This sounds odd, I know, and no this isn’t some weird confessional post. This title seemed so fitting given the things I’ve been ruminating on lately.
Here’s the thing. The year before I was born was the year that CD-ROM was introduced, when I was in middle school DVD’s started to replace the ole VHS. When I was 4 years old the World Wide Web was coming to fruition.
I straddle the divide of Generation X and Millennials though I am more inclined to put myself into the Generation X category. I have the unique perspective of knowing what its like to play outside til the street lights come on and also to have learned technology from the ground up.
My childhood was spent outside playing or inside reading books (to generalize) and though we had a computer in our house it was just another thing to play with, not an all encompassing machine of wonder.
I remember playing coloring games on our box shaped computer or even sliding in a floppy disk to play “Where in The World is Carmen San Diego”. It was cool, but so were a lot of other things. My friends and I would play Oregon Trail in their basement for an hour or so then go explore the neighborhood on foot for a few hours, crossing small creeks and hiking through woods. All unsupervised of course with no cell phones and knowing we had to eventually head back home or our mothers would worry.
I have always had a kinship with pen to paper, always preferred hand written notes to typing on a keyboard. Nonetheless, because of the timing of when I grew up it just so happened that typing classes were mandatory in high school, and power points were the ultimate for school presentations.
I suppose it is because I’m growing older and seeing how technology has seemingly taken over all aspects of our life that I have always had a hesitation to jump in feet first to embracing its presence in my life. I grew up with a dial channel TV for pete’s sake, I still have a collection of burned CD’s from when music was pirated on the internet before Apple had an ITunes.
My very modus operandi has always crossed into both these worlds. I embrace the technology that makes things better or more efficient, and yet I find myself longing for the slower pace of life that was my childhood. It seems as processing speeds grew on computers so as well did our pace of life. It is because of this that I understand my children must learn about technology that surrounds them and at the same time why I feel such a burden to show them how going barefoot feels in the grass, or how the forest air fills your lungs like nothing else.
My constant goal is to slow (lets face it, normalize) the pace of life, despite the pressures the world puts on us, to teach my children to stop and smell the flowers. I wonder often what they will think when they have grown up, how different the world will look with the constant barrage of technology invading our homes, our cars, our workplaces. I certainly know that I cannot go back. There is no time machine to be had, nor would I want to change what has come to be. We cannot go back in time, though some try. There are many people, quite often those in my generation, who buck the trend and shackles of technology and choose to live off grid, or make their life more green. I applaud those who choose to forge their own path this way, To control the hold that technology has in their world. It was a simpler time, our tech free childhoods, but the reality is the world we are living in now, today, tomorrow will continue to change and accelerated into a technology dominant world.
You see, change is inevitable in this life and progress is what makes us so uniquely human.
We are meant to change, to adapt, to grow, to learn. The machine of progress will not be stopped, the challenge is to realize it is in our power to slow it down.
For me, living my life at a slower pace keeps me sane. Letting my children become familiar with computers is something I try to do, albeit at the library rather than at our home (for now). Teaching them the common sense principles of safety and responsibility as my parents did for me will help them no matter the situation.
So I will take from my “old” and do my best to meld it with this “new” in such a way that myself and my children are able to use technology for our purpose rather than having it be a controlling aspect in our lives. I will try to teach them the joy of having a childhood outside in the beautiful world, or diving into a book to experience another world. I will teach them how to type but also how to pen a letter in cursive. I will teach them how to do math without a calculator, to journal and maybe even to blog some day. I will continue to draw on my split personality to benefit the next generation. They will know no other world exists unless we reveal it to them, hand it down so they may continue to make this world a better place.
So here is to progress, and to passing on that which is not found in our imaginary world of zeroes and ones.
Thanks for reading.