I have watched many things transpire in my lifetime. I’ll start by going back in time a little bit, and talk about the things that my parents saw happen in their lifetime, and then I’ll move forward a bit.
The world has changed a lot recently, and I don’t think we truly are even aware of how much has happened in such a short period of time.
My mother remembers a time when there was no television. Today, I have a digital DVR cable box, where I can order on demand shows live, and pause, record and rewind over 500 different channels with the flip of a switch while streaming movies at the touch of a fingertip any time I want.
My mother remembers a time before personal computers even existed, when ham radio was all the rage as a new technology, when what computers did exist were so large as to fill entire floors of buildings, often in the basements, and put off enough heat to warm a neighborhood in the winter. Today, people carry small cellular telephone type devices they can connect to the internet on, download music, write, send text messages… and the majority of households in America have at least one computer, with most having more than that.
My mother remembers old 78s; my father used to own an 8-track collection of epic proportions. I remember 45s and albums and cassette tapes, and then CDs. My children now listen to music on MP3 players that are about the size of pack of gum and hold more songs than could be listened to if they played them straight through for a lifetime!
My mother remembers a time when only the very rich had telephones at all, and even then, they were party lines with limited range on who could be called and when, and based on a rotary dialed system. Eventually, most homes had rotary telephones, and then touch tone dialing came about. Today, we have voice over IP, cellular telephones also the size of a pack of gum and almost as thin as a credit card, direct connect features that work all over the world, cordless handsets that have a two-block range on them, satellite phones, and just about any other communication device you can think of that allows us to truly connect globally.
My mother remembers playing cards. I remember board games. Today, my children have three gaming systems that play some of the most realistic looking games I have ever seen.
My mother recalls a time when girls could not wear pants to school and skirts had to be longer than the knee. I remember a time when we could wear skirts as long as they came to the point of our middle finger when our hands were down at our side. We could wear pants and jeans, but not shorts, and heaven forbid if we wore a shirt that had no sleeves. We had to wear closed-toed shoes at all times. My daughter had friends who wore pajamas and flip-flops to school on test days her senior year. Today, I drive by the local high school and see girls wearing spaghetti strapped shirts with their colored bras showing underneath that only come to their navel, exposing their belly button for the world to see. Skirts barely exist anymore. Girls wear flip flops to school. And what is the deal with underwear showing? When I was a kid, underwear showing was a very embarrassing thing indeed! My goodness, if a bra strap showed, that was a huge red-faced event!
There was a time when prayer in school wasn’t a political issue, but was almost a requirement. There was a time when saying the pledge of allegiance was required, and if you didn’t want to do it, you could explain it to the principal in his office that day. I’m not making a statement about whether this was a good or bad thing, I’m just saying that’s how it was back then.
When I went to school, PE and music were required daily classes. Today, some schools have cut these classes completely and most have made them elective classes now and not required ones.
We didn’t used to have things that automatically cleaned our showers by pressing a button. We didn’t have items we could spray to eliminate odors; we actually had to clean. We didn’t have litter boxes that automatically scoop the poop. We didn’t have automatic dishwashers. We actually had to clean in order to keep things clean.
My mother grew up with there being 9 planets. I grew up with them wondering if there might be ten, and now, officially, they are saying there are only 8 planets. So apparently, even the galaxy has changed too!
Food wasn’t fast, but it was good. Now it’s fast, but lousy for you.
We didn’t sue for things over which we should have known better.
I’m not really saying that the world is a better place or that it is a worse place for all the changes, but it is a different place. Some may look back on things and think that those times now gone were the “good ole days” and others may say that we are living in the best world of all times so far.
Whatever your opinion on the meaning behind things that have changed, things have changed.
My mother watched a man walk on the moon for the first time and saw a president assassinated. A world war. I watched a space shuttle blow up and kill 7 people, a little girl fall down a well and be rescued, and the end of the supposed cold war. My children have seen nearly 3,000 people killed in the terrorist attacks on the WTC, children killing other children at school, the Oklahoma City bombing, and a world that has not been at peace during their lifetimes.
We’ve seen walls knocked down and new ones erected. We’ve seen communism fall and socialism rise and wondered if it weren’t all just more of the same. Capitalism? Humm….
So a writing prompt for each of you, or at the very least a thinking prompt… what changes have you seen in your lifetime? What do you think is going to happen in your children’s or grandchildren’s lifetimes?
Is the world a better or worse place, all things considered?
Love and stuff,