Would I be unlike myself, had I been a hi-tech junkie growing up?

Aside from growing wiser and mellowing out some, there are many good things about growing old. Like the flood of memories that provide us with flashbacks of yesteryear – glimpses of bygone times when life was less complicated, less automated and less impersonal. No email … no text-to-text back then … but a lot more face-to-face interaction. Communicating in the flesh – imagine that!

Three of my teen years (14-17 years) were spent in East Africa. My family lived in Uganda but I attended a girl’s boarding school in Kenya for my education. What an education it was! No, I’m not talking about academics … I received a well-rounded, academically sound education … no question.

I’m talking about the many life experiences I had growing up in a time where hi-tech gadgets {as we know them today} did not exist.

The other day I had a vivid flashback. The scene was that of a 16 year-old girl, riding passenger … straddled on a motorbike throttled by a fearless 17 year-old boy with red hair, flying recklessly down a bumpy, pot-holed dirt road, spending more time airborne than kicking up dust. No, there were no helmets or leathers and yes, I was screaming my head off from the combined thrill and terror of it all … and hanging on for dear life.

 I was praying I’d survive and promising God if he spared me, I’d never be so stupid again. This was an experience that taught a valuable lesson. “Don’t place your life in the hands of a thrill-seeking, testosterone-charged novice with a hot-rod motor-cycle … unless you’re prepared to die.”

It could have been ugly. As it happened it was just one of life’s little moments that stuck with me and probably saved me from myself … and maybe death’s door, more than once.

But here’s the thing! This vision provoked some thoughts. How would my life have changed as I now know it, if we’d had all the hi-tech gadgets back in the day? Would I be unlike myself with a different set of experiences? Undoubtedly!

At the boarding school we had no TV, no access to phones except in emergency, of course no computers or video games, so we created our own entertainment, fun and mischief too … and it was all person to person communication in the flesh. 

Had we had computers, I wonder if I would have been a hi-tech junkie addicted to Facebook? Would I have chosen to text rather than talk or visit in person? Would I even have gone to my friend’s ranch that weekend to hang out with my peers had we had texting, computers, email and TV at the dorm? Would I have phoned my parents and told them where I was and what I planned to do? Probably not … I was an independent youngster! Would I have been tempted to text my friends from the back of that bike – and crashed and burned?

I wonder if modern technology would have enriched my life back then in ways I can’t imagine, or would I have been otherwise distracted and missed out on experiences from which emerged valuable lessons that prepared me for the life I’ve lived.

We will never know will we?

What I do know, is even though modern technology complicates life at times, I need it; but I must confess I‘m way more addicted to “face-to-face” personal relationships.

I’m nothing if not a hi-touch junkie who loves people … in real time.


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