This week I (somewhat) celebrated my 50th birthday. I say somewhat as we are in the throws of what seems at times like Armageddon. 2020 will be known as year COVID-19 changed the world (maybe forever).
So as I sit and reflect on the past 50 years I’m not sure whether to be grateful or apologise as the first of the GenXers.
Did we Fuck it up?
Roll back the tape to 1970, the year I was born.
In those times, air travel was a privilege that if you were one of the lucky ones, you may have had (one) trip of a lifetime where you got to travel overseas. Lifetime memories were made. A few crappy photos were taken.
Whilst there certainly was immigration, most just stayed in their country of origin.
Self isolation was actually just families spending time at home, playing in the streets.
Many worked nearby as things were often produced locally with a whole lot less mass production and importation. Local industries thrived and you were likely to have a job for life.
When you went to the local store, sometimes they were out of stock of items but we weren’t compelled to stockpile in fear of missing out. We coped.
Debatably the air was cleaner and the seas weren’t filled with plastic. We bought furniture that literally would last a lifetime and many would cover it to keep it nice.
We rode our bikes until dark without tracking devices and we could wait on the street corner for our friends without mobile phones and text and without the anxiety.
Was is better? Almost every generation is better off than the last but is that still true? Am I just getting old and cranky?
I’m sorry we tried to make things more convenient, quicker. I’m sorry we turned into a disposable society that doesn’t value longevity.
But as I write this all down I realise that maybe we are better off.
We have access to better medicine that is keeping us alive longer. More of us have clean water and sanitary facilities. We get to travel and have nice things.
We have more choice when we choose to dine out thanks to those who were brave enough to migrate. We can get everything we need (and things we don’t) at the click of a button delivered to our door.
We can text, tweet, post, FaceTime and even call anyone we want, anytime we want, without it costing a weeks pay for the call.
We have access to entertainment at will be it music, movies, art.
Our kids have the world as their playground and should explore the corners of this flat world and will always have a clean bed to come home to.
Is COVID-19 Armageddon or simply a chance to reset, blend the best of 2020 and 1970 and make the world a better place.
The choice is ours, always has been.