So the year is 1988 and Kevin and I are living in Indianapolis. The only means of communication are still in person, landline phone and letter writing. Seems very antiquated, but it was just 30 years ago. It is amazing how far we have come in communications in three decades!
The first big changes that I remember are cordless phones, call waiting and answering machines. People don’t listen to their voicemails any longer, but in the late 1980’s, answering machines were a godsend! You no longer had to miss calls and if you didn’t know who was calling, you could let it go to your answering machine and pick up after you heard who it was. Same thing with call waiting. If you were expecting an important call, you no longer had to stay off the phone while you were waiting. When you heard that beep in the background, you just had to do a quick flash on the receiver button to get your second call. It was amazing! And don’t even get me started on cordless phones! You could walk all over your house and talk! If you were lucky, you could even go outside! It was life changing.
Of course, you still had to pay for long distance calls and call waiting cost an extra fee. Soon, caller ID and call forwarding were options also. I know it seems crazy, but these advancements greatly changed the way we communicated in the late 80’s and early 90’s.
I remember cell phones and personal computers both coming into our lives about the same time. We were living in Fishers then and Molly was about 4 years old. I was the first in the family to get a cell phone when they became affordable because I was driving around with a small child all the time. My first cell phone was big, bulky and black. It only made and received calls-no texting. I only had it with me when I was in the car. We bought our first home computer about the same time. It was also huge and expensive. We actually sold some Lilly stock options to buy it. For YEARS we only had one computer and had to schedule time when you wanted to be on it. I still believe this is the best way to control children’s time on the computer. Our computer was in a central location where everyone could see what you were doing.
Things changed quickly over the next few years. Flip phones were introduced. Texting became popular, the Internet and AOL. Even my 80-year-old mother got into the computer age. Then came IPods and laptops. Finally, the big game changer, smart phones. The ways we were able to communicate exploded in just a few short years-life would never be the same.
So, now, in the age of Social Media and cell phones, we can know what each other are doing 24/7 if we want. Becoming unreachable is almost impossible. The question now is are we better off than in years past when we didn’t have so many ways to communicate?
I would answer yes. It took me some convincing when Facebook first came out, but I can’t imagine my life without it. I know for a fact that our move to California would have been so much more difficult without the means of communication we have now. I can talk, text and exchange pictures with my daughter everyday. I can Face Time her if I want to see her and I can keep up with what is happening in her life through Snapchat and Instagram as well as Facebook. I feel CONNECTED to my Social Media family and it has made this move so much less isolating than our move to North Carolina. I found new friends through the Meetup app and I can pick up my laptop or phone when I want to check out what is happening in our new town. I can also keep up with what is happening in our old town and with all our friends around the country and world. I get my news flashes on my Apple Watch and my books on my Kindle.
The thing you have to remember is to not live your life in “cyber” world. Being retired, it is really easy some days to stay home and spend the day on our phones and computers, or binge watching TV shows on Netflix. There are so many options now for communication and entertainment, it is hard sometimes to just relax and enjoy BEING. Now we have to make an effort to UNPLUG, when in years past, it was so easy to feel isolated. I am grateful for all the means of communicating and the opportunity to have this blog to share my feelings and experiences. Keep in touch-I love hearing from everyone!