Time Marches On

Jones girlsIs it just me, or is the world really changing so much faster than ever before?  It seems that as soon as I master a new technology, it becomes obsolete.  As soon as I learn the latest lingo, it is no longer used, and I barely have time to wrap my head around the latest tragedy in the news before it it is followed by another one, usually even more awful.  I really don’t want to be one of those old people who is always saying, “things were so much better back in my day,” but there are times when I really do feel that way.

My husband and I were eating dinner at a restaurant the other night, and I couldn’t help noticing the table of eight young women who were seated next to us.  (I admit, I am hopelessly nosy.)  They were all dressed up for a festive night out, but their table was eerily quiet, because each and every one of them was staring intently at her cell phone. Of course it was possible that they were all looking something up that had to do with their night out together, but they weren’t.  Craning my neck, I could see that two of them were scrolling down their Facebook news feeds and another was texting a friend.  (I told you I was nosy.)  And they all seemed to think that ignoring the people they were with and looking to their cell phones for entertainment was perfectly normal.

Living our lives on-line is the new normal for most people, even in my own family.  My daughter routinely posts photos of our family gatherings on Facebook, sometimes while they are still going on.  New parents post tons of pictures of their babies and children on social media, usually in good taste, but not always.  I can’t help thinking that the moms who put up the photos of their toddler on the potty are going to have some explaining to do someday.

But one way or another, I am most certainly not living in the world in which I was raised.  And there are times when I feel a bit overwhelmed by all the changes, and feel nostalgic for the “good old days.”  But then I remind myself that change is inevitable, no matter how quickly it comes, and that it’s not always a bad thing.

Families change significantly, with the older generations passing away and leaving us with only the precious memories of our time together.  But that is balanced as the family gains wonderful new members as people marry into it and new generations are born.  The latest technology may be challenging to keep up with, and only time will tell the true effects it has on individuals and society as we become ever more dependent on it and have less and less need to think for ourselves.  But the latest technology also routinely saves lives in hospitals across the world, and enable us to stay in close contact with friends and relatives, no matter where they live.

I may be a bit fascinated by the past, but I sure don’t want to go back and actually live during the time before air-conditioning, antibiotics and automobiles were invented.  In many ways, the “good old days” weren’t always so good.  Like most people, I remember the good things and gloss over the bad.

So when I find myself feeling a bit cranky about all the changes around me, I remind myself that time does not stand still, and never has.  It may well be true that changes are coming at us at a much faster pace than ever before, but that’s not something I can control.  But what I can do is pick and choose which changes I embrace, which ones I simply cope with, and which ones I just plain ignore.  And for me, that makes it so much easier to cope.

33 thoughts on “Time Marches On

  1. I think the thing that bothers me most about technology is the distance it creates between people. An example of that is your description of the dinner party you observed. I’m sure those eight women had to juggle schedules, etc to be able to get together and meet for dinner. And yet, when they got there they ignored each other for periods of time. Cell phones at dinner and other certain events should be off limits, unless of course there is something critical that you’re waiting to hear about. That’s a big pet peeve for me.
    Like you, I think we sometimes romanticize about the good old days as others do about things that are special to them. But the one thing I do miss and do believe is very different today, is the simplicity of life. It can mean different things for different people, I suppose, but there was a pace of life that allowed us to enjoy who we were with and the journey along the way.
    But that’s just my opinion..:)

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    • It’s an opinion I share! I think that we are not nearly “present” enough in our lives now, mostly because we have the ability to instantly and constantly check in with everyone else. We may be at dinner with our friends, but we still feel the need to see what’s going on with other people, which is why the cell phones get pulled out and texts, email, Facebook, etc. is checked. I understand the compulsion to do that, but I think it is so rude and try to keep my phone in my purse, where it belongs, when I’m with friends or family. The people we are with are important enough to deserve our full attention, I think!

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  2. Very sensible thoughts, Ann. As for whether the world is changing faster, well, probably not. If you think back to how our parents felt and what they expressed about the changes between the times they were young and when we were, I think you’ll find it’s pretty relative. Mine found the stuff I was into almost incomprehensible most the the time (though my dad got into some of the music, later). In the fifties and then the sixties we were breaking out from the post-war dullness and stodginess of the post-war recovery, but to our parents and grandparents generations we just seemed out of control and too different. What the young and younger people are experiencing now is just their version of that. 🙂

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    • Oh, I really hope so! I suppose it seems faster because I am now the age where I find it hard to keep up. And technology is moving at a rate that is either amazing or alarming, depending on how we look at it. I try to stay amazed, but admit that sometimes I’m alarmed. Thanks for this perspective, Val! It helps!

