As 2017 comes to an end, we once again find ourselves further more invested in our precious technology than anything else. We find ourselves asking again and again who is really in charge, the machines or us. Then our phone buzzes, and our hands shoot to the phone like a wild west gunslinger only to find another pointless facebook notification that someone you have never met has liked a page you should never have liked.

Gone are the days in which parents would play with their children, raise their children and at some point, actually know their child. We have replaced the real world with a chemical utopia, one almost impossible to escape.

Look around in Mabee and the groups of friends sitting next to each other. Often times they will camp on their iPhones with their friends right in front of them. Escaping from our chemical utopias is a very hard task. Often times we fail to escape from the utopia for weeks at a time. Due to the nature of modern life, it is difficult to escape, and for the most part we don’t seek escape.

The electronic world is the new world, and the old world is going to waste over it. Most of us will spend every year after we graduate staring at a computer screen, and the only difference for most of us will be screen’s contents. We will spend our time at work and at play staring into these machines.

Our generation sits at an interesting point in time. We have seen technology go from being a workplace tool to a weapon that controls our every being and existence. Over the past 20 years, technology has gone from being a TV in the living room and a family computer in the office to every member of the family owning devices. It’s gone from servant to master rather too quickly for my liking, and there is nothing we can do about this. Technology rolls on with little regard for tradition.

For a split second of time two weeks ago, a group of friends, strangers and myself managed to escape from our chemical prisons. Saturdays are for the boys and Sunday nights are for the slow pitch softball. I put together of group of friends to play on an intramural slow pitch softball team. I had a blast, but I should have checked to see if any of them had swung a bat before.

This specific Sunday was different. When it came time for my team to play, we were told the other team wasn’t showing up and had to chosen to forfeit. Often times when this happens, you simply go back to your dorms and continue to procrastinate whatever you were already procrastinating, but my team chose to procrastinate from the field instead. We chose to do an inter-squad scrimmage and went around the intramural fields asking if anyone wanted to join in the game.

It was as if we were back on the playground for recess in grade school. Suddenly, we had a group of 20 seemingly random kids all actually playing, something most of us haven’t done since we got our first electronic device. For a brief 40 minutes, the chemical utopia was left behind and we were actually humans. The game ended in a walk off grand slam after some severe dorm room lawyering from one side, but it wasn’t so much the score that mattered. It was the experience of escape and a brief childhood reborn.

It’s important to keep in perspective: technology isn’t evil. But one could argue the way we abuse it is similar to a drug. Take sometime this holiday season and put your phone away. The people around you during the holidays won’t always be there, and even if you wait until next year, they will be a little different.

Take time and remember that the world around you can be just as fulfilling and exciting as the one you hold in your hand. Merry Christmas.