Monday, July 26, 2010

A Matter of Perspective

On Sunday morning I was catching up on all the blogs in my Reader when I read a post by Miss Kris of A Shelter from the Storm, that listed all the ways that today's youth have it easy. You may have seen this list or a similar one as it's been making the email circuit lately. To refresh your memory here is the list:

1) When I was a kid we didn't have the Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!!

2) There was no email!! We had to actually write somebody a letter - with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox, and it would take like a week to get there! Stamps were 5 cents!

3) Child Protective Services didn't care if our parents beat us. A swat on the rear got our attention and didn’t really hurt anything but our pride.

4) There were no MP3's or Napsters or iTunes! If you wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the record store and shoplift it yourself!

5) Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio, and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and mess it all up! There were no CD players! We had tape decks in our car. We'd play our favorite tape and "eject" it when finished, and then the tape would come undone rendering it useless.

6) We didn't have fancy stuff like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal, that's it!

7) There weren't any all-invasive cell phones either. If you left the house, you just didn't make a call or receive one. You actually had to be out of touch with your "friends". OH MY goodness!!! Think of the horror... not being in touch with someone 24/7!!! And then there's TEXTING. Yeah, right. Please! Doesn’t anyone know how annoying they are in public places?

8) And we didn't have fancy Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your parents, your boss, your bookie, your in-laws, the collection agent... you just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!

9) We didn't have any fancy PlayStation or Xbox video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! You actually had to use your imagination!!!

10) You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! You were out of luck when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off the couch and walk over to the TV to change the channel!!! NO REMOTES!!!

11) There was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I'm saying? We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons!

12) And we didn't have microwaves. If we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove! Imagine that!

13) And our parents told us to stay outside and play... all day long. Oh, no, no electronics to soothe and comfort. And if you came back inside... you were doing chores!

14) And car seats - oh, please! Mom threw you in the back seat and you hung on. If you were lucky, you got the "safety arm" across the chest at the last moment if she had to stop suddenly, and if your head hit the dashboard, well that was your fault for calling "shot gun" in the first place!And you know what? With all these modern day conveniences supposedly invented to make our lives easier...are they, really??

As I was reading the list, I found myself nodding my head in recognition and agreement and even smiling and reminiscing a little bit. And then it hit me. Like a ton of bricks. OMG! I'M OLD. This is one of those "good old days" lists that old people talk about when they complain about kids "these days" and here I am nodding my head in agreement and recalling those "good old days" of my youth. *gulp* What a reality check.

Later that day, I went grocery shopping with my 15 year old daughter, Madeleine. While I went up and down the aisles filling our cart, she stood at the deli and ordered our lunchmeat and cheese for sandwiches (ah, the joys of having older children. I hate waiting at the deli. It feels like a monumental waste of time.) Anyway... When we got home and were putting away the groceries Madeleine told me that waiting at the deli had made her feel old. Really? Just how old can a 15 year old feel? Well, it seems that when Madeleine ordered some sliced American cheese, the deli worker offered a slice to the adorable little boy waiting nearby with his mother. She did not offer a slice to Madeleine. In that moment Madeleine realized that, in the eyes of the world, she is no longer a child. And it made her feel sad... and old.

Apparently being "old" is all a matter of perspective. Ah, dear Madeleine, I know how you feel.


Anita said...

You know I think I've seen parts of this list, and like you I've realized I'm old enough to say things like"when I was your age" and it's very different. Many times I think my kids need a dose of reality and not being "in touch". As you know I'm awful about my phone and my being in touch, I see my issues and back away when I can.
Poor Madeline, old at 15... ha ha!

injaynesworld said...

Sadly, I've become one of those people who actually say, "Youth is wasted on the young."

And yes, I recall everything on that list.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Aw, sweet post. Yes, I realized I was older when last national election "older voters" were defined as "over fifty." Geez, when did that happen?

MissKris said...

That was a great list, wasn't it? I get a lot of those types of lists/emails from my 76-year-old cousin who is quite involved in elder rights. I post the ones that really grab my attention. I must say I LOVED your daughter's take on being 'old' -- kind of like the first year you no longer go trick-or-treating, or sit down to play Barbie dolls and realize you really don't feel like doing that any more. It truly is all in perspective, isn't it?

Sandy said...

I guess I've read bits and pieces of this list but probably didn't read it all because my cell phone rang.

It made my really sad and with a longing for the good old days. I guess this crazy world is getting to me.


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