It's not that technology is taking over our lives. It's that technology is life. How will we ever hail cabs, stay in touch with friends or instantly find out the name of that actor in that movie without our pocket-sized computers?
But the negative effects of this hyper-connectivity have started to reveal themselves. Take smartphone addiction, for example. If you feel like you check your phone far too often, you're not alone. (This former Google designer has a simple solution if you're looking for one.)
There's yet another way to reduce our dependence on our technology overlords: Re-discover the joy of analog. Collecting vinyl records is more popular than ever. So are handwritten to-do lists and bullet journaling.
And more people are picking up nostalgic toys that take them back to simpler times. One of the hottest toys right now? The Rubik's Cube. Last year was its biggest year in retail sales since the Rubik's craze of the '80s, a spokesperson for the company said. Rubik's Cube retail sales figures were $250 million in 2017. It's a 45 percent increase from the previous year.
Like most trends, there's not one single reason why everyone's going crazy for Rubik's Cubes right now. It's more of a convergence of trends, mixed with the right timing, plus a dash of we're-not-really-sure-why-this-is-happening-but-it-is.
Remember fidget spinners? While the world has quickly moved on, the demand for fidget toys lingers. As we become increasingly obsessed with maximizing our productivity at work and chaining ourselves to our standing desks, desktop fidget toys are an obvious outlet.
The 3-dimensional Rubik's Cube is also associated with geeky engineers and coders, one of the so-hot-right now jobs. Software developer recently beat out dentist (which had held the top position for years) for the best job in America according to U.S. News & World Report. Rubik's Cube has wisely leaned into their superfan audience by hosting speedcubing events around the world. (Fun fact: When Erno Rubik invented the cube in 1974, it took him over a month to solve it. The current world record holder Max Park solved it in 6.85 seconds in 2017.)
Celebrities are getting in on the Rubik's Cube craze, too. Earlier this year one made an appearance in a Taylor Swift music video.
Plus, it's affordable. The $11.99 price tag sure beats a $299.99 Ninetendo Switch.
Lastly, the nostalgic pull of Rubik's Cube can't be denied. Getting to the next level of Candy Crush will never beat the sweet satisfaction you get from solving a Rubik's Cube.
In this era of digital overwhelm, there's something to be said for simple, timeless toys.