When I was younger I didn’t know a lot about what was going on in the rest of the country, much less the world. Oh, I paid lip service to a few political issues, and faithfully watched the evening news, but I didn’t understand how the events and issues really impacted the people involved. I corresponded with a few friends and relatives in other states, but for the most part we all focused on raising our children and surviving our personal problems. Our letters were about school and health and social activities and church. And by the time we exchanged information most events were old news.
So much has changed since the internet has become my window on the world! With email and FB and access to newspapers from anywhere I feel informed and involved in the world, sometimes overwhelmingly so. Friends and relatives from other places let me know not only what is going on, but how it affects their daily life. If there is a storm in Florida or a fire in California or a problem in the Middle East, I worry about friends and anxiously await word of their safety. No longer is a crisis something that happens to strangers. Chances are that anything that happens anywhere is “six degrees” from someone I know!
Of course there are also great benefits in knowing people all over the country. I love seeing family photos, hearing about other schools, getting travel advice, comparing prices, etc. I often think about how long my grandmother’s generation had to wait for news from loved ones. Even with telephones there was sometimes a long delay between an event and the opportunity to call anyone and inform them of it. And I remember many, many times in my own lifetime when my parents could not phone anyone, anywhere because all the lines were busy!
Naturally we can overindulge in news and views from others. We can spend far too much time on FB and get carried away with reading about the life of someone else, especially if we find their life more exciting than our own! But I’m happy to have the options and opportunities that I have. My mother would have loved the chance to correspond with her grandchildren and receive a quick reply.