Look Up

The bell rings. A sea of bent heads flood the hallway. I call out to my friend, but she can’t hear me; just like so many others, she has tiny one-inch speakers blasting in her ears, forming her own mental world, her own bubble.

As I pass each person in the hallway, I hear a different song, as if briefly entering their mental space. Cranking rap, electronic K-Pop, mellow classical.

I sit down at my lunch table to be greeted by silence.Well, not complete silence — there is the sound of all the Tik Toks they’re watching. When we do talk, and silence inevitably approaches, their eyes avert back to the box, the blue glow illuminating their faces.

It seems as though we are losing the ability to fully live and interact with others. We are stumbling through life, not fully appreciating who and what is around us. We crave and need human interaction, yet somehow the posts on Instagram are more valuable to us than those right beyond the screen.

We have been given the beautiful ability to connect and interact with so many others across the world, to have our personal playlist follow us wherever we go, to have a plethora of information at our fingertips. It is beautiful, but these tools should not be allowed to rule us, to disconnect us from reality.

When you put your phone down, it may seem boring at first. The colorful displays and variety of sounds within that box will seem much more appealing. But over time, you begin to notice.

You notice how your friend covers their mouth out of shyness when they laugh, you notice the color of the person’s eyes in front of you. You notice the posters your teacher hung on the wall, the stain on the ceiling panel above you. You notice a beautiful day, the way the cool wind feels as it blows across your face, or a gloomy day with the pitter-patter of rain on the window.

Our life is short, and in the blink of an eye, our high school years will be over — years we will never get back. Choose to take control of your life, to fully live it. Life is too short to live it in a daze, vicariously through others. Living begins where the edge of the phone ends. All you have to do is look up.