At 276 days ’til 40, I am old, but I am not REALLY old, and with a projected lifespan into the 80’s, I certainly have a long way to go if my genetics and life circumstances choose to cooperate. That said, when I look around at the world today compared to the world I was born into so much has changed. I realize that so many of the things I rely on today did not exist, or existed only in their infant forms, when I was young.
I remember our first home computer – I was in 5th grade. It was an HP computer, and the top of the line at the time. It did not do much other than type papers and it took at least ten minutes to boot up (fast at the time!) It came with a dot matrix printer – ahhh the wonders to all of our ears! Then we got a modem – and that also came with some crazy noises and the infancy of chat rooms… no videos or fancy icons, only your chosen name and words on a screen…. there were no colors… was the screen black with green writing at the time? It amazes me that we have gone from that to a day and age when our 3rd grade students make power point presentations and our school requires every middle and high school student to come to school with a laptop.
We had in our home (yes it is true!) A ROTARY phone! Yes, at that point they did make other phones, but the first phone I remember was a rotary phone. We actually had to be at home to receive a call -there were no answering machines, or pagers, or cellphones (cellphones made the need for pagers obsolete). I think of how I used to panic when my youngest (now 8) was in nursery school and I accidentally left my cellphone at home all day – how would they get in touch with me in an emergency? Funny that my complete panic was normal reality for my parents and grandparents.
When I conducted research for papers I use the library – even at the level of doing my master’s degree… I stood in the library for days and days, hours and hours copying journal articles. About five years after I received my masters degree everything went online and students no longer needed to enter a library building to research, everything was suddenly done from their laptops at home (or at Starbucks!) And there was no need to waste reams and reams of paper (poor trees) because now all the articles could be readily stored on a cute little flash drive…. in any shape or color you fancy…. times have changed.
We used to communicate through phone calls on landlines and snail mail, and now no one writes letters, but we have email and Skype (got to love Skype!) Interviews used to be in person, but I have had multiple job interviews via Skype as well (a very strange experience to say the least!)
There have also been advanced in medicine, in transportation (fancier cars, in-line skates, motorized bicycles (not motorcycles)). We blink and we have missed the next new thing that has revolutionized our world.
I seem to live with my iPad and iPhone and MacBook. I am always connected. Years ago I would have said good-bye to my high school friends, never to have seen or made contact with them again (at least most of them) – now I am blessed with the opportunity to learn about their lives and communicate with them via Facebook. Imagine life without Facebook! Can you? It has not been around that long… but long enough for us to not be able to fathom life without it.
I am amazed at how easier many of these things have made our lives, and how much harder some have (sometimes we are so connected to the technology that we forget to connect to each other, which makes things harder).
It all makes me wonder….. what will our world look like ten years from now? What will our world look like when my children graduate? What will my grandchildren inherit? My hope is that it will be a world that is better, with healthier, happier people – a world with less war and more peace, and a world that is worth being a part of.
Today, 276 days ’til 40, I am in awe of how quickly our world is transforming around us. I hope we can all keep up!