Retro Sunday: Simpler Times

Today’s “Retro Sunday” post will be a bit different. No pictures from the past or oldies music videos. I decided to write about missing simpler times…because I do. Very much. Technology has its advantages and I’m as much of a geek as the next person. I just miss the days when people were present in the moment and not engrossed in something on a small screen.

Recently, I viewed a gallery of images taken at a shopping mall in the 80’s. The stores were different; the fashion was different; the way of life was different. Glaringly absent from those images ~ people looking at their cellphones. The people in the images weren’t sitting in a group not talking to each other {seeing this happening now makes me feel very sad}; they were talking to each other, walking side-by-side looking up and around them, sitting on benches, people watching.

We didn’t blurt out every thought we had. Or worry about embarrassing images going viral. Our worlds were limited to our immediate surroundings. We knew what was going on locally, but if we wanted to find out what was going on in the world, we had to read the paper or watch the news. Or write letters to people in faraway places and actually wait for a response. We went outside and used our imaginations to find ways to pass the time. Our parents had an easier time monitoring our activities because the phone was in a common area. There was no cyberspace to protect us from.

What we wanted took more effort because “instant gratification” was almost unheard of. We were happy with what we had or received because we understood the effort involved. I remember when boys fed every nickel of their allowance into a gumball machine to find something worth giving to the girls they liked. It didn’t matter if the ring or other some such trinket was plastic; the sentimental value was far greater than any gold ring ~ it was a declaration of love. Awesome.

We knew where we stood in our society back then. Adults weren’t afraid to be authority figures for children ~ their own or anybody else’s. Our parents administered the discipline however they saw fit so that the police didn’t have to take on that responsibility later. Now, it’s the opposite…and the police are getting persecuted for having to deal with the effects of “limited parenting”. We see videos of students being disrespectful, even beating up their teachers. We see citizens challenging law enforcement. The trust is gone because nobody knows where they stand or how far others are prepared to go to…win? This is probably why people take such extreme measures…because once they’re engaged in a battle, it’s kill or be killed. Survival instinct kicks in and shit gets real. It’s not like an old-fashioned fist fight where the worst outcome is a bloody nose or black eye and bruised pride.

This post isn’t about finding solutions; such a post would be a novel of “epic” proportions. I’m writing this because I wanted to share my perspective of how things are now, compared with how they used to be. If it ignites a productive, problem-solving dialogue, great. Whatever we do, we must do it as part of a group that’s passionate about change. I’m so tired of shaking my head, feeling helpless everytime something happens. Granted, I don’t know the solution{s} or where to begin. It’s not that I doubt my ability to change the world, but I feel like my voice would be drowned out by a louder voice, claiming it can’t be done. It’s going to take more than the efforts of one person; change is something that we all must strive for because it’s for the greater good of our society and its future generations.

If I had to guess where to start?

  1. Get comfortable with telling our children “No” and taking our power back as parents. Stop the materialistic mentality and realize that it’s okay if our kids don’t have everything under the sun. We must remember that we’re only obligated to provide the basic necessities, not luxuries. Stop the “Not my precious child” mentality and hold kids accountable for their behavior.
  2. Stop making everything a fecking minefield that we all most tiptoe through for fear of offending people. The sooner we get real about what needs to happen, the better we’ll be.
  3. Make a huge, concerted effort to heal the mental health system instead of using medication as a band-aid to cover up the underlying problems. By all means, use medication where necessary, but only while working through long-term solutions.
  4. Pay it forward. Look after each other again. Re-establish trust and get back to a point of mutual respect for differences in opinion, beliefs, philosophies. Value lives, not objects. Attack issues, not people.

Add to my list, if you want. I figure we have to start somewhere. Opening a dialogue is useful, as long as it leads to action and stops being only just dialogue.

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