I have to say right out, I am addicted to technology. I wish I had grown up with more of it so it would be as intuitive to me as I see it is to my grandchildren–and less so, but still more than for me, to my children.
So, when I say that I am in daily communication with my youngest “food blogger” daughter in California (www.foodscape.vanillaplummedia.com), frequently the other three kids, and sometimes even some of the eight grands, I like it. Like when she sent me pictures of her yoga poses to make sure I was doing my stretching and breathing. Instant reminder. I would really miss not having this audio and video connection.
But, I got to reflecting on “the olden days” when I would wait for the mail, the way my cat waits for me to pour her food into her bowl. Great anticipation for a personal note from someone made mail delivery the highlight of my day. Today, as you all know, mail delivery is mostly about junk mail and the stray bill that hasn’t made its way to my online, paperless system. One of my mail carriers even told me that if it weren’t for junk mail, he wouldn’t have a job. Wow. That gave me pause. Sad to say the least, since most of that mail doesn’t even make it inside the house, but goes directly to the grey bin in the driveway.
Yet, I have to say, wonderful as it is to be messaging away, with pictures, of whatever whimsical activity (mostly food and recipes) I am into for the day, and much as I appreciate that instant answer, I do kind of miss that “highlight of the day” mail delivery experience.
It’s a conflict. I love having the daily connections, and that a visit doesn’t seem like we have too much catching up to do. But there is an ordinariness to this instant method, and that makes the virtue of waiting a thing of the past. Patience isn’t the virtue we value anymore, and I suspect that lack of enters into our relationships more than we realize. When we want everything in “now” it brings an entitlement attitude that we see in so many places.
My girlfriend just told me she watched her granddaughter asking her father if he had finished working on her car. It was more of a demand than a request, and there was no tone of gratitude, thanks, and yes, patience, in the question at all. She needed the car, and she wanted it right then–not later.
We don’t wait for much anymore. It’s not only about instant gratification, it’s really about non-stop communication, even when we want to turn it off. We don’t feel we can turn off our phones even to sleep. Granted the old home phone was “on” even when sleeping. But it didn’t beep. chime and buzz every time a Facebook message came in or an email or any of the other “icons, badges, and whatever,” day and night. It usually just rang when someone really needed to talk, especially in the wee hours of the morning.
Of course, I am not the only one to point this out. Nothing new here–except maybe to say that there is value in waiting for something, looking forward to a note from family or friends, and having the excitement involved in having to wait for people, things, and events.
I doubt if that kind of waiting often enters the minds of the young, so used to the instant communication. They don’t need dictionaries, encyclopedias, print media or much else in the way of references, since information is only a click away–however faulty it may be in accuracy, not to mention spelling and grammar. They, and we, can type in a question, or even say it aloud to SIRI for any tiny little wonderment. Who was the star of that TV show? Instant answer. No waiting.
I remember having my daughter put a purchase on layaway, just to try to give her that excitement of anticipation. She had the money for her precious antique trunk at the antique store, but that was her entire savings. I was trying to teach her to leave something in her account, as well as having this wonderful thing to look forward to. Well, my lessons completely backfired. Not only did she not have excitement in waiting, she was very annoyed with me for staging such a silly exercise, in her opinion. She had the money, she wanted the trunk, and she wanted it immediately. (I expect her to comment on this, to reiterate how silly she thought this was.
But, to me, it is not at all silly. Patience is really a virtue, even if we have to construct learning about it.
I wonder a lot about what we lose with our disdain for waiting. Are we more shallow in our relationships–meaning less able to let things work themselves out, rather than demanding instant resolution? For instance, so many of the things in my relationships that used to be annoying, have become so much less important as I have let them go, and not responded immediately to every nuance of behavior or words…as I have allowed maturity to temper my thinking. I have found that most little things resolve themselves as we allow others to also mature. If our happiness depends on demanding instant change or answers, we often worsen the conflict rather than allowing it to mellow.
So enough from me. What do you think? I really want to know.