Last Monday was a holiday. Not a major holiday, but I am a government employee so I had the day off. The lovely thing about those holidays is that my nieces generally have those days off as well. It is one of my favorite kinds of days, both Niece #1 and #3 were over and just hanging out; no homework, no agenda [to be fair, we did have to take one of the dogs to the vet but that was a small task.]
The girls and I did a little fun shopping, had lunch and ended up spending the majority of the afternoon taking silly personality quizzes online. You know the kind- Which Disney Princess are you? [Belle], Which Hunger Games character are you? [Peeta], Which Pixar character are you? [half Dory, half Lightening McQueen.] You get the idea. Niece #1 on her iPod, Niece #3 on my Kindle and me on my iPhone. It was a complete and total waste of time, but I loved every second of it.
That afternoon got me thinking about the kind of things that I did like that when I was younger. I guess there was the monthly quiz in Seventeen magazine, which you always took with your friends. But, really there was no instant connection to my friends like this back then. So down the rabbit hole my thoughts went, about all the things that my nieces generation has and all the things that they will never understand about my own generation.
To give you a frame of reference, Niece #1 is a couple of weeks away from being 13 [sniff, tear] and Niece #3 is 11. They have never lived in a world without personal computers, microwaves or cell phones. Helmets have always been required when riding your bike. Seatbelts have never been an optional thing. [Please do not think that I am advocating not using a bike helmet or a seatbelt, I am just pointing out rules.]
They both know what cassettes and records are but have never used these archaic technology. They both have iPods. I was lucky to have a record player as a younger child and then got a mini boom box when I was a little older. They can get songs that they like from simply going to an online store and purchasing the song in about a minute. I help up that mini boom box to the TV during American Bandstand or recorded the radio during the Weekly Top 40 [Cheers to you Casey Kasem and Rick Dees.] All the while hoping that someone did not come into the room or the DJ did not talk over the intro to the song.
They will never know how exciting it was to get a letter in the mail. I am not bashing on e-mail [or texting for that matter], I love it. But the thrill of coming home from school and having a letter from my cousin or the pen pal from another country that I had been writing to is without explanation. That was awesome. The mail was like a potential surprise every day. I still love the mail every day, unfortunately now it has more bills and junk mail than good things. I do still get a letter from Ed’s elderly aunt from time to time, but that is just because she doesn’t have a computer. They are pretty lucky that they can Skype with their friends who moved across the country. That is some amazing technology. I would have probably exchanged letters for a while and eventually lost touch.
Everything in their world is instant. Microwaves heat or reheat their food in a couple minutes tops. The excitement of making popcorn in my dad’s air pop machine has been replaced by microwave popcorn. Cocoa takes a minute, instead of waiting for the water to boil on the stove top.
The concept of missing your friends over Christmas break is not really there. Sure, we had the phone but it was exciting to come back to school after two weeks off and ask what your friends got for Christmas. Now, they are texting as they are opening their presents.
Niece #1 has been doing more research as she is in Jr. High and papers are more prevalent an assignment. She has not true concept of doing research in the library. Of looking up the book in the physical card catalog and hoping it is there. Or using a microfiche to look for old newspaper articles. She laughed at her mom and I when we talked about that growing up. Personally, that was my favorite part. She still does research, but the internet is much more influential.
They don’t really understand the concept of writing a note to your friend in class. And the art of folding them in special ways. They text what they needs to say. I kept all of my high school letters for many years. Sure they were ridiculous records of walking by the boys my friends and I liked in the hall, or some drama that means nothing now. But they were momentos of my childhood. [Any of my high school friends that are reading this and worried about incriminating evidence, can rest assured that I burned the letters at least 20 years back. Your secrets are still safe with me.]
Don’t get me wrong, I love current technology. I am attached to my phone most of the day. I love being able to look up the actor in a show I am watching on IMDB to find out where else I know him from. The DVR is one of my favorite inventions ever. But sometimes it feels like there are parts of their childhood that are missing. Niece #1 had figured out my first iPhone and was making a call to her mom by the time that we left the store. I think that she was 8 or 9 at the time. It took me a few weeks to finally get it all down.
I am sure that there were things that I had in my childhood that my mom reflected on not having when she was younger. I am talking to you, rotary phone. I am not saying that I had to walk to school uphill in the snow every day. I turned out fine and have adapted to the ever-changing world. And someday, perhaps one of them will sit down and think about all the things that their kids or nieces/nephews have, that they didn’t. This is natural progression of technology. But it is nice to think back at all the things that made my childhood special.
So resolutions are half going well, and half sucking…. I clearly have blown the posting a blog weekly. Sorry about that, the last couple weeks were a little stressful. I may write more on that later. All is back to normal now but in the mean time I have blown the weekly goal of blogging.
I am not doing as great on the water drinking as I would like. It is a work in progress…
I have been reading more. I think that I have gotten through 4 or 5 books or novellas so far this year. So that is off to a good start.
And not that you care, but I have washed my face every single night since New Year’s Eve. So take that French women!
Well I will close on that note, turn off this new fangled computer device, and get to my normal life. I guess this reflections means that I am not too old but not young either. I can live with that.