Mickey Z. -- World News Trust
Aug. 2, 2018
Not so long ago… check that: It doesn’t feel so long ago that I more naturally lived my life in a manner that enhanced my neurological, emotional, and physical well-being. Please allow me to elaborate.
I once casually memorized phone numbers -- dozens and dozens of them -- even in childhood. My brain is more than capable of this simple task but now, thanks to smartphones, I sometimes have to take a minute to recall my own digits.
When out for a drive, I took a map and figured out directions along the way… without a GPS. Sometimes I got lost and sometimes that sucked, but I called on my hard-wired navigational abilities and did my best. Amazingly, there were even times I actually spoke to random strangers to request their help.
If I went into Manhattan to meet friends and our plans got jumbled, we had to get mighty creative without cell phones. Not surprisingly, we did just fine. This might include me dropping a quarter into a pay phone, dialing a number I had stored in my memory, to leave a message on someone’s home answering machine. That person might be elsewhere in the city where they dropped a quarter into a pay phone, dialed their own number, and checked for the message I just left on their home answering machine. Within minutes, we’d all be at the same restaurant where -- by the way -- we managed to split the bill by (wait for it) doing math in our heads!
P.S. Never once during such social outings did I hear a friend ever say, “Damn, I wish they’d invent a mini-computer I could carry around with me.”
The default setting for “fun” in my youth was being outside, usually engaging in some kind of physical activity with groups of my peers.
Before cell phones, people were often incommunicado. We all knew this and accepted this and did not feel entitled to instant responses. Before answering machines, for that matter, we dealt with busy signals or just endless ringing. Oh well, I’ll try again later. Before email, I called. Before texts and instant messaging, I expected to wait for replies and didn’t assign meaning to any such wait that lasted longer than an hour. Before the big surrender, I had lots more patience and lots less entitlement.
Who knows? Perhaps these examples sound foolish to you. To me -- and I’m certain for others -- they add up. Slowly and powerfully, they add up over time until it’s too late.
Before the big surrender, I cooked more. I socialized more. I wrote more. I read more. I daydreamed more. I was more active. I slept better. I had more focus and attention. I had better eyesight and more limber muscles. I noticed more. I took more risks.
I went to more movies and book talks and other public events where I didn’t feel compelled to “check-in” or take photos to post later in search of validation.
I certainly didn’t know what was happening everywhere on the globe -- exactly as it happened. But I also didn’t delude myself that I could do anything about it anyway.
I was more resourceful, creative, and resilient. I laughed more. I smiled more. I relaxed more. I was more consistently happy and satisfied. And I miss it.
Aging sucks in many ways but a major solace for me is that I got to live a big chunk of my life in a far simpler, more provincial time. Those experiences were a crucial part of my healthy development. I can’t even begin to imagine what it feels like for those who have never known life without the Internet/cell phone surveillance and control structure in place.
It’s not easy to accept that we not only fell for the big lie but that we lined up and paid for our chance to have our behavior modified. It’s not all bad, of course, but I’d posit that it’s way more bad than most of us are willing to admit.
This isn’t merely another “get off my lawn”/“back in my day”/“good old days” rant (or maybe it is?). To me, it’s more an elegy, an obituary, an expression of grief and mourning. The proverbial genie is long gone from the proverbial bottle. We collectively surrendered. There’s no going back.
But… some of us still have a semblance of control over where we go from here.
Mickey Z. is the founder of Helping Homeless Women - NYC, offering direct relief to women on the streets of New York City. To help him grow this project, CLICK HERE and make a donation right now. And please spread the word!
A glimpse back at life before the big surrender… by Mickey Z. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://worldnewstrust.com/a-glimpse-back-at-life-before-the-big-surrender.