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Remember Back Then?

March 18, 2010

I realized that I was being a hypocrite.  My son Jack came and had lunch with me today.  I have been on his case for not returning my calls, my texts, my pleas for some type of communication.  Last year at this time, Jack would be making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at home and now he lives out at Pleasure Point doing what young guys do when they are 19 years old and free.  Jack graduated from Harbor High last year and then had the summer of dreams.  First a month in Europe, he even ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain and then a couple of weeks in Brazil.  They weren’t rich kid parent paid trips, he has friends who live part-time in France and Brazil.  When he returned, he had tasted independence and he moved out with in a couple of months.  I am happy for him.  

Jack and friends, senior prom

Jacks Graduation

  So why am I a hypocrite?  It has to do with the calling thing.  I am one of those people who think it is way better to be outside living your life than hanging around waiting for a cell phone call.  My kids have heard it all their lives.  Then what did I do?  I had a fit because Jack wasn’t connected to me by means of that phone.  I don’t even like talking on the phone.  When Jack came to meet me, I could tell he was fresh out of the ocean.  He looks good, he seems centered.  We talked about the subjects that every parent wants to hear about , like the challenges of living in a hovel with roommates, being broke and figuring out school versus work, and I remembered going through those very same things when I was 19, except the biggie.  

We did not have cell phones, so we were free from the tether of insistent communication.  When I turned 19 years old in 1977, I was finishing up my freshman year at UC Santa Barbara.  Without telling my parents, I decided to take a break from college.  I packed all my things into my ’68 Dodge Dart and found a place to rent in the middle of the boonies behind Lexington Reservoir (there were way less people back then and Highway 17 only had a double yellow line between north and southbound directions).  I got myself a dog and a horse, a job as a waitress and did whatever the hell I wanted.   I took the long, convoluted route to my eventual college degree, but the experiences I lived through then taught me who I am, who I want to be still, a person that needs the outside world like food and water.  Those years may very well be the anchor and/or root of my theme today, Personal Evolution Through Outdoor Experience.  

Jack & Grandpa

Jack and I talked about not having to communicate daily with anyone and he said he wished it was still that way.  I felt sad for his generation at that moment, because the complexity of their personal lives is so much more intense with the sheer enormity of technology at their fingertips.  Their biggest loss seems to be in the area of their personal privacy.  I told my son, and I tell everyone, since it is my thing, that we can all still have that peace.  We can toss the phone into the car or leave it at home, and head out into the woods or paddle out into the ocean, or shop at the farmer’s market, without our little rectangular friend.  It is a loyal friend who will wait for us, we can leave it unattended for a couple of hours or a couple of days.  There is no risk, only gain.   

Our world has gone from simple to complex, but there does always seem to be an eternal return, a coming back around to what was before us.  I love my laptop and the ability to be connected to my family, for example when I am on a road trip, but it is easy for me to find a middle ground at my age.  Every generation must face their own challenges and the number of challenges seem to increase exponentially with the boom in population and technological advance.  Perhaps this younger generation needs more of a privacy break, the space to breathe fresh air and find our what makes them tick.  

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 18, 2010 7:28 pm

    You have it exactly right!! When I turn off my phone for a week or two, it is like a weight being lifted off me! I think part of the reason I am on phone number 200 is because I have a general dislike for the ol’ cell phone! I drop them, loose them, break them, drop in the dishwater… oh boy. I always have paid for my cell phone, and now being 21 living on my own, I do long for a house phone but have not made the switch yet! I have probably spent thousands on new cell phones, refurbished, taking families old phones, the list goes on and on and on… People are attached to their cell phones like it is their missing body part, and you might die if you leave it in the car or it dies or if it is not on your person at ALL TIMES!! How have we gotten here? Where you need to be in constant contact with everyone, FaceBook on your phone, MySpace, E-mails pinging at all hours of the night waking you up. Everyone- lets take a break from the phones! Let’s liberate ourselves from ourselves!!! 🙂

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