My younger sister, Adrianna, and I don’t live in the same town, so when we do get together, it is not uncommon for us to get into some deep conversations. We were sharing drinks one night, and she asked me if I thought the present is better or worse than when I was younger.
I said, both?
You hear people talk about how bad things are today. But this seems to be a common theme with each new generation. It is hard to separate whether things are better or worse or if we are just getting pounded with more and more information to consume.
The rapid acceleration of technology has created more highly specialized fields of study, bots to replace labor, and products available to meet our every whim. With so many things connected through the IoT, we can practically wrap ourselves in a cocoon if we want. We have the means to work from home, buy groceries, clothes, and other goods, pay bills, and be “social,” all without leaving the couch.
It is ironic, though, what great lengths we take to separate ourselves from others, yet nothing we do is private anymore. Social media is about sharing, yet we grapple with questions of privacy. (Short answer: whether you like it or not, once you put it out there, it’s out there for the world to see.) With this rise in technology, I also think we are losing many tangible forms of self-expression and connection. We are seeing fewer written letters and home-cooked family meals at the dinner table. People stay buried in phones and computers at the expense of eye contact and meaningful conversation. With the disappearance of paper and pen writing, you compromise complex processing and introspection and lose the ability to connect with your thoughts and work.
But without the pervasiveness of the internet, I wouldn’t be able to work from anywhere I want. And it wouldn’t allow me the platform to earn a living while I am traveling home to see my family, to healthcare appointments with my husband, or on those much-needed vacations.
So I guess I can’t say whether the present is better or worse. Every generation has its “Elvis.” Our challenge is adapting to the world and the way it is changing around us and WORKING TOGETHER to make the best of it.
Here are my sister’s thoughts on whether the past or present is better: For me, the present is better. Being in college, learning, being immersed in a community of people who are bettering themselves, and figuring out my place in the world and my passion really makes me feel… good. I mean, it’s beyond stressful being a broke college student, but I deal with stress and understand more about how to conduct myself and deal with everyday obstacles better now than I did when I was younger.
I have a romantic view of the world. I try to see the beauty and purpose of all things. I know that things won’t ever be ideally what we want them to be, but there is a lesson to be learned in everything. There is nothing that could happen that would be SO BAD that one could not recover from it. I think the present is better, and it’s only going to get better.
That’s our take. What do you think?