The Age-Old Question about Technology

Remember when you were a child? Did your parents ever tell you to turn the music down?

Like most kids I could never understand when my parents told me that the music was too loud or it was just noise. When I grumbled they said that one day, when I grew up, I would understand. Well, I grew up and I still don’t understand.

As a teenager I could never understand when adults said that they were not interested in “new-fangled” technology, and “Oh, I could never learn something new now. I’ll leave it to the young-people.” You know people like that right?

Since these people are perfectly intelligent individuals holding down responsible jobs and have families I can only think that it’s got to do with their personal beliefs. I mean, do they think themselves no longer capable of learning new things?

I was recently at a family lunch and heard the same conversation I seem to hear more and more when getting together with people I went to school with.

It goes something like this:

“Facebook, I’ll never be on Facebook, it’s a waste of time.”

“…I’m not interested in other peoples twits (sic), it’s like stalking.”

“I don’t have time to waste on the internet. I’ve got better things to do.”

Does this sound familiar?

I wonder if it’s because they feel like outsiders and worry about ridicule since groups of internet savvy people can come across as being in closed ‘cliques’ with their own terms, customs, codes, slang and mannerisms?

It’s well known that communicating in a mutually understood and exclusive code allows a feeling of bonding between individuals.

In this context there are 2 types of “cliques” – the clique who wants to try new technologies and trends, and the clique who doesn’t. Both are closed groups and the apparent “cliquiness” may be unintended and perceived as arrogant exclusivity.

Neither is right nor wrong. It’s simply two ways of viewing the world.

Perhaps some people resist new technology only because it’s an unknown. Or perhaps they fear technology because it takes effort to learn how to use it rather than fearing the technology itself. I’m convinced that once their interest is sparked they’ll embrace it, like my parents, who’ve both embraced technology. And they were the ones that told me to turn the music down!

So where does that leave me? I love gadgets and new technology. I’m an early adopter of almost all tech I can think of. If it’s new, I want to try it. I don’t consider myself better than other people who shy away from new technology.It’s just that I don’t ever want to stagnate or to stop learning. One can never learn enough.

It’s useful to remember that what is ‘old technology’ to some was once new technology to the older generation. To the younger generation ‘new technology’ isn’t new, it’s always been there, since they can’t remember a time before that when it didn’t exist.  The older generation may have grown up with, for example, wireless transistor radio. They used it, embraced it, took it for granted even, never even thinking of a time before radio was invented.

Yes, logically they would know that over time inventions have occurred, but our perceptions are perhaps not based on logic and from the moment we are old enough to be aware of ourselves and our surroundings, that is the world we reach for and use.

Perhaps the trick is to just remember to keep on doing that. And keep the music loud and clear. Don’t you agree?

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Friendships seasonal and evergreen

My first friend, Isabelinha (left) with me on the right - wasn't I cutie pie?
My first friend, Isabelinha (left) with me on the right – wasn’t I cutie pie?

I am blessed with many friends, some of whom have been with me for almost 40 years.

Like most Moms, mine kept a baby album which I treasure above all others. In it are photos of my very first friends.

I vividly remember Isabelinha. Her parents were neighbours of my Great-Grandparents and she was a few years older than me. She had a younger sister and we were all friends until I left to live in another country.

About the time I turned 6 another little girl came to live next door. Her name was Mercedes. Very soon we became friends, and the trio because a quartet. It was not a happy quartet. Mercerdes was closer in age to Isabelinha and they became quite close. I felt the tendrils of jealousy enclose my heart as I was left behind on adventures, skipping and hopscotch on the pavement.

Strangely Mercedes and I also became good friends. Such are the ways of children. The day I left was the last time I saw them.

In my adopted country my first friend was again a neighbour. We went to the same school and in the afternoons one of us used to holler the other’s name over the wall – the daily call to play. When my family moved to another town we exchanged letters and birthday gifts. We started seeing less of each other, the letters becoming less frequent until we completely lost touch.

We grew up and moved on with our lives, the young girls we were became young women. We didn’t accompany each other’s maturing. When we met, as adults, we found that we had little in common. The strands of family and childhood memories got frailer as ethereal time became physical space. We again lost touch until recently, with the wonder of Facebook, we found each other again.

Friends for a season have come and gone. On close examination I know they were in my life for a reason. There was never a definite ending to these friendships, no acrimony or harsh words. Just an ebbing of contact, of not needing to be together anymore. They came for a season and the season moved on. Their friendship is part of who I have become and in my heart they  will always be my friends, never strangers.

Then there are the evergreen friends. You know the ones I mean. Those that are with us all the time. Distance and time are of no consequence because each time we meet after being apart for a few years, we pick up where we left off. There is no strangeness or a need to re-establish rapport because it is always there. There is a familiarity, a recognition that goes beyond the present.

Many live in other countries and we meet every few years.

During the first day of high school I noticed a girl in the same class as me not wearing the official dark green school jersey. Her jersey was light green and as our eyes met across the classroom I knew that we were going to be friends.

Our friendship was strengthened with movies and burgers at the Wimpy, our parents taking turns driving us to the mall. Initially we were 2, then 3, and by the time we got to grade 10 we were a group of 5. This quintet became quite close.

We stayed close during our student years, got married within 2 years of each other, celebrated the birth of children and showed off our first homes.

These are friendships with the unforgettable bonds of firsts – first boyfriends, first kisses, first break-up heartaches, first successes and first failures.

And then there are those friendships forged with the insight of adulthood have the established deep roots of shared values and beliefs. These are the friends I share with openly, my fears, dreams and secrets, those who know me better than I know myself, those who encourage me and also tell me when I’m being silly or unrealistic. There’s a saying that friends are the family we choose for ourselves – these are they.

Friends have come into my life for a season of growth and then left. Others have come and have stayed in my life, season after season, my evergreen friends. I am grateful for them all.

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