid teens, I’d say maybe 14, 15, or 16? I was shocked to see that instead of soaking in the beautiful world around them, they had their heads down, staring at their phones.

I was totally tempted to swim up to them and tell them to look up! Because the world is so beautiful, and it’s not every day you’re somewhere so mesmerizing! Here I was, looking at the beauty of the world we live in, swimming in a warm, Caribbean sun heated pool, yet twitter and instagram were more important.

Later, I thought they were going to come in, after they finally shed their outer clothing to reveal pretty looking swimsuits. But instead, one of the girls got the other to take lots of pictures of her in her swimsuit, then sat down and began to edit a bunch of the pictures for instagram.

Suddenly, it felt like social media was so plastic and small. What good is an instagram moment beside a poolside if you never went in the pool? If you never even looked up to take in at the world around you? Social media was created to share the beauty of life and experiences. Yet here we are posting and posting with our insatiable hunger for likes and attention. We’re no longer experiencing what our pictures lead others to believe we are.

It’s none of my business as to what those two girls want to do with their time. It’s not up to me to tell them what should be a priority. I’m not them. I don’t know them. But it was a sad reminder that we live in such a ‘picture-perfect’ society. We get the pictures, and the likes, the attention, the followers… But what do we lose?

We lose life. We lose precious time we’ll never get back.

Youth today waste away posting on instagram, tweeting about breakfast, tumblr blogging pictures of cake, when we are in the prime time of our life to go out and do things that will seem impossible when we’re older.

They say that youth is wasted on youth, and it’s sad to see that the sentiment is true.

I want to start experiencing. I want to live without looking through a snapchat lens. 10 fleeting seconds mean nothing compared to a lifetime of memories stored in my brain. I want to look back on life and remember experiences, not the number of people who double tapped on my pictures.

But it’s not that easy. I know it isn’t. And despite saying all these things, I still check my likes, I still check my followers, I still snapchat. It’s a matter of moderation; and I want to learn how to balance.

How about you? What do you think about this whole “social media” culture? I’d love to get to know!

– Carole