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  3. I have been noticing the same thing lately, Ann, people all together, but not present with each other. The other day on campus I was walking and came to a spot with about 10 or so people, some together, some alone, each and every one of them on their cell phone, heads down, oblivious to the world and people around them. I think it’s sad. They don’t even seem to know another way.

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    • I know! I can’t help but wonder how its going to be years from now, when the people who aren’t constantly checking some screen or another are in the distinct minority. I guess time will tell, but personally, I’m not encouraged. But maybe that’s just our new society, and I have to get used to it.

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    • I do, too! I think the highlights of our lives, meaning the important stuff, not necessarily only the good stuff, is great to share. But sometimes people share almost everything, and that’s just too much. Personally I think of social media as an annual Christmas letter: if I wouldn’t put it in my Christmas letter, I don’t put it on Facebook! (And I rarely write a Christmas letter, but you know what I mean.)

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  4. I agree Ann, some stuff from the ‘good old days’ I think are sadly leaving us and I do long for them. Human interaction, one on one, face to face communication seems to be a lost art. And to me…well, that’s something tragic for the human race.

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  5. Technology is definitely gaining momentum with updates and versions changing at a rapid pace.
    We used to live in the era of the tortoise, and now it is most definitely the hare.
    Neither is necessarily bad … It’s just our level of comfort and/or resistance that is showing up.
    As we get older I have a hunch that the more open we are to new things, the more we will thrive from middle into old age 🙃🚀😳🎉❤️

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    • I think you are right, and that’s why I try to stay open. Sometimes something just makes me too uncomfortable, and then I draw the line and choose to do things “the old fashioned way.” But that doesn’t mean I need to reject all the technological advances, just the ones that I really don’t like. Thanks, Val!

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  6. Oh, I agree with you on this one! While I don’t want to go back to the old days, I reject some of the new stuff and don’t feel the need to check in every minute while I am out. I prefer to focus on the moment and those around me. But I see old people like myself sometimes checking their phones at intermissions for plays. My phone (old flip-phone!) is to stay in touch for emergencies or change of plans. Change is a certainty and I want to pick and choose what I embrace when I have a choice.

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  7. While I appreciate all that modern technology has to offer, it has also made us an over-share society. I don’t need to know everything someone did or is thinking and the worse part is that there is no deleting it and hoping its gone, so most often things live on in this wonderful tech filled world. But like you I am nosy and never understand why people are on Facebook or their phones when they have company right in front of them. Great post.

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    • We are definitely an over-share society, in my opinion. And sadly, we are often busy “sharing” when we should be engaging in our surroundings and with the people we are with at the moment! Thanks for the comment.

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  8. I’m going to be 48 in a few months and I can’t believe how many changes I have seen in technology just since I was in high school! But I do agree that many of us are not present in our lives due to technology!

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  9. The world is changing much faster than it used to, Ann, certainly. As new technology is developed faster and faster, so changes come faster. just think of the differences in everyone’s lives now and, say, 20 years ago, and the differences between people’s lives 100 and 120 years ago. A much greater rate of change. No wonder we feel more and more confused as we get older!

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  10. I’ve also seen people out together in restaurants or whatever, but ignoring each other and texting instead. I find that odd myself. I blog when there’s nobody else around, not when I’m in a crowd. Other changes in technology I like, though. I never enjoyed having to get up to change the television when I was a child. 🙂

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  11. Well written Ann and once again a subject I can fully relate to. There’s no doubt times have changed and will contine to and whilst to a degree we have to roll with them, it’s true we have a choice. I’ve deliberately stayed off FB for the past two weeks and I don’t feel as though I’ve missed anything. I guess it’s a question of balance and finding a happy medium where it doesn’t take over our lives and doesn’t impact our relationships. Great post.

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    • Yes, it’s the happy medium that I’m trying to achieve. I want to appreciate the good changes, and recognize that things are different now, often in good ways. But that doesn’t mean I want to just blindly go along every new thing that comes along, especially when it seems to have a negative impact on my life and/or on society. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to draw the line, but I guess all we can do is try. Have a great day, Miriam!!!

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      • Absolutely. We take what’s good for us and what has a positive affect on our lives. If it doesn’t and it’s not a necessary thing to embrace then I say just leave it. Take care Ann. xo

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  12. I’m with you on the happy medium. I don’t have a smart phone–on purpose. I don’t always carry my cell. I use maps instead of GPS. I like maps, from a purely aesthetic POV; I always have. I love walking into a room where they have a beautiful framed map. It always draws me in.

    I think picking and choosing is an intelligent choice, in every aspect. It fits in with not living an unexamined life. 🙂

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