I don’t have to tell you that we live in a technological age. Things are changing rapidly, almost too rapidly for me. Sometimes I feel as if my head is spinning out of control. The more things go digital, the more I turn back to the good old days.
Lately I am finding comfort and relaxation in the simpler things in life; not just taking the time to smell the roses, if you will, but also to live in a simpler time, if only for 30 or 60 minutes.
I love my DVR. It allows me to record shows that I would otherwise be unable to catch due to work and other activities. The ironic thing is that I tend to record shows that illustrate a more relaxed way of life. For instance, right now my DVR only contains episodes of “The Golden Girls,” “The Waltons,” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” (I do record current shows, but as the season is coming to a close, most of what I have right now are these.) These shows have special meaning to me—it’s not just that I’m a huge dork who lives in the past. Not only are these shows that I watched when I was young, but I also watched them with my family. So in addition to them being entertaining (for me), they are a part of my family history.
It’s nice every once in a while to unplug from the demands of my day and go back in time, to the 80s, the 70s, even the 30s. Watching episodes of “The Waltons” illustrating life during the Great Depression puts some things into perspective. Maybe that iPhone isn’t as important as I think it is (though who am I kidding—one day, I won’t be able to not get a smart phone). In addition to the times being simpler (at least from my perspective), the show illustrates family and personal morals and values, something that is rare these days. It’s just nice to know that at some point in time, a handshake a verbal promise was enough to seal a business deal. Honesty and trust were things that meant something, meant everything. I’m not saying that you won’t find those things today, but it’s not that common. While you can trust some people, you also have to be wary of who those people are. It’s just a very different world.
I experienced a situation recently that just boggles my mind. Somehow the topic of the radio came up. Someone I know was under the impression that people don’t listen to FM radio anymore. He was flabbergasted when I said that I do, every day. I have a radio in my bedroom and anytime I’m in there, it’s on. In the morning I listen to NPR to get my news. During the day it’s tuned to my local country station or the popular station. At night, it’s back to NPR for the classical music as a way to wind down for my night. Any way you slice it, it’s on. And I like it. Yes, I have an iPod. Yes, I use it frequently. But I’m not all about leaving everything prior to the current technology behind. I don’t need Pandora to tell me what it thinks I like. Sometimes I like to leave it up to the radio DJ. I can experience music I might not have otherwise. Just because I’m not plugged in to something digital all day doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate it. But like life, it’s all about balance. What I don’t understand is why it’s appalling that I still engage in the “old ways” of listening to “FDR’s Fireside Chats,” as it was put to me. And even if I did, does that make me less of a person? No. But I guess to some, it does. But again, why, I’m not so sure. Just because I don’t share the same experiences as someone else who’s fully up on the new technology, who lives and breathes it doesn’t mean they’re right and I’m wrong (or vice versa). It’s just different. In my opinion, people who can embrace more than one way of doing things is a more well-rounded individual (not better, just more well-rounded).
This all goes back to the old paper versus technology debate that keeps coming up. Yes, we can embrace technology. We can even use it. But just because we choose to use the “old fashioned” form of physically writing things down on paper rather than tapping them out on a keyboard doesn’t mean we’re dusty mites. It just means we prefer a different way of doing things.
Lately I feel as though I’m being criticized for who I am and how I do things. I never do that to others, so why people feel it’s okay to do that to me, well, I just can’t comprehend it. Sometimes I would like to jump into that TV and be a child of the Depression, making do with the little I have; live the life of avocado green and shag rugs and rotary phones of the 70s; or be a should pad-wearing, cranky old bitty in the late 80s. Obviously each of these time periods have their own issues. But I wouldn’t feel like an underprivileged soul just because I don’t own a smart phone. And really, is one necessary to live life to the fullest? I say no, but again, I’m in the minority here, so maybe I am just plain wrong.
I guess I should be grateful though—it is technology after all that allows me to retreat to the days of old. Maybe when I’m 90 (if I’m lucky to live that long), machines will think for us and be able to read my mind. The question is, what will that machine read exactly—my own personal individual thoughts, or those that have been thought for me?