Every once in a while I throw a tantrum…as though I’m not getting my way…like a teenager. It’s what I equate to things not going how I want or expected them to…me having a feeling or emotion that I don’t like and so I have to get up and start again. When I say start again, I don’t necessarily mean that I have to quit my job and run away from where I am in order to change my perspective on things…though, trust me, running away to another beach frequently crosses my mind.
What I believe I am realizing is that the world we are in now is VERY different from the world in which we grew up. I see people walking down the streets connected to their GPS units because finding their way is so beyond their current capabilities. I see people walking into things because their heads are always down as they send or receive constant notifications on email, FB, Whatsapp…etc. No one just converses with the person they are with anymore.
When I was young, it was a bad thing to be accused of needing instant gratification without having the patience to see if something might work out…a job, a career, a plan…a relationship! I was raised to work for what you have and want and to work to improve things rather than run away from them. And yes, sometimes that means difficult conversations with the people in your life. Yes, if you lose a job, it may not be a big deal to find another one. If you graduate from school…most people then move on to the career they were training themselves for. But that also changes the dynamic of your life. Maybe now you have to work long hours with less free time between classes to hang out with your friends.
Dedication to a business or career usually begins with you having to “make your bones” as we used to say in Brooklyn when I was young. (Which could refer to so many things…don’t let your imagination run away…) But what it also means is that you have to dedicate yourself to learning and perfecting the skill required for that business or career. And things change…especially now with technology! You have to keep learning and be capable of change…not to be afraid of what technology can bring to you or add to your life and career. I mean, are they even teaching kids how to read maps anymore? I’m sure no one is learning the dewey decimal system (and if you don’t know what that is, then you are way younger than me because I remember having to take a specific class devoted to learning just that so that when I was older and it was time to do research, I’d know how to find a book in a library!)
So back to being grateful…I am the generation that actually graduated from college before cell phones were available to the mass public. (I know that people had car phones…but I didn’t drive and I’m sure doctors had cell phones which were similar to them holding a shoe box sized device to their face.) But me? I finished college before “Googling” things was the norm…before anything was electronic. When we actually bought textbooks and dragged them back and forth to school everyday to do homework. Insane, right?!?! I had friends and boyfriends who I was able to talk to on the phone…surmise what they were feeling by the tone in their voice. (Excited to see me, missing me or being distracted with something they may want to talk about.)
But now, I am different than everyone else because when I have a problem or I feel as though I’m not getting my way, I think about what the answer may be…I don’t Google it. I consider the pro’s and con’s to the decisions I make as well as how they may affect the people around me. I don’t take a poll or survey about it. I ask myself what my priorities are. Is it still money? Or should I now think about doing something that I just enjoy…now that I feel like I’m more out of debt than I felt 18 months ago? And who is of most importance to me? And how much of “me” do I risk sacrificing in order to keep those I consider important happy?
What am I grateful of? The fact that I was raised with the empathy for my peeps to consider them when making a big life decision…understanding that it’s not just about me and that it never really was. I get the notion that people today are all about saying that we should be doing what makes us happy…but to what cost? To who’s disappointment? We get out of bed every morning for ourselves…yes. But how we spend our time and with whom is not totally dependent on what we want. It is also dependent on what the other person wants…with whom they want to spend their time…eat their meals with or socialize. And if you are not on their short list, then it really doesn’t matter “what you want” or “who you want” in your life.
Technology can not change that but if we keep raising our children to be incapable to being able to make a friend or express how they feel without using an emoji, then what does the future look like for our young generation? How passionate can they be over text message? Why can’t they call the person and ask them how they are? Thinking that maybe there may be more of an emotion than what an emoji can express. Listen to the person’s voice…miss the sound of their voice…be able to tell how that person is feeling just by how their tones make you feel. Maybe they are distracted by something that you can’t know about just by reading their text messages.
I love people and I love conversations and how they progress and grow…how much I can learn about another person based on a conversation over a cup of coffee or a meal or a drink. Something I can not get from a text message or email…that complete absence of human contact. That’s what I’m grateful for…that I lived a life without technology so that I can tell the meaning and emotions behind a statement based on my experiences during that life which helps me get through the days when the only communication I receive is via technology.