Life is fabulous right now. We have access to WIFI on airplanes. If we run out of gas, we can immediately call for help on mobile phones and they look nothing like the huge monstrosity carried by Zack Morris on Saved By the Bell. We no longer need a perm or crimping iron to be fashionable. Like I said, life is good.
Sometimes, just sometimes, I kinda miss the old days. I miss awesome cartoons like The Jetsons and iconic toys like Atari. But even more than the things of my past, I miss the experiences. It makes me unbelievably sad that my children won’t know so many of the experiences that shaped my childhood. The truth is that although their lives might just be infinity better, they will be lacking in many ways and that it is a shame.
The sad reality is that my children are going to miss out on some things that every child should have the chance to experience:
Playing at the park all day with friends. This no longer seems to be the world for unsupervised play in the neighbourhood. Some would debate that it never was but I can remember summer days where I was at the park from early morning until late into the evening. With the quick, occasional run home for lunch or a bathroom break. This was the time before constant parental supervision. Where kids were allowed to play with other kids without the ever present plus one. The biggest worry used to be which kid would inevitably get stuck at the top of the jungle gym rocket.
Receiving postcards and letters from friends gone on holidays. I still have postcards from when my friends went on their summer trips to Ireland, Nova Scotia, and Disney Land to name a few. I have saved numerous letters from pen pals around the world. While I love that emails, texts, and social media allows us to communicate freely and instantaneously, they don’t quite replace the beauty of pen and paper. Long before bills overtake their mailboxes, I hope my children will get to experience the magical thrill of receiving a handwritten note from lands that seem so far away.
Eavesdropping on your sibling’s phone conversation on the home phone. Hoping that your sister doesn’t realize you’re listening in on her biggest secrets on the phone in the other room. Because you know if you get found out, you’re headed for a lot of pain. Not to mention, absolutely grounded for life. While it may just be so wrong, it’s also like a rite of passage. It’s just one of those things that you have to go through to get your badge of mischief honour. Damn you, cell phones!
The sense of accomplishment that comes from writing a school paper using an encyclopedia. Trying to sound smarter by including big fancy words with the help of a trusty thesaurus. The physical copies that you held in your hands, knowing they were your saving grace. My children will never know the true joy of finally, finally, finally find that actual research journal in the library that you absolutely need to finish your paper. With the internet, everything is now online and while that’s wonderful, it’s sort of sad too.
Buying street side from the ice cream man. This was one of the best parts of summer holidays. Nothing beats buying street food when you’re a child and the ice cream man was one of my first experiences of that. It was always a rush to find my mom for some change as soon as the bells of the ice cream truck were heard in the near distance! Those ringing bells signal summer for me and it is unfortunate that my daughters might never know that sound.
Those are just a few of the things that I would love for my children to experience but which they most likely won’t. The truth of the matter is that they probably won’t be any less for. They can’t miss what they don’t know. But I do and I can.
What about you? What do you miss?