The Big Tradeoff

January 31, 2015

There were plenty of things that were wrong with my generation but there were a lot of things that were right with it, too. I think the thing I miss most about it is that we learned how to entertain ourselves without the necessity to buy everything that came out on the market. There was also a lot less “keeping up with the Joneses” in my day because the Joneses had about as much as we had and consumerism had not yet come into vogue.

We worked harder for our money and took more pride in our work and I miss that part of our culture. Perhaps the thing I don’t miss is that we were satisfied with so little that the middle class didn’t struggle to do better. They didn’t feel compelled to go beyond their lifestyle.

The middle class stayed in one job for most of their working life and most of them were loyal to their employers because their employers took care of them. We didn’t need two incomes to support our lifestyle and yet we found time and money to go on vacations and to do things with our family.

When I look at how little we needed, it’s dismaying to see how very much we need now and how we don’t seem to be happy with what we have. We don’t even go on vacations and spend time with our families anymore because wherever we go, the ubiquitous cell phones go with us, spoiling that family time, spoiling our vacations.

There’s no doubt that technology has made our lives easier but I’m not quite sure if it’s made our lives more interesting. It seems to me that when you have to depend on your own ingenuity to entertain yourself, you get a lot more gratification out of it than when you play with store-bought games.

Of course, there are arguments on both sides of the issue. There’s no doubt that many of these technological devices teach you a great deal about life and develop certain parts of your brain, but it also takes away the necessity to develop those things on your own and it diminishes the average person’s desire to discover new ways of being happy with what he has.

The scary part of this age of technology is that its usage becomes addictive and people spend less time with friends in the real world because they are so caught up in their virtual world. When people prefer to engage in social media sites rather than go out with their friends, it’s plain to see why we’re seeing so many people who are suffering from depression.

I just wish we could have combined the best of both worlds.

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