I was just listening to “How to save a life” and “Over my head” by the Fray in a moment of nostalgia, and I feel so old. The copyright on the first video was in 2005, so I would have only been 11. Those songs were popular when I was in junior high, and it seems like an entirely different world then. Baggy t shirts were more popular. Life passed by with a lot more sarcasm and the smell of incense. Bad haircuts and ill fitting jeans. And thinking back when you come across a kernel of nostalgia is like flipping through past pages of insecurities mixed with the boredom of high school and feeling helpless to move my life along any quicker. I remember what it was to be 12 and then 14, 15, 17, etc. So many years and different states of mind. Frozen like a time capsule, I compare how I felt at 15 or so to now and I just feel so young to remember what life was like then. I know that I am only 21, but I feel so much older. I feel old enough to have my own freaking grandchildren, for how much spiritual growth and negotiation has aged me. I remember those days and it just feels like I was so young. I don’t feel that young any more per se, but I feel lucky and I’m happy. How can so much change in 10 years? Why is it even occurring to me to think about it now, instead of like 10 more years from now?
Our twenties are so nonsensical that it almost feels like you can skip them altogether. We all come to different truths at different moments, but what exactly is this in between zone, to feel so old and distanced from a time in your life that isn’t so far off? Ten years is a long time. It’s so silly how we discredit young adults and pretend they don’t care what happens in their own lives if when we look back, we can remember this well. There is this popular stigma that young people are lazy, but how many opportunities do we give youths to be engaged in a way that accepts their limitations and capabilities as a teenager or young adult? Do adults really remember?
If you want to engage younger people, remembering isn’t enough, unfortunately. When I was 11, significant progress on ipods was still yet to be a thing, MySpace was still popular, and people didn’t use decent wireless computers. I get that my parents didn’t even have computers, but hear me out. Technology has changed so fast that you have to traipse back into deep nostalgia to catch hold of the light year in which you were this age or another. Whether we are talking about the advent of color television or smartphones is no different; we can mark the passage of time with recent technological changes pretty easily. Our experience as human beings and the way we interact with one another has taken on a hugely different vibe with the rise of social media and how it has become an obligation for us all. It is natural to have a hard time catching up with mastering different network technologies and devices, because whether or not we examine young children who play video games or older adults who have a hard time using computers, technology has aged us all. Should we be ashamed of that? Like tectonic plates shifting, it just kind of is.
I think it is easier to keep up with how technology changes if you focus more on how information is stored and systems of thought. Complex processes like learning a language and crossword puzzles help provide neurological benefits later in life because they protect a person’s better against degenerative cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s or Dementia. If we can get into thinking about systems of thought, and how different parts of the world correspond to one another’s ticking parts, we have a better shot at figuring out how the heck whatever new device works with and can be adapted to all the things people already do. That information is useful, because the attitude of examining systems and thinking critically about how to apply our technology to current problems can be taught. Literacy with systems of thought, databases, and the different ways humans communicate with one another can help people design methods of using what we’ve already got to reach people who are outside of the bell curve of current technological use. It is almost as if by using systems of information, we can learn to teach others to use more recent technologies through those technologies themselves, thereby making sure that society moves forward as a group instead of fractured by some people’s limited access to computers. Without being able to think of systems of information, we have no abstract framework to pull from if you ever try to explain functions of devices more symbolically, without showing others in person. Good technological explanations almost becomes an art form the more complicated it becomes, because you layer information on information quickly, and leave already confused outsiders in the dust. It’s funny, but good teaching almost becomes more important in a world where if you know how to use the tool, you can do quite a few many things for and by yourself.