Four Steps Forward, One Step Back

Elona - Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Entered on November 25, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

It was time to practice our writing. Sitting tall in our desks, the class was instructed to take out our writing notebooks and our fountain pens. This was nine years ago at school in Ukraine. Sure we had plenty of ballpoint pens, gel pens, and markers, but we had to practice with a writing instrument that was more classic, and more expressive.

Looking back, there was something I loved about writing with a fountain pen. When I pondered and asked myself why, I found that it was because of how it brought me back to my childhood. It was a classic and an old fashioned way of doing the task. Nowadays, the art of cursive writing and calligraphy is fading away; no one my age that I know of writes in cursive daily.

All the modern technology tends to complicate our lives. Programs like Microsoft Word become more intricate through the years. There are so many more features that it takes away from the entire objective and simplicity of writing a paper. Several times, when all I wanted to do was write a paper, I became stuck over a changing a setting, using the wrong tool, or struggling with formatting. It takes a great deal of time away and you think to yourself, “With all this time I have wasted trying to figure this out, I could have already been halfway done with the paper.” Recently, I came across an article that talked about how newer Microsoft programs were turning back to more simple and classic layouts similar to how they once were. The reality is that over time, we start to move away from the simplicity of it all. Everything from our cell phones to the basic computer programs we run everyday move us forward, but no matter how much technology moves forward, it always, in time, will move at least one little step back. We think back to the times when things were simpler and choose the simpler things over the more complicated ones. There is just something about simplicity and classics that we always revisit.

Albert Einstein once said that, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” In other words, it is possible to make things simple, but not all that easy. The first thing that came to my mind after reading Einstein’s quote was my eighth grade math class. My teacher would always drill my class about simplifying our equations and fractions, not because it would make it easier to solve the problem, but because it provided a simpler way of looking at it.

Although it might be boring to always do and have everything the simple way, it is important to maintain a balance. As they say “variety is the spice of life”. I know things can’t stay the same forever, but I believe that doing things in a simpler and classic way once in a while can provide a refreshing sense of order.