As I sit here at my computer, I think about how lucky I am to have what I have. I have a decent life, I have a lovely husband, a son who I love, a mother, a father and a brother who are all in good health. I live in a nice house on an island. The weather here is warm most of the time, with mild winters.
I have my ups and downs. I’ve had bad health, and still do sometimes, but it could be worse. I enjoy my days here. I play around on the computer, I do study courses, I tweak my website, I update a database for a voluntary organisation. I love technology. I love all the things that are available to me here, at my fingertips. I wonder what I used to do before I became reasonably technologically ‘savvy,’ and how easily I made the transition from ‘the good old days.’
I remember when I was a kid, a hard drive was the one we went on at Christmas time up to our beach house, where we didn’t even have a phone. We had to walk a mile up the road to use the local phone booth, but who cared? We didn’t need to call anybody. We were too busy being kids and having a good time. And what about discs? They were something we threw around on the beach for fun to pass the time. The only information you could store on that was your name, in black texta, just in case the kid up the road tried to nick it.
Everything moved more slowly, and telegrams were the fastest mail ever. I could send one, and if I was lucky, the person I was sending it to would get it on the same day. Wow! Now all I have to do is type a little, click a button, and somebody on the other side of the world would read this within seconds. Wow!
I had fun when I was a kid. On the weekends and holidays I went out in the morning, and didn’t come home until just on sunset. I was a skilled builder of tree houses, wooden boats for the creek, and bonfires for cracker night. I didn’t stay inside much. Outside was always a much more interesting prospect. I didn’t have video games, I had board games, but even then that was only when I had nothing else to do and it was raining. I was fit and active. I was healthy and covered in dirt most of the time, I fell over, broke bones, split skin. And I survived.
I blew up the shed in the backyard when I was 13 years old. I fell out of a tree and broke my arm at 14. I played chicken with a goods train on the local train track on a bridge at 15. I nearly drowned at 16. And I’m still here.
I grew up alongside a fledgling technological age, and I slowly embraced it as we both moved forward. I went to Tafe and university to learn more about this new age, while hanging onto the old ways.
I am really lucky. I have grown up in two worlds. The old and the new. I like both of them equally, and I move backwards and forwards between the two of them on a regular basis. I need to do this. As essential as my online world of business and learning is to me, it’s not the be all and end all. It’s not good for me to stay glued to the computer screen for too long. It’s nice to take a break and walk along the beach and dig my toes into the sand, and just be me.
I think about the kids that have been born in the last 15 years and I wonder if they will ever get the opportunity to do the things that I have done, or will their opportunities be dictated by the new technological age?
Perhaps they will seek out their tree houses and wooden boats in different ways, and develop virtual spaces where they can interact and form social alliances that I have yet to imagine. I can’t imagine it, just like somebody from the turn of the last century couldn’t imagine how we would be living our lives now.
It’s all relevant to space and time, and who you are. I will keep on moving with the technological age as best as I can, and as much as I would like. I may get left behind in the rush in my later years, but who knows? I may become a cyber senior citizen, a grey haired non-nomad who would rather see the sights of the world in a virtual hologram than in a Winnebago. Wow!