“Finding Simplicity in My Life,” by Robert Bennett

From the May 2018 issue of Friends Journal, The Student Voice Project 2018 on “What Are Quaker Values Anyway?”

robert-bennett

Finding Simplicity in My Life

As many people’s lives become more cluttered with events and activities, we become more and more reliant on physical items. I spend a large amount of time thinking about this during the summer. My family spends about a month on Southport Island in Maine. We stay in a cottage that my dad’s grandparents purchased during the Depression. It has electricity and running water, but we have no access to the Internet, and we are forced to spend time away from our electronics. As a result of this, we are kept away from the clutter caused by our digital lives.

I am rarely thrilled to put down my cell phone and spend time outside, but once I get over the initial shock of being separated from my electronics, I realize how much more we are able to take in when we aren’t looking at the world through a screen. It makes life simpler to only be interacting with people in person and be out of touch with everything that is happening everywhere except for what is right around you. It is hard not to enjoy the simple and straightforward life I am forced to live there; it is always a very refreshing month for me. I think a lot afterward about what I could do to change my day-to-day life to make it more similar to my time on Southport, but I find with school and other activities it is hard to live without many of the things that previously thought were essential. My parents grew up in a time when people were not consumed the way we are by portable electronics. I think about how they got on just fine without it all.

I have found that to reduce my usage, everyone around me would need to as well, and I think that is something that we can’t just do overnight. I love the simplicity of living without my phone, and will continue to look forward to that month every summer.

I feel that simplicity is a testimony that is not particularly clear as others. What is meant to be more simple? I find that my digital life is the most complicated part of my day-to-day life. This might not be true for everyone, but I think for the majority of people I know, especially people my age, it is a big, complicated aspect of their lives. This is easily the testimony I think of, and struggle to practice most in my life.

 Robert Bennett, Grade 9, Westtown School, member of Durham (Maine) Meeting

 

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