Yesterday was filled with cursing and gnashing of teeth. I was working on my website for a fair portion of the day, and that often leads to such things. So then I began to wax nostalgic about life before the digital age. I suppose that’s confirmation that I am officially old.
I miss real, honest-to-goodness letters with rain spots on the envelopes and smudges from where they were written at the kitchen table just after supper. I miss phone calls feeling special and never wanting them to end because I wasn’t sure when the next word from that loved one would come. I miss digging through pieces of scrap paper looking for the recipe Mama wrote down the last time we were all together. Because if the recipe wasn’t either tucked away in my mind or written down, it was gone forever, and the search itself was always like a trip down memory lane. I miss borrowing a book from my sister or my brother or my mom or dad and knowing their fingers had rifled the pages before mine, wondering what scenes were their favorites. I miss mix tapes painstakingly made for gifts. I miss the winding trails of thought where my mind would wander without an internet to tempt it.
But then today, when I had to complete a metric butt load of paperwork, I was amazed how much more easily and how much more quickly the process went when I could just digitally fill it out and sign it. And when I wondered what show this guy on “Sneaky Pete” had been in before, being able to answer that question in about thirty seconds of Google searching was pretty fantastic. I love carrying around my work in progress, my email, my list of ideas, access to all the information on the internet, an art pad, my photography portfolio, and hundreds of books on something barely bigger than a legal pad.
Maybe the trick is adopting and adapting to the new technology without completely casting aside the old ways. Maybe we text for the little things but then, every now and then, set aside the distractions, pick up the phone, and dedicate some time to listening to what someone needs for us to hear them say. Maybe we cook a perfect dinner from our Pinterest boards so that we can share it with someone we love and linger over dessert. Maybe we email paperwork and internet links but sit down and put pen to paper now and again and send a letter that a far away relative can hold in her hands.
Maybe we remember that nothing is all good or all bad and bring along the sweet parts of the past into the wonders of the present.