I recently watched The Hunger Games saga and remembered what it was like to be enthralled in that world. I read the books when I was in fourth grade, and I’ll never forget when I finished Mockingjay for the first time. I put my forehead against my school desk and stared down at the dusty blue cover, my eyes swelling with hot tears- but also a feeling of pride. Katniss was free, and she had chosen Peeta, my favorite.

The last lines of the book describe why she chose Peeta over Gale. She describes herself as a fire, and Gale too. Together, they’re the same. But Peeta, he is different. He’s the first dandelion of spring.

That line has stuck with me. The first dandelion of spring.

I used to be a huge reader. When I was a kid, I would read novels in one sitting. I would come home from school to read until dinner time, and then stay up sitting by my cracked open bedroom door to squeeze in a couple extra pages.

But it all changed when I got my first iPod and no longer wanted to read, but I wanted to play games and mess around on the internet. My childhood ended as soon as I got an Apple ID.

I would do anything to go back and never log on, never stop playing in the backyard and obsessing over characters. To sit on the couch with a plate of apples with peanut butter, my sticky fingers on the pages of the library books I would soon return.

It just hurts to see how technology has infiltrated my life, and my mind with it. I don’t feel like the same person I was then. Yes, I was also 10, but there is something so different about me now. So easily numbed. Technology is such a distraction, and I need it to stop.

I want to be free from the shackles of my phone, but I fear now that I’ll never escape.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I decided to read a book about parenting in the digital age. It was chock full of statistics and parenting technique, but what I read told me that I was on a one way track to misery, and I decided that I hated technology.

Did I do anything to change that? Of course not.

But now, as a sophomore in college, I beg myself to change these habits. Open a damn book, maybe someday delete TikTok, and find a hobby. This is a cycle I have to break, because I refuse to die and look back on a life of staring at screens, with my loved ones all around me.

College student, woman, master of sarcasm, occasional inhabitant of this brain. Nebraska. Washington.