I remember being a kid and constantly hearing this standing joke told by my elders. It was something along the lines of kids my age having it too good because people back in the day used to “walk to school, with no shoes, in the snow, uphill . . . both ways!” Now that I’m the older one, all I can think of is how they might have been right. We did have it good back in my day. We seem to have been a lot more free as kids. Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t want to roll back any progress we have made no matter how big or small in the areas of equality for genders, race, etc. I just see how some things used to more simple.
Like parenting is all about the styles and labels. You’ve got helicopter parenting, tiger parenting, and this new term lawnmower parenting. Now if you grew up in the 70s or even part of the 80s you are familiar with free-range parenting. It was a world where you could tell your parents that you didn’t want to go into the store with them and they would let you sit in the car with the widows down on a cool day. Back then nobody kidnapped you or took the car and you were fine. We could ride our bikes or walk to school alone. I remember running around the neighborhood with my friends until I heard my Mom whistle that dinner was ready (my Mom could whistle really really loud!). I also remember it was a time when you read something in the newspaper or saw it on TV and chances were good that it was probably true. If it wasn’t, there was a retraction, someone got fired, and/or a lawsuit was slapped on them. Oh and news anchors were like celebrities.
I actually like the first Anchor Man movie. I didn’t see the second one. If you haven’t seen either one it was a comedy about the male dominated news anchor business. The funny part for me was how cheesy the lead anchor acted and how everybody treated him like a movie star. Just based on my memory, I would say maybe the downfall of the media might have started with the trashy tabloids and magazines. You know the ones you look at while in the checkout line. The ones where someone was abducted by an alien or someone else had an affair with a ghost. Men in Black jokingly referred to them as the “hot sheets.” You know because it was a movie about aliens so the “hot sheets” had the best investigative reporting as opposed to the regular newspapers. That is what made it funny. In the real world it really wasn’t that hard to tell the difference between the real news and the “fake news” back then.
Speaking of regular newspapers, I had a friend on social media try to shame me for getting news from the New York Times! The New York Times, ya’ll! That is a newspaper that has been around for about one hundred sixty-seven years! So what I’m I supposed to do what instead? Am I supposed to believe some website that popped up in the last five years or better yet some meme that was posted by who knows a few months ago?
While we are talking about posts let’s discuss social media for a bit. I have a real love/hate relationship with it. One minute I’m inspired and crying in a good way. The next minute my stomach hurts and I want to pull my hair out and scream. I understand some people have strong feelings about hot button topics, but is it me or are the internet trolls multiplying? Why can’t we be civil? I recently unfollowed (I still feel like the unfriend button was too harsh) some people because they were constantly lumping everyone into only two camps. Well I’m sorry, just because I feel one way about one topic doesn’t automatically make it true that I feel a certain way about another topic. There is also no need for name calling. You feel strong about your opinion? Great! Voice it if you like, but could you use your smarts and do it in a way that isn’t attacking a large number of your Facebook “friends?” Well, unless of course that is your intent. I know social media isn’t all “unicorns and rainbows,” but a little humor can go a long way.
I’ve seen tons of people say they are taking a break from social media. Then boom! A day or two later they are back on social media again. I mostly use it to stay informed about the kids’ school, some of our social groups, and events in our area. I actually don’t have a whole lot of time to just browse my news feed. When I do have a minute or two, I go back to the whole love/hate thing. There are days I hate it more. I put my phone down the other day feeling totally deflated, tired, and pessimistic. There was so much bickering from everything to parenting, relationships, and free speech. I love having a wide range of friends. It ensures I’m not in that “bubble.” You know, where you only surround yourself with people who agree with you. It sounds nice, but there is always a use for the devil’s advocate. There are always two sides to a story. Don’t worry about the friends I unfollowed the other day. I’m in no danger of being in a bubble. It was only two people. I guess the beauty of social media is that you can always put your phone down and just live life. If you are my age you can go back to sitting in your rocker on the front porch and yell at the kids to get off your lawn. Also if you are my age you’ll get the joke.