Encouragementology

Back to the Basics, The Realness of Retro

September 10, 2019

Times are a-changing but what happened to the “good ol’days? Are you questioning that more and more? There is no doubt that with all the emerging technology and modern-day conveniences life hasn’t gotten a little easier but true to the old adage “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!” Some things should have been left alone. So things we might see now as inconvenient might have been critical to our social and emotional well-being and maybe paramount to our development as a society. So let’s reminisce a little bit…..go “way back” as I like to say it, and revisit what might need reviving.

So what is way back for you? Think about that time when everything felt right, easy, joyful ...it may be your youth since responsibilities could have been few or it could have been when YOU were in your hey-day, feeling on top of the world. It might have been a time you’ve just heard about - a simpler time when connections were real and people made an effort, were taken at their word, and choices were few but the quality was high. Where ever you mind transports you...let’s talk about then. 

My Dad was 1st generation German who was born to immigrant parents that settled in Seattle, Washington. His Dad passed away when he was 11 but he remembers a man who was very proud to be in America, he took pride in his work and cherished his relationships. He was a “gas jockey” and he took his job very seriously. My Dad still has his uniform, it was always neatly pressed and pristine and he felt honored putting it on every day. He wasn’t trying to shorten his day or work from home. He wasn’t bitter about management and not owning his own time. He wasn’t irritated at having his day scheduled or having to get up early. He was appreciative of a steady job, a paycheck, the opportunity to be part of a team, the respect earned, and the responsibility given. 

When my Dad landed in Southern Illinois for a job at the University he settled in Cobden. A small, rural farm town where everyone knew everyone. He made connections quickly because he knew he had to establish some roots. He needed to be part of the community. You see he bought a place south of town, a big farmhouse needing a little repair. He had a wife and infant son and only knew one other person. I remember him telling me this story and reminding me that, you are only as good as your word. Never forget that. This was before credit cards and as I said, he was new in town and only had one connection. Back then you bought things on credit but that was determined by your character and if they felt you were trustworthy. He always paid on time and before long was in good standing with this close-knit community. He wasn’t judged based on his “credit score” he didn’t have Amazon and wasn’t a prime member. He wasn’t researching companies' legitimacy and reading 1-star reviews to see if they were just hyper-critical or helpful. He was meeting people, developing relationships, and earning trust. He was making commitments and seeing them through that shaped his character and gave him an admirable reputation. 

I bring up these two stories to shine a light on the fact that there are important life lessons we are meant to learn on this journey. Sometimes the journey means meandering, getting stuck in the ruts, getting towed out of the mud, coasting down the highway, taking a side route that might be a bit rocky, finding a detour to avoid danger ahead,  or even setting it on cruise control ...and everything in between. Taking the luge of life ...not passing Go, not collecting $200, is no way to live. Every obstacle, challenge, loss, and win is a chance to learn and grow. When we eventually make life SO easy then where is the lesson, and where is the growth? 

When choices were limited decisions were easy. We could focus on one thing at a time and enjoy the process. Today we are mentally pulled in every direction that we end up spinning in circles instead of picking a clear path.

What happened to our attention spans?? Why can’t we just sit still? No wonder we feel so exhausted, overwhelmed, and sick. WE are overloading ourselves trying to consume everything in front of us. Information is everywhere and most of the times we aren’t fully aware of how hard it’s working to grab our attention. We’ve become used to this and just accept it as normal. Think about Ma and Pa (Little House on the Praire reference) They are going to town to see what’s new at the mercantile. They didn’t wake up and check their phone or surf social media to see what’s new. They didn’t flip on the tube while having coffee or turn on the local commercial radio station. They loaded the kids in the wagon and had a nice ride into town. They didn’t see billboards advertising the latest and greatest littering the roadside. They pulled up to the store…..THE STORE. They didn’t have endless options all vying for their attention and their money. Now, when they went in -THERE were the advertisements and circulars. When the choice to shop had been made. Oh, those were the days. 

Today ads are EVERYWHERE - It’s difficult to look in any direction and not be bombarded. Who are you supposed to make sense of all this information?

Nostalgia has a way of erasing the daily annoyances we experienced, and it leaves behind only the warm, fuzzy feelings.

We come across a familiar smell, place or song on the radio, and we instantly feel comforted by days gone by.

We are transported back in time to childhood when our world was just a few streets wide, and our main concern was running out of daylight before making it home for dinner.

Think of the things we need to fight not to lose, the things that weren’t broken. Family dinners, making time to catch up in person with your friends, meeting your neighbors and then checking in on them, quiet moments to reflect, reading, spending time outside, talking, wondering, problem-solving, getting your hands dirty, celebrating life…….what are some of yours?

CHALLENGE: If you long for a simpler time...make it happen. Unplug, reduce, limit, and prioritize the information you allow in your life. Nurture your relationships and build in time to make meaningful memories. You deserve it.

I Know YOU Can Do It!