It’s weird to grow up in a time where everything is literally at our fingertips; we have access to the world at the click of a button.
Being a part of the generation that ushered in this new wave of technology of course has its benefits. For example, I don’t have to ask my kids how to figure out an app or what is a snap?
I remember the old floppy disk and looking forward to finishing my work early in 3rd grade so I could be the first person to play The Oregon Trail or Number Munchers. I can appreciate the first laptop and longing to be one of the “cool” kids that had an iPod.
Yet a small part of me still wishes for a simpler time.
I would watch my dad pull out his big map, spread it across the table and map out our trip and stops along the way.
One of the fondest memories I have growing up is when we would get ready for a road trip, and the night before I would watch my dad pull out his big map, spread it across the table and map out our trip and stops along the way. It was amazing to see the detail and precision he would put into it. After he was done, he would fold it back up in its perfect rectangular shape and our adventure would await us.
Growing up, I looked forward to making these memories with my kids, yet now I simply ask my phone to take me somewhere and—Poof! Just like that—it’s done. Where does one even find a map like that these days?
Even the act of riding in a car as a kid had its benefits, such as sitting in the back seat with my brothers and playing “that’s my car,” only to get outdone by the next car that was a classic. I’ve recently started playing it with my 4-year-old son, and I can’t help but think of how different our childhood surroundings are.
I felt really accomplished as a teen when I made a whole case of CDs and put them in alphabetical order so that I could be the designated DJ for the drive. Now, my 8-year-old just tells me what she wants to hear from YouTube and expects that it will come from the speakers via Bluetooth.
On one particular road trip—I had to be about 13—I remember talking to my big brothers about how cool it would be for us to have a picture phone. That was so far-fetched for us growing up we felt like it was something out of The Jetsons.
Now my 18-month-old readily expects to video call with my wife’s parents, who live in the Bahamas.
I love how easy technology has made things but sometimes I just wish it could be put away—but only for a moment.
Curtis L. Proctor is the associate director for advancement for the University of Central Florida’s College of Community Innovation and Education. He can be reached at [email protected].