Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Reflecting on a life of change

As I work my way through my 60th year (blimey that's scary) I reflect on the changes I've seen in that time. Has this last half century and a bit seen the greatest change in the way the human race lives and works?

When I think back to my very early years, and starting at infants school as it was known then, I was part of a family that had a car and telephone - not because we were rich - simply because my father worked as a local representative for one of the Fleet Street newspaper publishers. They were the tools provided as essentials for his job. Amongst my contemporaries, those luxuries were very few indeed

Our holidays consisted of visits to relatives back in London or in Eastbourne where my Grand Parents lived. You might find this difficult to believe but, in order for us to use the car for our holiday, my Dad had to work some of the time whilst we were away to secure it's use!

I can remember one of my class mates holding us all in awe with his tales of a rare holiday to Brussels to visit the Worlds Fair. He was the only person I can recall ever having a holiday beyond the South East of England.

Dad's area that he covered included across to the Fens, Wisbech and March. That meant staying away from home for several days and neither Mum nor I had any real idea where he was or when he would be home.

The World beyond Norfolk seemed a very long way away and I didn't really know much about what it looked like, other than from books, until we bought our first television in the later part of the 50's.

I used to read the Eagle comic every week and wonder at the marvels of communication and travel that it depicted and assumed that they really were impossible, certainly in my life time.

How wrong I was.

We think nothing of travelling all the way around the world and feel deprived if we are out of contact with our friends and family, were ever they are, for even a few hours.

Have we seen the greatest ever change in humanity and it's environment?

It certainly feels like it.

Has it been for the good?

The jury is still out on that one, but my feeling, when I look back to those naive and relaxed years, is that maybe there have been as many downsides as there have been benefits.

Let's hope the next generations manage to harness the power we have at our finger tips and use it for the good of us all rather than for just selfish means.

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