When I was younger, and didn’t know any better, I looked at older people and thought, “There is someone who is out of touch. Someone who is stuck in their ways and unwilling to change. They have no idea what it is like to be my age.”
Of course, there are some older people like that…as well as younger people too. But if you ever need to look at someone who is an expert on change and adjusting to whatever life throws them, who is more of an expert? The person who is 21 or the person who is 70?
Here are people who have lived through what you are living…and beyond
Think of all the changes the 70 year old has lived through! I’m not quite there yet, but I can give you a rough idea of the changes I’ve lived through. I lived to see a man land on the moon! When President Kennedy announced that goal, I thought he was crazy! I was just a kid, but it was quite exciting!
Much of the technology didn’t even exist at the time for that goal to be reached! But we got there! When I saw that man land on the moon and walk, I couldn’t believe it! It was like seeing science fiction stories come to life!
Computers changed so much about how we live
Over the years, computers have gone from filling up rooms, to sitting on a desk and being portable…even as portable as your phone! They have made the typewriters obsolete…because they do so much more!
For my kids, computers are second nature. For us? We have had to learn each aspect either for our jobs or for some other necessity. To be able to blog, I have had to learn a lot of things I never dreamed I could learn technology-wise. But I also know how much I don’t know!
…and cell phones!
Of course, cell phones have been a huge change. When we were raising our daughters, we didn’t even have a portable phone in our house. I think we had an answering machine toward the very end of their years at home, but nothing like what is available now!
I can’t even imagine the luxury of calling them on their phone (when they were teens)! That would be nice when you have a teen-ager and don’t know where they are. Of course, there was no texting either. We were forced to talk to each other…face to face.
It was really the dark ages…but we didn’t know any better. That’s how we were raised too. Cell phones do provide the feeling of safety and that you have some control of your children. In truth, if they don’t cooperate, you have no more knowledge or control of them than we did in our day.
I remember when credit cards came on the scene. I was still a kid. My parents rarely used them. When we married, we rarely did either. We didn’t want to be stuck owing money! Now, we use a card, but pay it off at the end of the month so we don’t pay interest. They are a tool to help in managing finances but we can easily get off track if we pretend they are actual money and not a debt.
Now, we have a zealous concern for safety gadgets, but not always the common sense needed to protect our children
Of course, other changes that have taken place are the extreme efforts taken for safety. Required safety belts in cars started after we had a family. There were no requirements for car seats and the ones that existed were no good. We used to put the baby in an infa-seat on the floor, usually in the front.
When we went on vacation, we flattened the back of the station wagon (we weren’t cool enough to have a van) and the girls would spread out with their toys and books and play.
I know that car seats have protected many lives, but I don’t think they encourage the fun and relating we used to do in the car. Now there is less fighting over who is on the side of the line that makes it “my” part of the seat though. Unfortunately, while the safety concerns are helpful, they often give us a false sense of security. When we learned by hurting ourselves sometimes, we gained common sense. It doesn’t seem as common these days.
Expressways…one way to make long drives easier
Another change, modern expressways. They have affected our ability to get places we want to go. In my lifetime, travel by car has become a much more pleasant experience. At one time, traveling long distance meant mostly two lane roads; getting stuck behind trucks or slow cars and not being able to pass for miles; and in the mountains, slow, winding roads that often brought on car sickness. There wasn’t much pleasant about it!
That isn’t the case now. We get in the car, set the cruise control and go where we want to go!
The change in common childhood diseases
Finally, the number of inoculations have increased in my lifetime. During my Kindergarten and First grade years there were some very bad polio epidemics. Children that I knew were extremely debilitated by polio and as I grew up, I went to school with others who had the disease at about that age. It was a scary business! Those who survived were debilitated. Not all survived.
When I was in second grade, something wonderful happened, they tried out the Salk vaccine on 2nd graders who wanted to volunteer. I was one of the volunteers. I hated shots, but figured I would get it over before my siblings had to get theirs! It was a series of 3 shots. By the time I was in nurses’ training, iron lungs were a thing of the past! There were a few gathering dust in the basement of the hospital there in Philadelphia.
When we were young, our mom spent a few winters inside while we got measles, mumps and chicken pox. Each child would get the disease and 2 or 3 weeks later, the next one would come down with it. Fortunately, there were only the 3 of us at the time. It was later that those inoculations came out. One group that really was blessed when the measles, mumps, rubella shots came out were all the pregnant moms.
German measles (Rubella) is one of those diseases that often has low grade symptoms and can be spread before a person knows they have it. The people who suffered were early pregnant moms who got exposed. This helped them and their babies a lot.
Yes, inoculations are controversial today, but not by people like me who lived when these diseases were prevalent. When people talk about side effects of inoculations, they forget about the side effects of the original diseases. For most of those “simple” diseases, the complications from them included encephalitis, blindness, deafness, and death…to name just a few. They didn’t happen to everyone, but they did happen. Of course, it was worse for newborns or preborns who were exposed.
I see I’ve gone long again and have missed many of the big changes that I have lived through. This gives you a taste. Depending on a person’s generation, there may be quite a variety of others such as those who lived through the Depression, World War II, etc.
Challenge: to connect with people around you rather than go to your phones to socialize
If you are wise, you will make a point to get to know people who have lived in these earlier times and ask questions of them such as What was life like for you when you were 7? or Did you live during the Depression? What was it like? The more specific your questions, the better the answers will be. Asking what life was like when their family was the age of yours will yield helpful information and practical help as well. You may learn ways you have it good that you didn’t realize…or that you are missing out on some simpler times when relationships took higher priority.
I think one area that is very difficult these days is that it is more difficult to connect with people because of their cell phones, etc. When they are socially uncomfortable, they turn to their phones instead of turning to other people in the room to talk to them and get to know them. It can be challenging to live in this technological age…and function as a human. Think about it. (Yes, I’m guilty here too!)
Are you more likely to talk to people you don’t know around you or turn to your phone to find what new messages you have or games you can play?
People, no matter their age, are very interesting if you are willing to ask them good questions and listen to what they have to say.