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I miss the way things were earlier in my lifetime when I was younger and life seemed simpler. I suppose it’s a common phenomenon of growing older that change can leave a lot of our lives unrecognizable or just a wee bit uncomfortable. It’s inevitable, there are cycles in life, natural lifespans, and popularity, which impacts what we’re surrounded by each day we live. Everything and everybody which once surrounds us will ultimately fall victim to time’s passing, especially upon hitting mid-life. And the hardest part of growing old is watching all that is familiar give way to something new, different, or otherwise unfamiliar to us. Change is surely inevitable, but not always preferential! And accepting change is the most challenging but essential aspect of aging! Especially at a time like this when everything seems to change so much more rapidly than in years and generations prior. Perhaps we live in the time of the most significant change societies have ever had to absorb since the beginning of human existence in the world. I cannot say for sure, as I only live in this time.

 

Surely the earliest of human beings had to deal with a lot of perceptible development, just by becoming adults. There were significant and momentous developments visible through the ages, much like those evident during the industrial revolution or with the development of language in each culture over time. But these days, keeping up with things is literally imperative to know the ever-changing colloquial language, as well as all that which influences daily life. Imagine what would become of someone unfamiliar with even the most simple of technological developments these days? If someone didn’t know how to use a portable, instantaneous form of communicating such as a cell phone, they would probably feel very ignorant in this contemporary world! We’re able to instantly communicate, nearly everywhere in the world. We can speak, write, and even render our thoughts across the globe in seconds! Without an awareness of the internet, cell phones, computers, or other forms of technology, people would be clueless about much of the world’s modern functionality!  

And in that reflection, there are people in the world alive today who had the earliest form of telephone service available. They first had landlines which required operators to connect a call or which had multiple party connections, which meant negotiating for phone usage, and took considerable time for connecting from one place only miles away to others. A phone call was a great luxury when the telephone first became a household staple and even having a phone was not guaranteed in every household as a cell phone is expected to be these days. Having a telephone was a privilege one had to be able to afford to actually have. It was not that long ago that many of us living today had hard-wired phones, hanging on our walls or sitting on our tables. We had to manually dial all the numbers on a large rotary dial and we couldn’t move beyond the distance the length of the curled connecting cord between the base and the handset allowed. We didn’t always get through instantaneously because it took more time to actually dial, especially long distance, and there were often either interruptions or perhaps the line would be busy already. I’m surely not an expert on the history of such technology, but I lived through several technological changes over my lifetime which developed into the instantaneous, wireless, global service we have today! If Maxwell Smart were alive and spying today, would he even bother with a shoe phone? 

When I think of all the changes which I’ve witnessed and absorbed in my lifetime, I’m often disturbed by the pace of things! It’s not necessarily all that comfortable to grow old with things always changing, as things don’t often change for the better! As we age, change seems to be more prolific and more impactful such as with more of our family and friends passing away. It’s a matter of time’s natural passing and lifespan. We merely have to learn to become more accepting of living without those with whom we were first closely surrounded. And we must learn to let go of a lot of regular aspects of our daily lives. All things and people have a natural lifespan, including the familiar businesses, places, and landmarks of our communities and our hometowns. Everything comes and goes, with some random time pattern, not always of our choosing! It’s just a part of life. We might really enjoy a restaurant, perhaps we’re even regulars there,  we become our own version of “Norm!” from Cheers (a sitcom from the 1980’s) to some group we routinely encounter there. But then that place suffers from an economic downturn or the owners choose to retire, or some other random incident causes its closure. That happens repeatedly as we age, especially if we stay in the same place over a long period of time. We take notice of changes, of communities shifting and changing in demographics, in population, in prosperity, and economically. Landscapes with which we have great familiarity seem to morph into something unfamiliar and all-too-new. Change without our developing sense of acceptance is just unsettling.   

I often wish I could keep more of the familiar people and places in my life, sans change! It isn’t always comfortable or easy to accept a lot of the change which comes with age and with time’s passing. But acceptance is a strange bedfellow because it enables us to make as much peace as possible with something which inherently at first feels uncomfortable or unpleasant. And getting better at accepting things is making my life easier, even with all the bombardment of change which now seems “normal” at this time period of my life. I can’t go back to a time when life seemed simpler or easier, and I cannot slow life down to make it seem more tolerable. This life is going at a pace which requires my constant endurance and daily acceptance! And I work each new day to keep those muscles flexing for the fevered pace of change we’re experiencing in 2017! Who knows what is coming next in the world, by way of technological developments, or in my own community? It’s all constantly changing and morphing into a new version of today, each new tomorrow!

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