This I Believe

Jim - Fair Haven, New Jersey
Entered on April 22, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: carpe diem
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I believe that our world is moving too fast. In an age of computers, laptops, cellular phones, and email, virtually every person is available at any moment of the day. High school students jam pack their schedules with clubs, sports, volunteer work, jobs, and homework. Moms pick their children up from school while they are simultaneously driving with their left knee, sipping a cup of coffee (due to their lack of sleep) with their left hand, speaking frantically on a cell phone jammed between their ear and shoulder and flipping through their planner with their right hand. They’re doing all this while they have muffins cooking at home, with only the dog watching. Moms give a new meaning to multitasking.

Even on vacations, I see my Dad checking his Blackberry and conferring with his clients, constantly balancing work and vacation time. For me and thousands of other high school students it has become commonplace to eliminate “free time” simply because there is no room to accommodate it. When I’m relaxing, watching a movie for an hour or two, my mind subconsciously wanders from the movie to the scholarships that I need to be filling out or the English paper I still have yet to begin.

I believe that people today are missing the little things. I remember a time when I noticed new houses being built on my street or even my little sisters “growing up.” It seems that the games of “horse” and “around the world” have all but disappeared. I no longer take my sisters fishing, teach them how to shoot a foul shot, or dribble through their legs. Instead my “free time” with them has been relegated to correcting papers and quizzing them for tests. We live in an age where high school is the springboard for the rest of your life. Either you seize the opportunity and jump headfirst into your future or you stumble miserably off the diving board and land lost and in pain. That’s the mindset that most parents bestow upon their teen-aged children. We live in an age of restrictions and increasing regimentation. Girls and boys athletics have become increasingly competitive, to the point where parents are urging their children to choose a sport by the time their child hits double digits.

In a world of personal trainers, AAU sports teams, and SAT tutors, everyone in the world today is yearning to gain “that edge.” I believe that this edge that people yearn to attain has all but rendered “free time” obsolete. I can’t remember the last time I sat down with my sister and talked to her about how she was doing. I used to do that every week, now my conversations are reduced to “good job in your game tonight” and “what time do you need to be into school tomorrow?” It’s sad but maybe that edge that everyone is trying to gain is hopelessly thrusting people into lives of toil, leaving hardly any time to spend with family and friends. If we did this maybe there wouldn’t be so much hatred in the world and there would be more loving. There would be more communication and more understanding. This I Believe.