The rapid growth of technology has always surprised me. It seems like yesterday when iPods and cellphones were new, coveted items that few people possessed. Now, looking around, it seems that everyone, including some elementary students, have electronic devices. I happen to have a cellphone, laptop and iPod to call my own.
Every year, a new idea comes along and a new person implements it, a new device is born, and a new consumer purchases it. Society has evolved through the now easy access millions of people have to technology, causing a rapid change in the way we communicate.
Apps such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat have become the basic necessity for children as young as third grade to grandparents eager to learn about the new technology. Businesses are becoming dependent upon Skype and FaceTime, relying on meetings by Internet, rather than face-to-face encounters.
Instead of slowing us down, technology only seems to be speeding us along a rushed and hurried path. Gone is the time for breaks or evenings spent next to a crackling fire with a good book. Instead, the rare nights at home are punctuated with never-ending streams of text messages and the addiction Internet provides all, including those young enough to navigate Google.
As a member of the Durango High School class of 2013, it is hard to believe that, as high school students, our parents didnít have PCs, let alone MacBook Pros. It is absolutely shocking that their essays were handwritten or, if they were lucky, typed on that ancient device, the typewriter.
In fact, their basic means of communication included face-to-face conversations and real phone calls. Where we take five abbreviated words in a text message, they took five minutes of their day to talk and listen. It is this point where many find themselves sorely lacking.
The rapid pace of todayís society is simply astonishing. Everywhere you look, everyone is rushing to their destination or worrying about their next meeting. More people express the wish for more time every day: a wish that will never come true.
Instead, todayís society calls for the need to prioritize more than ever before. Finding time in the day to simply stop and breathe can become the most rewarding time of the day. The argument exists that time spent surfing the Web is relaxing and rewarding, but does it really do the trick?
Two summers ago, I attended a summer camp where we were challenged not to use technology in any form for the entirety of our stay. For me, the challenge would last a month. That meant a month of locking up my electronics and curbing my addiction to the Internet. Without a doubt, the experience was one of the best I have ever had.
I was able to step back and appreciate the little eccentricities of life that are swept away in the harried pace of normal life. For the first time, I needed to understand the art of conversation, and I needed to learn how to connect with people on more than just a superficial level. I learned that taking life one day at a time without the constant worries of tomorrow, and the weeks, months and years that come afterward is beneficial to body and mind.
Returning home, I realized I no longer needed the technology. I was able to control my addiction, and I began to prioritize life. Putting aside a time each day to process the events in life, read a book or simply listen to a friend became a routine, a habit, a lifestyle.
The magical wonder of technology hasnít worn off. Everyone, including me, covets the wondrous gadgets that consume our lives. New inventions and bigger, better products will emerge, as they always have. This is our new normal.
However, straying from the normalcy of society isnít a bad thing. Durango is full of places to see and things to do. So take a step back, slow down and exit the fast lane. Donít look to step back through the years to a simpler time, just look to find time; time to breathe, time to talk, time to listen. It works wonders.
Heather Schadt is the copy editor at El Diablo, the Durango High School student newspaper. She is the daughter of Jeff and Deedee Schadt.