Friday, March 18, 2011

Different Times

The other day, I had to take my grandma to a little social gathering for a group that she's a part of. I love old people, in case you didn't know. So I was very excited to go to this thing.

I've been around old people before, obviously, but for some reason this time it really impacted me. I had a lot of realizations.

First I realized how little I know and how little I've experienced. I mean these people have had SO many experiences in life. And we have so much to learn from them. I think we should be required to have an in depth conversation on life with an old person at least once a month to give use perspective on our own lives.

But the thing that just amazed me is how friendly everyone was! EVERYONE said hello to everyone. "Well, hello, Miriam! It's so good to see you! How's Fred? Oh, good!" That kind of thing. I mean I have never seen a room of happier, kinder people in my life!

I guess it was just shocking (and refreshing) because I feel like I never see that anymore--at least with people my age. I mean I kind of just always took as fact that old people act like that and young people don't. I'm not saying that all young people are super anti social and callus. But it almost seems like it's "uncool" to act friendly or social towards people (hipsters, I'm especially talking to you). Have you noticed that?

It's like people would rather start messing around on their phones than have to look at someone passing by and say hello (HEAVEN FORBID). I feel like sometimes people go out of their way to act like no one else exists around them, either to act cool or because they are super insecure with themselves, I suppose.

And suddenly I got this horrific image of all the old people in the room on their phones, dead pan, chewing gum and acting like no one else was in the room. It was seriously an atrocious image.

I think subconsciously I always thought that all old people were kind and nice. So I just assumed that once my generation go old, we'd look and act pretty much the same as our grandparents. I had seriously prepared myself to become a blue haired old lady in posturepedic shoes. But obviously that's just not the case. The reason old people are so social and friendly is that they were raised that way.

This got me thinking about how different things were when our grandparents were young compared to how it is for kids growing up in my generation now (namely all the technology that my generation now has), and the impact that has had on how we act.

In the 40's and 50's, people had dinner parties and cocktail parties all the time. And I'm not saying that people don't have parties anymore. Lots of people do. But there was just something much different about parties then. Obviously the clothes just make it a million times more fabulous than any cocktail party someone could throw now (sigghhh If only I could have my grandma's collection of old cocktail dresses). But there is something else, too.

I guess it just seemed like everyone cared about other people because they were actually talking to them. I mean maybe they were just talking to them because there was nothing better to do and they didn't want to make it awkward. But still, at least they were being social.

My grandma told me that she used to have house parties almost every week! And even to this day, she still takes baked goods to her neighbors--not just on Christmas, just on random occasions (Yep, you would be extremely lucky, and potentially obese, if you lived next to my grandma). She knows almost all her neighbors and says hi to them every time she sees them. How many people do that today? Do you know all your neighbors? 'Cause I sure don't.

Seeing how my grandma treats her neighbors makes me feel like the worst neighbor on the planet. I now feel obligated to take home baked goods to everyone on my block and visit with them for at least an hour a week.

Women had cooking parties! Um, sign me up! That sounds so stinking fun, it's ridiculous! I know they probably only had them because they most likely had nothing better to do, but still. I think having a cooking party sounds really fun.

I know this doesn't have to do with technology, but it's still a pet peeve of mine. In our parents and grandparent's time, you actually had to know how to dance. Grinding your caboose against a guy's naughty bits was not classified as "dancing" back then. That was something done in the privacy of your own home.

If you wanted to ignore someone, you really had to go to great lengths (notice the almost full turn that the man has executed in order to distance and separate himself from the woman on the left. The finger in the mouth is another great tactic to show how disinterested you are with the other person and just life in general).

The newspaper was like their form of texting. If you were REALLY in an awkward sit, you could just pull the paper in front of your face and pretend like you were reading it! Don't pretend like you've never fake texted on your phone to escape an awkward moment. I know you have.

Now don't get me wrong. I LOVE my technology--as we all should. We are like bread and butter, mascara and eye lashes, cheese and macaroni; we belong together. There are so many things to love and appreciate about technology! How easy it is to stay in touch with people, find out what's going on in the world, how to get places, etc.

But I feel that it can go way too far. It is very easy to put yourself into a technology bubble. And once you're in that's very hard to pop it sometimes. I know it's hard to think about anything involving a bubble to be bad, but technology bubbles...not so good.

I know it might sound super conservative and old fashioned of me, but I really fear that kids
(and even people my age) who are growing up with cell phones, lap tops, T.V.'s, etc. are potentially not developing proper social skills.

Call me crazy, but I think it's important to realize that awkward or scary social situations DO come up. And you can't always just go into phone land in the corner to not deal with it.

