Sarah Daniels

When Less IS More – by Sarah


Getty Images: Catherine MacBride

Yesterday Jody spoke of the media – then and now – and mentioned missing a simpler time.

I miss a simpler time, a time when you couldn’t always reach me.

Remember those times? I know, – I know, – if you were born anytime after about 1981, you probably don’t. But that was likely the last year you could go out for the day, and not have an Amber Alert issued because you hadn’t returned a call.

Many people by this point had answering machines – of course they were prone to audio tape issues (If you don’t know what an audio tape is, I might start crying) and screw ups with re-winding, etc. But hey – you could find out who called when you were out – a major break through! Call waiting was out there too – so you didn’t get stuck with a busy signal, for hours, if someone in the house (me) was yapping for hours on the phone.

But is this really progress? Because since then, life has been literally eaten away as your “availability” increased.

We had the introduction of cell phones, the internet, fax machines, scanners, – CELL PHONES THAT HAD INTERNET AND CAMERAS – so you could not only talk to people, but prove that you were at (Disneyland, Bruce Springsteen’s house, jail) with a digitally sent picture. Lets not forget scanners, digital signatures, – anything and everything you can think of…..

But I now wish for that simpler time.

I’m sure that most families can relate to dinners spent not in conversation, but in heads bowed down staring at a screen. Texting instead of talking. Emails instead of phone calls. The thing is, there’s pressure to ALWAYS respond.

Many employees feel they must to respond to the email that comes through at 9pm. I know that I, as a realtor, feel that I can never disconnect – because if the client can’t get me – they will try someone else. You snooze, you literally lose.

Between Twitter feeds, Facebook updates, and Instagram pics, it takes effort to have an identity these days. To go off the grid is to almost not exist. Having said that, I would probably have a nervous breakdown if I didn’t have my iPhone for a week. What does that say about me?

Maybe we all need to take a break, and give ourselves a breather. Schedule face to face conversation. Resist the stress of always responding, texting, updating…checking in.

But don’t take that break…….until you’ve shared this.


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  • Reply Gord Dieno November 2, 2016 at 8:57 am

    I go back a little further, as much as it hurts to confide. There was a party line on our phone (we had letters in our number AM3-3163), and we were at the mercy of whomever had the line. I suppose there was phone line rage incidents, I was too young to remember.

    Banking was done in person, Mon-Fri 9 – 4 only. You got your food shopping done no later than Sat afternoon because it was all shut down on Sunday. The streets were empty.

    We ate our dinner all together, every night ….. and we talked. My sister furtively tried to read her book at the dinner table and was shamed by all of us to put it away. We had to finish our dinner, sometimes we had to be urged on by comments that children were starving in China (oh, the irony). Liver and onions on Thursdays. Ugh.

    I remember being horrified to discover that some of my friends houses were quite different. They had folding TV tables, and they would all watch the news and eat their dinner. What? For a 16″ B&W? I have to admit I wanted it too. And while in later years I had every opportunity to eat my dinner that way, I never did. It’s just wrong.

    Anyway, I’m with you Sarah, I miss the simpler times. Sadly, the only way I could start to disconnect is to retire, and that’s done. Still, reading your piece made me want to respond …. right away.

  • Reply Wendy Beckett November 2, 2016 at 9:51 am

    So true Sarah, as a senior I remember all those non-invasive years. As a teen I would get on a bus to go see if a friend wanted to come to the pool with me. My parents finally got a phone after I married and moved far away (but my husband installed an egg timer behind ours so that I was limited in talking to my family). Computers were strange and wonderful things for the future, we had no concept of how they would change our lives. On reflection I am still not sure that today is better…………

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