By Emily Wei, Lifestyle Columnist
In a world filled with growing technological advances and seemingly new discoveries on a daily basis, we can often forget what it is like to go back to our roots. As a member of Generation Z myself, I was entered into a world full of invisible algorithms that can be performed within a matter of seconds and an international database that makes anything you want to know available at your fingertips. I mean, think about it, when was the last time you willingly picked up a book instead of scrolling aimlessly through your phone. If the answer is recently, then good for you! However, for the vast majority of us that cannot say the same, fret not for you surely are not alone and hopefully you will be able to take something away from this column!
First of all, let’s look at the history of paper itself. The word, “paper”, comes from the papyrus plant in Egypt. Ancient Egyptians would remove the fibrous layers of papyrus and mesh them together to ultimately form a solid sheet that could be written on.
Meanwhile, happening a continent away in China, paper was being made through mashing together mulberry bark, hemp, and rags with water. Any excess liquid was pressed out and then the sheet of paper was hung in the sun to dry. It is common knowledge that our paper now comes from wood but without these historical discoveries, we would not be remotely close to the civilization we have today.
Next, let’s look at newspapers. The history of newspapers spans back all the way to 59 BCE in Ancient Rome. Newspapers have always been a convenient yet fun way to share news with the community. These sheets of paper have the ability to bring people together through stories and offer a form of documentation that cannot always be captured with technology. I predict that for most of you readers out there, once you read this paper it will most likely end up either in a corner of your kitchen counter somewhere or in the recycling. However, there are quite a few better ways to utilize these pages. This could include papier mache for the younger ones (or older ones since you can never outgrow some wet paper mixed with flour and water!). In addition to this, with the holidays coming up you might want to save the paper to make some ornaments with. All you need to do is find some clear Christmas ornaments and glue your favourite column to the inside and have a memento from this holiday season! Continuing with the holidays, I have always been a big fan of using newspapers as wrapping paper. Not only are you helping the environment but add a string or bow around the gift and it makes for great pictures! Lastly, you are never going to get this day, month, or even year back, so preserving your favourite papers or columns to look back on in the future is sure to guarantee some feelings of nostalgia.
Lastly, I wanted to add a quick snippet about books. There is something about picking up a good book and flipping through the pages and smelling the old book smell that gives you a feeling that no e-book can rival. I know most of us have associated reading with work but I assure you that it can be an enjoyable activity with the right mindset. I find that trying out different genres can be beneficial as I have found multiple of my favourite books through doing just this. Even poetry is worth a shot if you want to wind down a little! Also make sure to check out the various “free bookstores” around Halifax where all you have to do is leave a book and take a book from a small wooden box usually located on the sidewalk!
In a world where everything is constantly being made to go faster, be stronger, be smaller, and be smarter, small moments of solace can be found in going back to our origins, or in this case, paper.
Photo by Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/pages-on-an-opened-book-415071/