It’s getting to be that time of year again for me! My birthday is coming up. I shall in 2 weeks be 24 years old!
Can you believe it. nearly a quarter of a century on Earth. Born out of no where onto this planet and survived 24 years.
I was thinking the other day about what was significant for me in these years. Or significant for the world, rather.
A lot of significant things have happened in my lifetime that has shaped me and my view of the world. My parents used to tell me that in their lifetime, there were a lot of new things. TVs, computers, phones, cameras, etc.
But there have been new things in my lifetime too. And to add, I have seen things die down in my lifetime also.
- The invention of smart phones. Quite recent in my lifetime. But still. Very big. I even remember when the smart phones were still in the pipelines, and the first smart device was an iPod touch. Does anyone remember those? It was the first device on which you could surf the internet, download “apps” to play games and connect with others. Huge! Then came the iPhone and Android.
But these things kind of came without any big hoopla about them. Now, it’s an everyday item. For everyone. Even children.
I’m sure in the future, paediatricians will add milestones for babies such as “can handle small electronic device such as phone or tablet” and “can use index finger to open apps on a mobile device” Probably as young as 6 months! Wouldn’t that be something.
- Internet/mobile banking. This was something that came up during my lifetime. No longer did my parents need to “go down to the bank” to carry out tasks such as opening a new account, applying for a card, taking out loans, etc. Again, pretty big.
- E-readers. Invented in my time. My beloved kindle. Can carry thousands of books at once. Your own personal library. Access to so many books at the touch of a screen. You didn’t need to go down to a library or book store to see the most popular books and decide to buy them. Kindle will suggest the most popular books for you, and give you a free sample to try before you buy! Very cool.
- Social networking. When I was very young, there was MSN messenger and Yahoo! messenger. As I grew up, there was bebo, MySpace, and then finally, the pinnacle of it all, Facebook. Then of course there was Twitter and Instagram, etc. But the idea of social networking grew massively in my lifetime. Globalisation was a concept they taught relentlessly in social science at high school. And it really was that. Not only was the world’s newest products, businesses and ideas available to everyone, so are people! The growth of “influencers” on the internet has been exponential in my opinion. You can literally say anything and thousands of people will hear it! People follow strangers and become fans just by watching videos on YouTube or following posts on Instagram. It’s pretty amazing.
- Dating apps. While blind dates and online dating websites were there when I was younger, I hear the word Tinder wayyyy more these days. Again, I’m not too sure when it became so popular, but I definitely know it wasn’t this big a few years ago. And that’s pretty amazing too. I guess it falls in the social networking category, but it’s just so weird to me that you don’t have to make calls or go to a social event to meet new people any more. You have to put up a profile and a blurb about yourself (which by the way I’m not even sure would be true for most people. You’ve got to either talk yourself up too much or too little) and a picture, and boom! You find someone who actually wants to spend a whole evening with you! Who would’ve thought! And it honestly works for a lot of people! I have a feeling this will be one of those things my parents will tell stories about in a few years. “Back in my day, we had to go out and meet people. Not meet them on a phone.”
- Wireless connectivity. Wi-Fi. I was a dial-up kid. Now, my house has fibre optic powered internet. While I used to wait 5 minutes for my computer to make those weird screechy noises before the Yahoo webpage would even come up, these days I complain that my 1080p movie is not loading fast enough on my big screen TV. It’s so bizarre to think about that. My internet would constantly conk out when I was younger. Not that it mattered much then, given I didn’t use the internet as much as I do now. Now, even moving buses have Wi-Fi because it’s so hard to go a few minutes without being connected to the world.
- Cameras. When I was younger, you still had to take your film roll to a photo shop to have the photos developed from photo negatives. Now there are people that don’t understand any part of that sentence. Now there are phones that let you take incredibly zoomed up pictures of the Moon. Now there are phones that have 5 rear cameras. There are DSLR cameras that you can share photos from directly using Wi-Fi. Taking photos and editing them and capturing something stunning and having the photos available instantly has never been easier!
- Movies and TV shows and music. When I was younger, you had to go see a movie in the theatres or watch a show on TV no matter what time it aired at. Or go to your nearest video store and get a tape or CD. Now things like Netflix has changed all that. While people still go to cinemas to watch movies, you can still watch new movies online and stream them to your TV
I also used to be of the time when if an artist released new music, you had to wait in line outside your nearest store to buy the CD, get back home and play it on your stereo, then tell all your friends about it the next day. But these days, you can pre-download songs on your phone, you can take them with you wherever you go, artists tease new music online, everyone experiences it instantly on the go and everyone knows about how good it is straight away. Again, Huge.
- Electric cars. This is still up and coming. But Tesla, and Nissan leaf and other fully electric cars! I am still waiting for the day that petrol becomes obsolete. Because I’ve got to say, prices of fuel are just not helping anybody. I am 100% behind this cause.
I’m sure I could keep going. The advances in the world just in the last 24 years have been numerous. The rate at which things are changes is quite staggering. And I’ve been alive for all of this.
But some things still haven’t changed. Like listening to the radio, using a microwave oven, using a refrigerator, etc.
And not only in technology.
People still have so much appreciation for the world and it’s people. I guess the idea is still to bring everyone closer together and experience everything around the world. And there’s still so much appreciation for history. Just take a trip to Rome or Paris or Greece and you can see how people marvel at old architecture and things.
I guess if this much has changed in just 24 years, I’m in for a lot more surprises over the rest of my lifetime. That’s a lot to think about it.
But for now, I guess I’ll just try to muddle through the current things in my life and be grateful for what I have on my birthday.