“How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
Stol’n on his wings my three-and-twentieth year!
My hastings days fly on with full career,
But my late spring no bud or blossom shew’th.”
The above excerpt is an excerpt from English poet John Milton’s “How soon Hath
Time.” In this beautiful poem, Milton poetically explores the effervescence and joy which
is synonymous to the vivacious age of youth, yet he juxtaposes this optimistic ideal with
sombre ruminations in exploring that youth “hath been stolen.” Milton implies that the
age of youth, while beautiful and perfect in many facets, is quick and short lived(stolen by
the time thief if you will). Milton languidly makes known that after youth “no bud or
blossom shew’th,” implicating that old age, with no blossoming or blooming(decline in
other words), is rather dismally just around the corner.
The poets and writers of ages past, have idealized the age of youth. They sought to
explore its perfections and beauties. We, young ladies, are living through the blossoms
and perfections of youth. Although the global pandemic has seemingly overshadowed the
grandeur of our youth, we still have energy, time, ambition, and idealism--we can hardly
wait to take the world by storm and influence it in a positive light.
Alarmingly however, a recent statistic by Alcon Canada found that Canadian youth
are reporting an average of 11 hours per day looking at screens, mostly on social media,
such as instagram and snapchat.
In investing our lives into our technological devices, nearly half a day every
day(which averages to 105, 120 hours a year), we intentionally throw away our youth. In
this case, contrary to Milton’s idea, time doth not not steal youth, but technology does!
Technology is one of the best thiefs: perpetrating crimes on such a great scale and on such
an expansive population, while nobody is able to stop him! When has technology ever
suffered the consequences of its abominable crimes? The answer: never.
Increasingly, youth are losing the human connection in favour of man made
machines. Gone are the days of living authentically. Youth, along with the general
populace, aren’t challenging themselves to live life to its fullest; we don’t thirst or hunger
to experience the prosperity and dolefulness which come along with navigating through
life. We don’t follow the advice of inspirational teacher John Keating: “carpe diem. Seize
the day and make your lives extraordinary.” We are so supersaturated with online
shopping, virtual events, social media and technology, that we never take the time to live
like humans; rather we are thrust more and more deeply into the virtual realm. Such a
virtual life is not a real life, not fulfilling nor meaningful. Jocosely, it seems as if our
phones or our computers make up another appendage to our bodies(almost like another
hand or foot). We are losing our humanity and our youth to technology. Could you imagine
what you could be doing, how much life you could be living, during those 11 hours a day you
spend on screen? Those 105, 120 hours a year?
Rather than make everlasting memories with our families and friends which will
last us a lifetime, we decided to dedicate time to our phones, almost as if befriending our
technological devices. Honestly however, can we ever say that our phones ever tried to
befriend us back? Rather than savour the gentle caress of the wind breeze on a perfect spring day or the soothing whisper of the sun on our rosey cheeks as we watch it set past the verdant and rolling hills, we prefer looking down. On our phones. Rather than enjoying the fullness of nature’s wild beauty. Her epic sunsets, soaring mountains peaks or beauteous glistening rivers, we prefer to live in a virtual world where the beauty which is presented to us is either false or greatly manipulated. Adolescents should take advantage of their youth, of their springtime, exploring unabashedly and curiously the magnanimous possibilities which present themselves in this golden age. Yet, they are unwilling to pursue such a sense of adventure because their phones offer a more comfortable and suitable alternative than the exciting realities of daily life.
Milton realistically revealed in his poetry that with every passing second, with
every passing moment, the clock ticks. The clock continually ticks. In many ways, it is our
enemy as it snatches precious moments of our life away from us. Do we really want to
give more power to our ominopent enemy in investing more of our time on our devices
which give us little to no benefit in return? Do we want to live to regret the youth we
missed out on because of our phones? Do we want to experience the woeful and
regrettable feeling in our old age that we didn’t do enough? I think not.
Gain the human connection. Live authentically. Live in the realm of reality. Not in
the realm of technology.