276 Days ’til 40: Inventions that Change Our Lives

21 May

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!



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27 responses to “276 Days ’til 40: Inventions that Change Our Lives

  1. pinkagendist

    May 21, 2012 at 00:16

    My first computer was an Apple II E. The second was a Tandy HX. All I could do was word processing and play a game called Thexder.
    You should be glad you’re living straight people years. Gay men years are like dog years. 30 is the equivalent to 60 in straight years. 34, which is my age is- well, dead.

    • 400daystil40

      May 21, 2012 at 08:04

      I remember those as well! BTW – who says I am living straight years? Maybe you should read my blog more carefully and then see if you can decipher! 😛 I find that the assumption of heterosexuality is as alive among homosexuals as it is among heterosexuals… interesting, huh?

      • pinkagendist

        May 21, 2012 at 12:33

        Oopsy doopsy 😀
        Now it makes more sense 😀

        • 400daystil40

          May 21, 2012 at 14:51

          🙂 But should it have to make more sense??? 😉

          • pinkagendist

            May 21, 2012 at 15:26

            Just the way life is… Remember the Bob Bergeron suicide in April? He was the guy who wrote Happiness for Gay Men at Midlife and Beyond. There’s huge pressure on gay men to fit into certain physical stereotype. We do it to ourselves, from what I’ve read it’s the same for Lesbians. As anecdotal evidence, I can say I personally know very few overweight gay men.Most who are or have been part of my circle of acquaintances are very aware of tappearance and ageing.

          • 400daystil40

            May 21, 2012 at 21:19

            Yes, it is very true…. from that perspective, I think gay and straight alike struggle with societal pressures and expectations and reconciling ourselves to the fact that few of us really look like the stereotypes or magazines claim we should….. I really try to focus on the inside…. I think that might be a little easier for lesbians than gays, but probably not much – certainly not easy for heterosexual women… plastic surgery is in high demand.

  2. Katie

    May 21, 2012 at 01:52

    We had a cassette player as the ‘disk drive’ and used Dos programming to make our own adventure games. Pretty soon, the games may seem like the holodeck on Star Trek..

    • 400daystil40

      May 21, 2012 at 08:03

      I remember making my own Dos computer games!!! I was so proud of myself!

  3. Hawkruh

    May 21, 2012 at 02:07

    2 months until I turn 50 … it is so amazing! Where will the world and technology take us? Hopefully not away from each other.

  4. saymber

    May 21, 2012 at 05:03

    I can relate to what you’ve written here. When I was AD Air Force our computer people processed data via punch cards lol. I can remember playing Pong (oldest video game). I can remember records and 8 track players… much has changed but I still write letters! I send real birthday cards and other occasion cards too. When I get them I feel like I’ve had a “visit” with a loved one….they are a precious present to me everytime I get one….so I reciprocate. My husband and I recently got cell phones again after years without them and are so grateful….we were very reluctant to get them. Technology is great and in some ways it’s really been positive but it seems like we are more and more becoming cerebral/digital beings and losing touch with tangible reality…our very bodies. It’s important to have balance in all things and unplug regularly. Great article!

    • 400daystil40

      May 21, 2012 at 08:02

      I was a cellphone holdout for years and years… never really bonded with a cellphone until I recently got my iPhone… now I am a sellout! 🙂

  5. craftythriftydecoratingwifemom

    May 21, 2012 at 05:27

    We didn’t get our first computer until they upgraded where hubs works and were going to throw them away! Dot Matrix Printer and all. Modems…wake me when it connects. And now we get impatient with modern speeds and panic if we don’t have cell phone contact. I hope to find a cheap dial phone at a tag sale or something just to show my kids what they missed :-).

    • 400daystil40

      May 21, 2012 at 08:01

      It is true how with the evolution of technology we have become more impatient. 🙂

  6. drawnoutdoors

    May 21, 2012 at 07:35

    My four year old is horrified that we didn’t have DVDs, iPads or kids TV channels. I can’t fathom what her children will be horrified that she lived without!

    • 400daystil40

      May 21, 2012 at 08:00

      I often wonder the same with our kids! My daughters also cannot believe we did not have Cd’s or DVD’s or cellphone (the horror!) 🙂

  7. Laura Conowitch

    May 21, 2012 at 07:44

    Hmmmm…I still have my rotary. But I’ve moved up to a flip open cell phone. I may get really bold and get a smart cell phone before I hit 60 years. LOL!

  8. The Quiet Borderline

    May 21, 2012 at 13:28

    I also wish better for the future.. But there are statistics that have been released stating that depression will be the ‘x’ illness of the time. (Can’t remember, something like the third most common illness).

    • 400daystil40

      May 21, 2012 at 14:53

      I think it already is……..

      • The Quiet Borderline

        May 21, 2012 at 15:16

        Yup. Probably right. I saw these statistics for 2028 or something crazy. Maybe it was the first in number of illnesses. Awful.

  9. Irving

    May 21, 2012 at 17:25

    I recently bought my mom a cellphone and all she wanted the simplest and cheapest. Thankfully they are still available, not with a rotary dial on the front, but cheap and simple, made for seniors. It was a Tacfone SVC which prides itself on its simplicity

  10. writerwannabe763

    May 21, 2012 at 17:56

    Interviews done by ‘Skype’? wow…I don’t think that’s a great idea…what about eye contact…body language?? Oh well progress I guess…I wonder to what life will be like for our grandchildren etc. in more ways than one…..Diane

    • 400daystil40

      May 21, 2012 at 21:22

      Yes, I am not liking the whole Skype interview thing for precisely those reasons – I have always interviewed well because I read body language and respond appropriately, without the ability to do that my interviews seem to crash and burn… not fun.

  11. kbshannon

    May 22, 2012 at 21:47

    This is awesome. I just happened to write today on connection as well, and how technology may have injured it some.


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