I work in academics, and have for the past thirty plus years - hard to believe. My students range in age from 19 to mid 60's. Chatting with my younger students, those in their twenties, I tend to think I'm right there with them, in the same generation, sharing many of the same memories from the last five decades: world events, music, "slang of the day", using just books, periodicals, and newspapers for research. We communicate well. But, those moments help remind me that things have changed. My, haven't they changed. Yet, I take joy in describing events, things and how things were done years ago - just to see the reactions.
Yes, we had to type our research papers on typewriters, some manual and some electric, and there was no White Out, only erasers or these odd powdery slips of paper to type on, hoping to cover up a mistake by retyping the mistake over the mistake to cover it up in order to correct it.
Yes, there were eight track players, and I was so proud to have one installed in my 1970 Buick, especially since this fine LeSabre had only AM radio.
A '45? Well, that's a record. A record? Well, that's a vinyl, round...it's a CD.
Yes, televisions looked like furniture. We had three channels. The picture was black and white - all the time.
Yes, a telephone was attached by a cord, and the phone was attached to a wire that ran through the house and out to a telephone pole and if you weren't home when the phone rang, you missed the call - just missed it.
Yes, someone actually pumped the gasoline for you, washed your windshield, checked your oil, was courteous and wore a uniform - all that and it didn't cost extra.
The list could go on and on....and it may later on...just have to remember it all first.
My students laugh; they find much of it hard to believe. I find it hard to believe that I'm old enough to say, "thirty years ago..." since in my mind (sometimes), I still have a 33" waist, jet black hair, and cash a check at the grocery store for $5.00 for the week's pocket money. Then, I stop long enough in front of a mirror to look and wonder just who in the hell that guy is looking back at me! He has some lines on his face, grey hair and a white goatee. He's wearing conservative clothes, has no tattoos or piercings and still polishes his shoes.
He's the guy to whom I would say "Yes, sir" and see at the front of the classroom, lecturing about composition and literature. Well, that guy IS me - thank goodness I've made it this far! Yep, I have changed, typed plenty of ibid's, driven a land yacht on $2.00 worth of gasoline and all but strangled myself on the telephone cord.
Becoming comfortable with who I am today, settling into the grey while using a cell phone and taking out a loan for gasoline is okay. I think owning the fullness of who we are, with piercing honesty, feeling fully, being awe-fully human is a great gift to ourselves and a great gift to others.
What will change next? Hmmmm...............................