One of my favorite parts in the paper is printed on Sunday and is called This Week in History. They go through the dates of the coming week and write about notable events that happened on each date throughout history. It could be anything from kings being ordained in the fourth century to the publication of famous books to battles from various wars to the release of popular movies to little remembered occurrences that were headlines when they happened. This week the below item caught my eye:
It happened on May 20, 1899, 120 years ago today. I chuckle every time I imagine a car chugging down Lexington Avenue with a bicycle cop chasing it and catching up! It got me thinking about how far we have advanced since the time a bike could go faster than a car. It is something I reflect on occasionally, especially when I see articles about how the children graduating from high school now will never know a world with rotary phones, dial-up computer service, sending film out for developing, using a road map or encyclopedia, or the fun of gathering around the tv at a certain time because it was the only time to catch a program. Of course this list could go on for pages. Google the phrase "what kids today will never know," but only if you want to feel old.
I think about the advancements we have made in technology, just in my lifetime, and it is mind boggling. Instantaneous communication and news. Blogging. Virtual reality. Carrying a computer in my purse. Ereaders. This leads me to my parents and relatives who are a bit older than me and I reflect on all that has changed in their life. I recently asked my dad what is the one thing he feels has been the biggest change he has seen in his lifetime. His answer centered on travel. He has seen the world go from slow travel methods (boats, trains, buses) to plane and space travel. A man on the moon! Go to Europe in a few hours on a jet! Get across the Rocky Mountains by flying over them!
Is the world better off today than when a bicycle could outrun a car? In most ways the answer is yes. However, there is something to be said for slowing down and, as the saying goes, take time to smell the roses. Life is a lot easier in many ways than it once was, but it is never a bad thing to unplug. If your computer needs charging, plug it in and then take the time to do something for yourself. Maybe take a bike ride (but don’t try to catch speeding cars). Check out a local park. Write an actual letter. Read a book. Whatever you choose, it could be just what you need to recharge your body’s battery.