Experience over iPads: Learning to cherish and live in the moment


Looking back on the winter as I bundle up inside my house on these cold days, I remember a variety of things: going to the Dominican Republic for New Years’, successfully making it through another year of my life, but most of all, Christmas. Christmas is a time I cherish, probably the most, of any holiday throughout the year, and every time it comes around, it is different, but ever the same. The traditions with my family, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents always remain the same: Christmas Eve with my Mom’s side, celebrating by opening gifts from “Santa” on Christmas morning and having a Christmas dinner with my four direct family members and me.

Christmas has always played a gigantic part of why I love the break from the end of the first semester to the beginning of the new year. It is a time I can de-stress from finals, not worry about grades, hang out with friends, wake up late, and spend time with those that I love. My family and I always know, whether consciously told or just through instinct, that Christmas is one of our favorite times of the year.

However, an abrupt new concept found its way into the sphere of Christmas celebrations for me this year: iPads. Whether or not I have the right to complain about such a petty matter, when my Christmas is filled with lots of love, food, a roof over my head and warmth all around me, the little blue screens of my fourth grade and six-year-old cousins struck me with such dumbfound that I somehow lay in awe.

“How about we put those iPads down?”

Gosh, I sounded like my grandparents, uncles, and aunts who would constantly goad me to get off my own device. Sure, I could have just ignored the blaring blueness of their tablets, but for some reason, I was frightfully bothered by their excess need for entertainment.

Back when I was their age at Christmas time (God, I sound very very old!), I didn’t have an iPad to entertain me. Heck, I didn’t get an iPhone until seventh grade! Christmas was a time where I rarely was entertained by something electronic, let alone a video game. It was a time when the entertainment itself WAS Christmas!

Now I understand that my little cousins didn’t mean to pester, bother, or irritate me in the slightest! It was not even them! The fact of the matter is that they didn’t know any better.

For me, this instance with the iPads was a realization for me: times have changed. Not only in the fact that I have grown older and more aware, but that this age is an age of enabling. From children ages 2 to 92, everyone seems to need constant movement and distraction in the need for entertainment.

For some reason, your grandpa or cousins aren’t good enough! An iPad, gadget, or device needs to substitute for human life.

The stare of my cousins’ eyes on their screen showed me that I need to start taking it ALL IN AGAIN! When I was six or seven, I cherished Christmas Eve and all it had to offer. Not for the new toys I got under the tree, not for the cookies I had to eat, but the real present was that I was able to spend time with the people I love, without fear of tomorrow, worries from yesterday and just BE.

So, if you want to waste the days away of the New Year or spend Christmas gaming or surfing the web, think about it: is it better to live here in the moment or prioritize the unnecessary? Entertain or engage? Sit out or get in?

I’m no perfect angel when it comes to enabling myself through electronics. I constantly flip to my phone or some other media whenever it seems I’m bored waiting for a friend or bored and in no need to hurry.

However much we try, this “blue hue” of distraction seems to impale us all: we are all guilty of it. But, we are all able to give a try and cherish the new and old traditions, and ever-changing facets of life, without letting it all pass by.

I’m going to work on challenging myself, whether it be at my next family event or even on a daily basis, to live more in the present, rather than in a blue haze from now on.