Yes, today I turn 70 years old. No, not 70 years young…70 years old. I am not ashamed of my age, I’ve earned every one of those years and I intend to claim them!
I was treated to breakfast at La Madeleine’s this morning, one of my favorite places to go. The food was fantastic as usual: Quiche Florentine, Potato Galette, fresh sliced bread with preserves and coffee.
However…on the way there, riding along in the truck, I was looking out the window and wondered…
What would our ancestors have thought of our world today, could they see it through my eyes? Poles of all sizes, shapes and kinds which have replaced millions of trees, sticking up all over out of the ground, concrete, metal and glass everywhere the eye can see with only patches of green and appointed trees here and there being passed off as landscaping. Wires, transformers, coils, signs, advertising, etc., etc.
I believe they would hang their heads and cry.
Recently I replied to a post on Facebook when a middle aged lady said that she thought she was living in a much better world today than the one her grandparents lived in. She preferred living in a diversified neighborhood after living in all kinds of situations, including affluent areas. That is beside the point, actually. The point I was making was that our grandparents had a much better world. I said it was sad. Yes, we do have some improvements today. There has been progress, but at what cost?
Today, people are scared to death to let their children run around their own neighborhoods for fear they will be shot or they may never see them again. I remember leaving the house after breakfast and sometimes not showing up again until dinner time. It wasn’t because my mother didn’t care where I was; it was because she had all the names and phone numbers of all my friends…and besides, she basically knew where we would be, riding our bikes around the neighborhood park about a mile away. I grew up in that kind of world. A world where talking to strangers was the polite thing to do, not something fearful. A world where when a police officer told someone to “Stop,” they stopped because they knew if they didn’t a warning shot would be whizzing over their head.
My children grew up playing in a smaller neighborhood, but still, they took off on their own. I had the names and phone numbers (addresses as well) of all their friends. They would check in now and then, no not on cell phones but actually ride their bikes home and say, “Hi, Mom.” Maybe grab a bite for lunch or a snack and out the door again they went until dinner time. They didn’t spend their whole day on a computer.
Ah…now there’s another piece of progress.
The computer. Yes, I’m glad we have it because I’m an author and my work is much easier done on the computer, the research is easier, the editing is easier. But—
When I see a child outside riding a skateboard or their bike, it’s always a surprise today. Most spend their days in front of a screen, PC or cell or Ipad or notebook, staying in touch with…who? Looking up stuff they probably don’t need to be seeing or even knowing about? Talking to people they don’t know and sometimes shouldn’t know?
My reflection of today’s world is pretty bleak. I think our grandparents had a much better world regardless of what the lady on Facebook said. Yes, they were probably poorer, had less advances in medicine, had less “adult toys,” had only one means of transportation for the family, didn’t have a dishwasher, maybe not even a washer and dryer and certainly not A/C or TV, much less the computer. But I believe they had something we have lost. Peace of mind and a beautiful country, at least more of it than we have. And their grandparents? I wonder…
Yes, we have progress…but at what cost?