A Life with Fewer Walls

Robert - Dayton, Ohio
Entered on August 28, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

In this day in age where the common man’s cell phone can access and post worldwide information, play music videos, and contact civilization from almost anywhere in the world, it’s no wonder why we nearly kill ourselves trying to get hold of the latest iPhone. However, I believe that the electronic barrier that separates us from reality is like chocolate; a little bit for enjoyment once and a while is fine, but too much can be harmful. In the case of technology, it causes us to not only isolate ourselves, missing life’s great experiences, but also isolates us from social activity.

Being isolated from the real world can take away much of life’s joys. This past summer, I had the opportunity to go to Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico to go backpacking in the mountains for two weeks with some of my friends from Boy Scouts. After months of physical training and a year of saving my pennies, the departure date finally came. Listening to my iPod and texting through nearly the whole plane trip to Denver and van ride to Cimarron, we arrived at the Ranch before I knew it. I left all of my electronics in the renal van to avoid excess hiking weight and risk of breaking my precious barriers. After two weeks of amazing experiences, breathtaking views, and highly unusual food, we all were getting along better than ever and I enjoyed myself more than I ever have. When the time finally came to leave, we all hopped back into the van and talked and laughed about the funny stories and amazing experiences that we had. Driving through New Mexico, I saw mountains and mesas that I had not seen on the way, thanks to the barrier my iPod and cell phone provided, keeping me busy all the way. Flying home at night, I managed to spot several firework shows and baseball games through the clear night sky, while some of my friends decided to lunge back into their electronic barrier, not taking the time to enjoy this moment.

My first day back home from the ranch I began to realize how much technology has isolated everyone in modern society. Still weary from hiking 80 miles, I rode my bike to my workplace, the neighborhood pool, where I would be expected to lifeguard in a few minutes. When I climbed into my white throne, something irritated me that I had not noticed before. All the mothers with little children nearby were tanning, talking on their cell phone or arranging dates on their PDA organizer, failing to pay any attention at all to their child. Meanwhile, a group of middle-school girls sat in a circle in the grass, not talking together, but rather texting to other friends across town. During my rest period, I walked into our pool office hoping to make conversation, only to find the other two lifeguards playing handheld videogames and my manager playing solitaire on his laptop.

Being away from technology for two weeks has shown me what I truly believe; that is technology can create a strong barrier that blocks important and meaningful experiences in life isolates and us from society.