I’m glad I got to live in the world that was

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I love digital technology. I love having all the information in the world at my fingertips. I love how social media enables me to connect with people all over the globe. I love the explosion of gorgeous drone videos on YouTube, through which I can get a bird’s eye view of every corner of the world, from Alaska to Tasmania. And I love the amazing remote work opportunities that wouldn’t have been possible (or at least so convenient) without Google Docs, Skype, and PayPal.

Nevertheless, I’m glad I was born and got to live part of my life in a period when the world seemed to spin more slowly.

A world where you had to learn to use encyclopedia and dictionary indexes if you wanted to obtain information.

A world where you could miss a call and you never knew who called because there was no digital display of the caller’s number.

A world where you would take a photo without immediately being able to view it on a digital screen. You’d have to go to have your vacation photos developed in a photographer’s shop, and there were always some surprises (for better or worse).

A world where you actually still got to receive handwritten letters with beautiful stamps – I do feel lucky to still be in touch with people with whom I started to correspond before email was a thing.

A world where, if you wanted to buy something, you’d either have to visit or call stores in your area, or browse through mail order catalogs (remember those?!)

A world where you couldn’t listen to whatever song you wanted, whenever, wherever on YouTube – if a song you loved was playing on the radio, you’d stop and listen, and maybe hurry to record it on a cassette.

Being Orthodox Jewish, I still get to experience this simpler, unhurried, not-so-distant-past world every week. From the time candles are lit on Friday afternoon and until Saturday night, we look up words in a physical dictionary, knock on a neighbor’s door rather than text, and have no way to tell the time if we happen to go out without a wristwatch.

This weekly digital detox is so healing that I honestly believe everyone needs periodic unplugging in their lives.

I’d love to hear from you. What do you miss the most from the pre-internet world?

Author: Anna

An Orthodox Jewish wife and mother enjoying a simple life with her family and chickens, somewhere in the hills, in Israel.

9 thoughts on “I’m glad I got to live in the world that was”

  1. I miss writing and receiving letters from penpals overseas, the excitement of checking the postbox and seeing the beautiful stamps and foreign postmarks and being able to keep the correspondence in a special place.

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  2. We woke up Saturday morning to discover somebody had hit the pole out side our home and knocked it over, taking the junction box with it. We had no cable service most of the day – no phone, no Internet, no email. It was *wonderful!* I’m always amazed at how much I can accomplish when I don’t hear the siren call of the computer in the den.

    In some ways, I prefer using the encyclopedia. I can stick a piece of paper in a book to mark my place, and find it more quickly than trying to go back online to look it up. The biggest benefit has always been “getting lost”. When I was a kid, one way for Mum to get me out of her hair was to send to to look up something. I’d go from topic to topic, reading first this and then that, and come to the surface an hour or so later. To tell the truth, I’m still that way!

    But I do miss getting real honest-to-goodness mail. Most of what comes today goes directly into the recycle bin.

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    1. This is great. I have discovered that the more I put my phone away and go out to garden, take care of the chickens, hang out with the kids, etc, without being constantly on call – the better it is for my mental health.

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      1. So far, I have resisted the siren call of a cell phone. The Squire has one, but I do not. Actually, I have an ancient flip-phone, which serves me quite well, but I don’t know the number, so I can’t have anybody call me on it.

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      2. You don’t know how lucky you are. A smartphone basically means you can never relax. I need it for the work messenger apps but I try to be without it at least part of the day. It’s both incredibly efficient and a huge time waster.

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  3. In some ways, I do miss the world that was…I was born long before women’s lib…and THEN at least in public, women AND LITTLE GIRLS were treated like ladies…men ALWAYS held the doors open for us…and NEVER SLAMMED THEM IN OUR FACE, or got into a foot race to get in the door first…and actually? Other than better pay for women, though my daughter’s tell me that they are still treated in inferior ways, I just do not see that it has helped the plight of women that much. Men never swore in front of women and children…and oh my, women especially never swore in the “old days”. Manners mattered. They still do…if only everyone would get on that train. It just makes for a much smoother working world when there are manners. And nowadays, very few even know a fig about the 10 WORDS…or practice them. It is not a wonder we are in the mess we are in. Thankfully, here and there, there are some who still remember and practice them. I am grateful for a few things about the internet, but it is a nasty place and causes much grief in families too. I still write letters to people…and enjoy so doing. But rarely do I receive one…especially once my mom died. Those letters I was able to save (during our many moves) are so precious to me. One day perhaps the world will wake up to what they are missing eh?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your insight, Elizabeth. It’s fascinating to hear from folks who were born LONG before the accelerated globalization the internet brought.

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    2. Elizabeth, I absolutely agree with you. With modern technology we may have gained in doing things faster and easier, but we lost much more in relationships and the way we treat each other.

      Susan

      Liked by 1 person

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