I remember simpler times.
I remember a time when I woke up every morning and didn’t immediately know what time it was. Sometimes, I looked at the clock on my nightstand. Sometimes, I didn’t. I just…woke up. That was my task for the first few minutes of the day. Wake up. Realize that it’s another day. Another day that would be good or bad, long or short, slow or fast, but another day that would be, above all, full of life. Not devices and tools and to-dos. Life.
There was no sleep app tracking how I’d slept that night, and I wasn’t freaking out about what it meant for my long-term health if the stats weren’t good. There was no wristband on my arm, showing me my heart rate and alarming me to the fact that I had taken zero steps thus far. There was no sleek glass screen, behind the gates of which lay an entire universe to get lost in. A universe of unanswered messages, scary events in places I’d never seen, and more distractions than both heaven and hell could offer.
I remember mornings without music. I brushed my teeth, took a shower, made my hair, and got dressed. I was so bored with my routine that, magically, I started thinking about the day ahead. What subjects did we have in school today? What topics would we discuss? What do I know about those already? And what questions do I have? Which of my friends would I see at recess? What stories did I want to tell them? By the time I left the house, I was lost in thought all the same. But I was invested in the day. Fully engaged in what’s to come. Excited about the opportunities I’d get, the people I’d meet.
Since I had no time machine in my pocket, I couldn’t spend my commute longing for the past or hoping for the future. I had no investment portfolio to refresh by the second, no Amazon wish list, no 2,500 photos to scroll through. I couldn’t reminisce about a girl’s profile pic on WhatsApp, wondering why her last message came 67 days ago. I couldn’t check Telegram, hoping for a piece of news that would give me an edge. I was just…there. Sitting. Taking a 45-minute bus ride that would’ve taken 15 by car, but loving it anyway because it gave me time to think or be with my friends.
I remember working without computers. I still have some of my school and college books. I remember poring over them, flicking, marking, running my finger across…