I was watching a movie on Amazon Prime recently. ("The Lucky One" if you're curious- I'm a sucker for anything written by Nicholas Sparks) A song came on that I instantly loved and I wondered what it was. That wondering lasted but a moment, as then I pressed a button on my remote and Amazon's X-ray service told me exactly what song it was. ("You got what I need" by Joshua Radin) I then opened up iTunes on my phone and added the song to my apple music. Just. Like. That.
I was immediately transported back to my teenage years and a very different scene. If you loved a song during a movie back then you waited till the end of the movie, and you watched the credits roll all the way to the end and then sat really really close to the TV in hopes of being able to read the tiny writing telling you the songs in the movie, and hope against hope you could find the title of the one song you liked in amongst all of the songs listed before they rolled away and were gone forever. If you happened to be watching it on VHS you could pause it, but it was then so blurry it was pretty much impossible to read. But even if by some miracle everything went in your favour and you actually found out the title of the song you loved, and the band, you then had to write it down on a piece of paper (I know, crazy crazy times) and then remember to take that piece of paper with you (or maybe just your memory since we were young) the next time you went to the shops. Only then to discover that the song you love is only available on an album that costs £15 and you're a teenager and you don't have £15 so you forget about it. All of that effort and it rarely resulted in me owning the song at the end of it.
So when it took me less than a minute from hearing the song to "owning" it, I felt conflicted. On the one hand what a wonderfully easy process, well done technology. But on the other, I felt a little sad. It's probably just the nostalgia talking but there was something almost rewarding about going to all of that effort for that one amazing song you heard for a few seconds in a movie that one time.
I realised things will come too easily to my children.
Have you ever been chatting with a group of friends and somebody poses a question, and before you've had time to debate the answer for a little while, or share your differing views on the matter, there's that one friend who's already googled it and is sharing the correct answer with everyone. I feel old in these moments as I pretty much always wish they hadn't done that. It's that nostalgia creeping in again, but wasn't there something great about not having all the answers once upon a time?
My kids (or more accurately google) will always have the answer.
There are so many examples of things from my childhood that will be lost on my children. Just like when they are parents the same will be true for them with their own children. Just as it was no doubt true for my parents. This isn't always a bad thing. I for one am glad we had colour TV and (huge) computers and indoor plumbing (I'm kidding Mum, I know you're not that old!). Just as I'm sure my children will be thankful for iPads and google and online shopping.
However it does give me pause. It's not so much that I want them to have those exact same experiences. You couldn't convince me to watch anything on a VHS these days, and I'm never giving up rewinding TV, or google for that matter. So it would be unfair of me to ask that of them. But somehow finding space for moments where things take time, where problems aren't solved in an instant, for asking questions without having the answers, for taking long walks with just your nose to guide you, for getting lost because you only have your nose to guide you. For inventing things that only a child can dream up because it hasn't already all been done, and it isn't all available with next day delivery.
I get so caught up sometimes in all the things I want to give my children, I rarely think about what I don't want to give them. Sometimes, just sometimes, I think it will be worth our while to do things the hard way.
Are there things from your childhood you feel nostalgic about your own children missing out on? I'd love to hear about them in the comments.