Is a simple life a better life?

22 07 2008

I’ve found myself pondering this question lately.  It was brought on by a conversation I was apart of over the weekend.   I was sitting there listening to several family members bemoaning the fact that there lives were so “busy” and that technology had made unwelcome advances into their lives.  I listened as “problems” were expounded upon and found myself growing more and more dismayed and also a little upset.  Why do we always seem to remember the past so fondly and look with daunting reservations at the future? 

I’ll preface my remarks by saying that I don’t mean to offend anyone.  This is simply another example of my thought process. 

Sociologists can’t seem to figure out which generation I’m apart of.  I fit into the tail end of Generation X (1965-1981) and the beginning of Generation Y (1981-1994).  I exhibit characteristic’s of both I guess.  I was around for the end of the Cold War and the rise of grunge, both characteristic’s of Gen X.  I’m also apart of the Gen Y rise of Facebook, Youtube, MySpace, etc.  I’m sure that my generational placement factors heavily into my way of thinking but it would be foolish to think that anyone is not affected by their generational views. 

And that brings me back to the question, is a simple life a better life?  I don’t think that I will be able to sway anyone from the opinion that you undoubtedly hold.  My first reaction to the question is very simple.  No, it’s not.  But then I thought about it and I listened to the complaints that were put forth to buttress this person’s point of view.

It seems that in a land far away and long ago there were no cell phones or iPod’s or satellite or email or MySpace and Facebook!  Gasp!  Was this Russia in the 1950’s?  NO!  It was just a few short years ago here in the United States of America.  I struggle to comprehend these dark days!  No, seriously I remember when my parents first got cell phones and I remember the first time I logged onto the internet.  In my mind these inventions and advancements have made my life much better, but to this persons point of view this was the beginning of “the great fall of humanity”.  You know, the one where families became fractured, never sit down to eat dinner together, always planted in front of the boob tube or computer.  Kid’s became uncommunicative zombies as Nintendo and later, Playstations and Xbox’s began to control their life.  I listened as they extolled the virtues of playing outside, family dinners and the like.  The overwhelming question in my mind during this brain numbing recitation was: Why do any of those things have to change?  Was it better to be raised as a child in the 50’s?  The 60’s or the 70’s?  I was raised in the 80’s.  Did I miss out on some of lifes great things because there were different things to do than when my great-grandfather was born? 

All of our live’s have changed and will continue to change as technology advances.  But if you hold to the very limited world view that technology has damaged the family or society then I would beg to differ.  If you can’t sit down to a dinner without the cell phone ringing and you answering it, that’s a you problem!  I remember when I was a kid that family dinners were sacred.  No one answered the phone.  The worlds problems could wait for 30 minutes as we Hurst’s ate and laughed.  I had a Nintendo when I was a kid.  I also had a Sega and currently have a PS2 ( I know I’m lame since I don’t have a PS3 or Xbox 360).  When I was a kid I played outside.  It didn’t matter that I had the latest technology.  The computer was never as fascinating as playing army in the woods or home run derby in Marshall’s back yard.  Once again, if you’re a parent and you can’t get you kid off the computer, that’s a you problem, not a technological one.

So is a simple life better?  Do you really want to go back to horse and buggy?  Who among us wants to be 16 again?  Not me.  I was like a baby giraffe at 16.  I could barely walk without falling down.  Granted, not much has changed.  Why do some people always want to go back into the past?  I loved my childhood and wouldn’t change a thing.  But I sure don’t want to go back and revisit those days.  They were great but I like my “complicated life” very much thank you.  Technology has changed the world but it doesn’t have to change your “quality” of life.  if it has then you need to revisit what makes you..well you.  I’m not who I am because I have a Blackberry or a laptop.  I am who and what I am because I choose to be this way.  It’s a very simple minded approach to blame the ills of your life on anything other than your personal choices.  Of course, we live in an enablement society.  Nothing is our own fault anymore but I would encourage you to take a different view and make your life what you want it to be.  Don’t let sociological, economic, or any other type of factors determine who you are or your quality of life. 

Is simple better?  Maybe it was.  However, every generation and time period has its good points and bad points.  I’m glad that I live in the here and now.  I like that I’m crazy busy and that my life is anything but simple.  At least with technology I can call my parents on their cell phones at anytime to make sure the rapture hasn’t taken place and I’ve been left behind (all of you pentecotal PK’s will get that!).

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8 responses

22 07 2008
Jana Allard

WOW! I am really behind in blog reading. Just in case you don’t go back several days to look for new comments, let me say here your second music post needs to be published in the Pentecostal Herald and sent to all youth committees.

Now about this post – I laughed and I also agreed. Thank God for cell phones! LOL

You must be busy! Although I can’t imagine anything that would keep you from the jewels that you find here! HA. I’m glad you enjoyed the post’s. Something is wrong with me lately, I’ve been thinking! Scary.

22 07 2008
Mark Pryor

This is a great post. BTW I also agree with Jana that the second post on music was excellent.

Thanks.

22 07 2008
Linda

Nathaniel, I enjoyed this post very much! The way you explained the “generational thinking” was good, then it made me feel good that we can enjoy our “technology” and still “live in the slow lane of life”. It is a CHOICE we all make! Do we want to make “memories” that last for life, or go about our day in such a fast pace that we can’t even “remember” what we did? THANKS!

Hey. Hope your feeling better. I really enjoyed growing up. I’ve always hated it when people look at me like I missed something because of when I grew up. I had a blast.

We all have a choice about how we live. Hopefully we’ll make the right ones!

23 07 2008
Karla Holley

Again I agree wholeheartedly with you!! And I LOVE the fact that we can call someone’s cell phone at ANY moment! LOL!!

Just don’t call me at 2:30 in the morning! I won’t answer and you’ll think that the rapture has taken place!

23 07 2008
ryanaustindean

Last paragraph: the most frightening moment of my life is when I woke up one Saturday with my whole family gone, cars still in garage, and the house (and neighborhood) eerily silent.

I cried on the floor in the living room. I was probably 12. I will never recover.

24 07 2008
iluv2prshim

Another great post.
Last paragraph: I came home from school one day and a pot of water was boiling on the stove. The cars were in the driveway and NO ONE was home. I started to cry and ran over to the church (we lived right across the street). And of course that is where I found Mother and Daddy. Whew! They had walked over to check on something. I don’t think Mother ever left water on the stove again. LOL

24 07 2008
J. Wilder

Than, I still miss “Mayberry”! 🙂
Well stated, post. Especially the part about choices.

18 08 2008
danelle

Last paragraph!!! in the new house I woke up at really late one night and as I was going down the stairs I saw u weren’t in your room! I thought maybe ya’ll were dowstairs talking. But mom and dad were both gone too and noone was answering their phones!!! Ya’ll had gone to whataburger and driven by the new church!! I thought the tribulation was about to begin! I had been left behind because I talked on the phone to my bf past my curfew!! Ya’ll had a good laugh at me and I got the phone taken out of my room!!!

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