"A word in earnest is as good as a speech"
~Charles Dickens: Bleak House

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Remember when things were simple ........

The past few weeks have been ridiculously crazy. Not just for me, but for the whole family ....
  1. Teenager starting his Senior year and all that goes with it: advanced placement classes, Sr. pictures, varsity sports, college exams, new job, parent meetings, and the paperwork!
  2. 5-year-old starting kindergarten and all that goes with it: evaluations, packing lunches, strict bedtime, his homework (which he makes up but feels he needs to do it every night anyway), PTO meetings, and the paperwork!
  3. Start of a new semester and all that goes with it: syllabi, advising, rosters, events, working late, and the paperwork!

But after a crazy day at work, discussions with undergraduate admissions for my son, a parent meeting for soccer, I came home to a sleeping child. I just looked at him and saw peace and it made me start to think about when life was simple. Not just simple in the sense that my mom took care of all the things I take care of now, while I sat back and just thought it all kind of happened. I mean simple.

  • I mean going back to a time when there were a total of 5 television channels to choose from.
  • A time when a child could go in the neighborhood at 8:00 am and find friends to play with until the street lights came on, stopping back home only to grab a sandwich or go the bathroom.
  • A time where being in the house was boring so that you went outside and made time machines out of trees (ok - maybe I am sharing too much, but that was one of my favorite games).
  • When a parent would be able to call their child home without a cell phone plan because the parents all knew each other (or in my case my dad would stand on the front porch and whistle. (Every kid in the neighborhood knew my dad's whistle and if I didn't hear it they would come and find me).
  • A time when gossip was only passed over the backyard fence ... not the entire world in a millisecond.
  • When the goal for a person was to make a difference - not get 15 minutes of fame on a reality show.
  • A time when people trusted not only in their government, but in the people next door and the person who owned the corner store.
  • An era where nobody cared what the name on the back of your jeans was or how much they cost. A time when people did not get killed for their "Air Jordans."
  • I remember when celebrities were people to look up to .... actresses, sports stars, politicians. If they behaved badly it was not celebrated (like Snookie being arrested for disorderly conduct, or Brittney Spears treatment of her children or any number of sports stars behaving badly)
  • A time when 3-year-olds could just be kids ..... not a tool for the fame their parents wanted and didn't get.

Just a time when life was simple. I have so many memories as a child that were just me and my friends playing. Not scheduled play dates or organized sports. Just a bunch of kids in the backyard with some trees and imagination. Did we get hurt? Yes. And the boo-boos were cured with soap and water, a good old-fashioned band-aid and a kiss.

I love technology - to a point. I love my cell phone and my laptop. I am a big fan of the Internet, Blue-ray DVDs, the MP3 player. But I think all of this technology, the speed by which information travels, the medical research ..... all of it has made life less simple.

It is the problem with our government, it is the problem with our family values, it is the problem with society. We have stopped being creative, stopped thinking critically. We are over scheduled, under rested, over stressed. We stopped taking responsibility for our own actions because there is always someone worse (for example, Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi's attorneys state 12 years is too long a sentence for a conviction on fraud and extortion since he only took $65,000.00 and other politicians convicted of the same crime traditionally only get 7 years. Yet the same people who have sent the judge letters of support for DiMasi are the same people who will write comment after comment about how people on welfare need to take responsibility for their own actions! It just makes no sense!

I would like to go back to a time when things were simple, for myself and my children. I want them to enjoy being kids and being young. I want them to realize they can be the cause of their own happiness and well being. That you can't solve your problems with a prescription, that life takes hard work, that you have to live within your means regardless of the credit you could be given.

I think tonight I am tired and disillusioned. I know the "simple" life was not always perfect and perhaps because we tend to only remember the happy memories from childhood my memory of it is vague. But watching that child sleep this evening, while my teenager rushed through a sandwich for dinner after the soccer meeting so he could get his homework done .... I just wished for simple.


  1. I think the world would be a better place if life were more simple. We don't need most of the "stuff" pushed on us every day in every form available to mankind. Sure, I have a laptop and a touch-screen cellphone, but my laptop is pretty basic, and my cellphone doesn't have texting or internet access. I don't own an MP3 player, and the cd player in my truck hasn't worked for a few years. I am not suffering due to a lack of any of these things. I think a lot of people would benefit from living in a tee pee for six months like I did. It helped me realize what's really important, and what things we don't truly need. I sure as hell didn't miss hearing a telephone ring.

  2. i too remember those simple times having grown up in the 50s & 60s... - i also long for a less frantic pace of life... so-called 'progress' - not all it's cracked up to be!

  3. I have to admit Cheryl I love my MP3 player! I have to have my music and this lets me keep it all with me all the time!