So when did the world get so fast?
When did we start needing everything instantaneously?
This week my daughter had to use the clothes dryer for the first time in her life. Something I was doing on a regular basis in my youth, at least 2 years younger than she is now.
Despite being completely adept at electronics, she looked at our LG like it was an ancient torture device from the 17th century. I told her what buttons to push and she immediately started screaming at me “how long will it take, how long will it take?” Apparently even the most up to date appliances with “quick cycles” aren’t good enough or fast enough now.
We are a fairly modern family, lots of devices and appliances, my husband and I are both online people with multiple irons in the fire. We blog, we do social media, we post and reach out electronically, perhaps even more so than our kids. Yet, we don’t expect everything instantly and we have the ability to unplug, my kids do not.
If we go somewhere, my kids want devices – god forbid if they had to look out the window at the world. My son actually missed that we had left Canada on one road trip, finally sticking his head up from the 3rd row seat of our van, many hours after crossing the border when we had reached southern Vermont, and said, “hey Dad, I don’t think we are in Canada anymore, I can’t pick up any free Wi-Fi“. (rolling eyes…I am so proud..).
With my kids, if there is still 5 minutes left before dinner is ready when I call them, they want to go back to a video game. And if we get to a movie before the trailers are playing, they talk about being bored. Come to think of it, they talk about being bored a lot. Personally, I can’t remember the last time I was bored.
I have been looking at all the media lately pushing FAST or INSTANT stuff. From Instant Pots (which I confess still look cool), to faster Wi-Fi from your cable provider, to tools or equipment that work quicker or charge faster than the previous generation of tools. Nobody waits for snail mail anymore, emails are faster, we can’t even fax documents anymore because scanning and emailing is quicker. Even getting a coffee goes from super fast to lightening speed these days as promised by Tim Hortons see Timmy speed.
In this age, new APPS or games download in seconds to your phone or device, and if it takes longer than 10 seconds in our house somebody yells “is something wrong with the Wi-Fi“? We want mortgages quoted over the internet in 3 minutes or less, same for buying insurance online without even talking to someone. Why does it have to be 3 minutes or less…?
Sharing has also become a new and quick phenomenon, and nobody waits till they are home from their vacation to share photos, they show them the same minute from the beach. People you would never have shared your “photo album” with years ago; now have access to your entire life, in seconds. And we know what they think of those photos just as quickly.
And our kids are scheduled to the max. I used to think my daughter in competitive dance 12-15 hours a week was crazy until I started talking to the parents of some of her peers; who keep their kids completely occupied from 8am to 6pm even on Saturday and Sundays. Nobody ever slows down.
Sadly, I think it is our fault, we have kept the technological advances going at a furious pace, sales and pre-order levels demanding the next iPhone before the current one is even on the market. We have kept our children busy at an even faster pace, because the busier they are, the safer they are, as my generation of parents believe.
I tried to think about what stuff we actually do WAIT for these days, it’s a pretty short list. Perhaps a response to something from the Government, your income tax refund (unless you use an instant tax refund service), results from an important health test that was quick to do but takes days or an agonizing week or two for the results, an appointment with a specialist, and sometimes job interview responses. Everything else seems to be fast or drive thru speed.
We even post “wait” times for service everywhere, from getting passports, or for crossing at a Border, how long you have been on a page online, or how long it will take you to complete an application on-line, or how long companies will take them to answer your call. Do they think knowing will make it more tolerable for us; or is it to get you to give up and try later?
I think it is time to teach everyone to take a deep breath and maybe, slow down a little. My kids aren’t comfortable in their own skin when you unplug them. I fear my kids’ generation will be riddled with “waiting fatigue or waiting stress” in epidemic proportions if stuff doesn’t happen instantly for them. None of them can just sit and many of them can’t be alone. None of them understand the beauty of a fresh cup of tea on a sunny afternoon, where you can just stare at a willow tree swaying in the breeze; or the serenity of sitting on the edge of a dock, dangling your toes in a quiet lake on a summer morning, all by yourself.
Don’t get me wrong, I am guilty of “FASTER”. My phone cable wasn’t charging my cell fast enough this week and I found myself ordering a FAST charger from Amazon, and then was totally annoyed when it didn’t show up in the usual delivery time of 24-48 hr., but instead 4 days later. WTF?
Clearly, I need to unplug and go make a cup of tea now. Breathe, just breathe…….
FREE photos courtesy of UNSPLASH, Joey Kyber, Rawpixel, and NeONBRAND.
blog # 4, TJ Hogg