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Returning to 2014

Over the last few years and increasingly frequently I find myself in conversations about technology, whether it be the good, the bad or the ugly. Innovations such as smartphones have impacted our day to day so much that we cannot imagine or remember what life was like without them. In fact, apparently over 40% of people worldwide own more than one, myself included. Who can remember a time when you actually memorized phone numbers?

And how many cars have GPS nowadays? No matter how nonsensical their monotone direction, we have come to rely on their robotic guidance without question. How many times have we heard about people following blindly only to end up in swamps or worse?

Not to mention that long gone are the days when you would have to buy a roll of film, load it into your camera and ration each image as though it were laced with gold. Now, with a few quick clicks of your phone you can have selfies at your fingertips instantly, special effects and all.

Technological innovations amplify the already-known fact that the tides of change are relentless and ongoing. Some will embrace the change and some will resist. I know some who harken back to "simpler" days when people used the phone for talking, took the time to handwrite notes, and even made mixed music tapes (yes 8 track cassettes) for their high school crush. We are all guilty of reminiscing the past, focusing on the good, and forgetting the bad.

There is no doubt that receiving a letter or phone call can be heartwarming, now more than ever. But there is equally no question that we have gained greatly by the innumerable conveniences tied to modern technology...and that in the process of change there is often a trade off.

Consider this recent example of a family of four who lived as though it were 1986. Mullets aside, they had no computers or cell phones for an entire year. Though they felt distanced from their greater circle of friends and family, theirs was ultimately a lesson in communication; an appreciation of shared time as a family without the distraction of technology.

But remember, there have always been distractions, countless reasons not to spend time doing something or other. Is technology the modern scapegoat? Remember, we can still make that phone call, or take a walk with our kids, or use a map. It takes time, but rest assured time today moves as it did in the 80s. There still is no technology to change that.


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