If you go back far enough in time, you might remember a day when kids wrote letters to pen-pals in far away places like across the whole country even and sending letters cost less than 25 cents each. High schoolers had to plan out whole Friday nights in school that day so everyone would know where and when to meet. People went to stores and bought CDs (and tapes) and listened to entire albums at one time. And the nightly new was still the most current and fastest way to get reliable information about what was going on in the world. That has to be ancient history, right? I mean, mp3s, cell phones, text, Twitter, Skype, and the death of mainstream media has been around for what, forever? Oh, wait, that was my life growing up.
Yesterday was my birthday, and while it wasn’t a particularly memorable one as far as birthdays go, it was a day that I slept in my own bed, hung out with my family, and had a relatively stress free life. If you pay any attention to world events, you know that a major earthquake did its best to destroy a country two days ago. My low key day seems outstanding in comparison.
We just started a new decade. 10 years ago I was in high school and had just turned 18. For reference to those younger than I am, that was before the very first iPod had been invented. The world has changed – we are connected with people around the world in ways that were unthinkable then. And if you choose to immerse yourself in it, the world is a scary and terrible place.
Between terrorism, the failing economy, sky high unemployment and foreclosure rates, and natural disasters, I’m not sure how most people manage to set foot outside their door in the morning. I hear conflicting reports about how wonderful it is to be American and free and how terrible it is to be American, fat, spoiled, and lazy. It’s hard to know if we should be proud or ashamed to live in land of privilege.
I often tell people that I don’t feel like a grown-up. Maybe this is what is meant by the phrase “a kid at heart”. Being a grown-up means you have to care about all these really big and really scary things. I watch the news. I read news websites. I admit that over one third of my life has occurred since I could legally buy tobacco products. I have a child of my own, a mortgage, and a desk job. Sounds grown-upish to me.
And now I daughter who has no idea what all of this means. She doesn’t know that there was an earthquake and some hundred-thousand people may be dead. She doesn’t know how many miles we live from the last terrorist attack or that our state has a huge budget deficit that will affect her mother’s occupation. I know that someday, she’ll be aware of it all. She’ll get information in ways that I can’t imagine.
But for now, her biggest concern is the fact the spatula we gave her to play with fell on the floor.
Yeah, my age may be climbing, but I’m so not ready to be an adult.