I had this realization when I went to a party a few weeks ago where I knew NO ONE. I had never really been in that kind of situation before, and honestly I was kind of scared (and definitely awkward haha).

Even if I wanted to cower into a safe digital hideout so I didn't have to deal with the potentially awkward social situation ahead of me, I couldn't have because my phone is basically on par with the first phone ever invented (no texting or internet :/ I'm on the Alexander Graham Bell plan). So I just sucked it up, introduced myself to people and actually conversed with them! What a novel idea! And I ended up having a fabulous time and making some really good connections and friends.

When our grandparents were young (and even our own parents) and they went on a date with someone, you were on a date! You had nothing else to do other than actually have a conversation with them. And guess what? If it was awkward, you just had to sit there in that awkwardness and deal with it. It wasn't like you would whip out a book and start reading that on a date if it got boring.

You couldn't reach into your pocket and have a little escape route via FB and texting where you could gush to your friends about how awful your date was (^^I feel for ya, bro...But hey, at least your shoes are pimpin').

One of my friends was just talking the other day about her boyfriend is on his cell phone ALL the time, even on dates. I am personally appalled that it has become socially acceptable to text or be on your phone when you're on a date. How rude can you be?? I mean even if you don't like the person that much, be a decent enough person to not basically put your hand up to their face and say "Sorry, I just really could care less about you and what my friends are doing it way more interesting, so I'll be on my phone for the rest of the night".

Families spent time together, pretty much whether you wanted to or not. I mean, what else were you going to do? haha.

Jukeboxes and radios were the iPods of their day. No shutting the world out by putting your headphones in and blasting your music.

People went out and visited with their friends and made new friends. If you think about it...their facebook was actual people. THAT was their entertainment: meeting new people, finding out about their lives, interests, etc. To get "status updates" from people, they would have to either visit them in person or call them.

And I'm not saying that people don't do go out and visit with people today. But I see a LOT of this ^^ I mean I understand that sometimes you need to be on your phone, but really? Aren't you out to be with your friends? They are your friends, right? Then what is so important on your phone that you can't just be OUT of technology land and just visit with people?

As much as I love and appreciate technology, I feel like it's encroaching on important sectors of our lives...

Even some of the most...uh...intimate moments are compromised by an important convo on Facebook.

We see it all the time, 24/7.

This ^ scares me big time.

I totally understand wanting to be in communication with your friends, but I feel like it is just WAY too much with way too many people nowadays.

I used to have an iPhone. And when I had it, I was on it ALL the time--headphones in and everything. And it was only after I lost it that I realized how much of the world I was missing. I actually SAW things. I was able to look at people on the street and say hi or compliment them. And I just think that is so important.

We are so wrapped up in our own little bubble of a world that we forget that we're sharing this planet with billions of other people! If we are all too shy, oblivious, rude, WHATEVER to be social and kind to others, what kind of world are we going to have?

All I know is I am not buying my kids video games. Once and a while is alright, but I will not have my kids turning into this:

I wanted video games SO badly when I was little, but my mom refused to buy them for me. And I am so thankful she never did.

I actually had to go outside and use my IMAGINATION. Imagine that! Also, if I had video games, I might not have started drawing. And then I may have never realized that I wanted to be a fashion designer (THANK YOU, MOM).

This picture actually isn't far off from a normal day in the life of young Skylar. I would have photo shoots with my cat...seriously.

My mom also purposely put me in scary social situations (like talking to grown ups :O). And because of that, I grew stronger and developed social skills.

I guess the main thing I'm trying to say, at the end of this monster post, is that we all (myself included) need to put down the phones, turn off the computers and unplug ourselves once and a while so that we can actually LIVE real life for a bit.

And remember to spread the love! Even if it's just a compliment or a smile at someone walking by, that can make a huge difference. :)


  1. This is why I love you, S. Well, this and a million other reasons.

  2. Sky, you are sublime. I feel that there are a select few who despise what this world is turning into (technology overload) and we are but part of the rarity.

    Honestly, I have always loathed technology. I mean, I didn't even get a cell phone till I was sixteen and it was that old crappy Nokia with no texting.

    I also never use my phone. I go all week without a call and maybe a text or two. I am terrified for the generations to come and what new gadgets will suck them in.

    This was a wholly inspiring post and I kiss your head with zealous for understanding and being above the controlled zombies with me.

    I know you can imagine how much I want it to be like the good ol' days of handwritten letters and social graces on every street corner. Plus, the fabulous fashion of propriety and chic glamor, rather than the skanky apparel floating around now. <3