How did we manage without it? #WhyWouldntYou
I’ve been thinking a lot this year about lifestyle – we’ve had some HUGE changes, and 2014 has been an enormous year for us. And we owe our lifestyle almost entirely to modern technology.
Without the internets, we wouldn’t be able to work from home, having the freedom to pick and choose hours and days… even the amount I earn in a month is entirely down to me. And technology allows that to happen.
I’m no internet addict – I happily don’t glance at social media from one day to the next, I don’t feel the need to tweet through every TV show I watch, and I don’t Instagram every meal.
But the internet as a whole has allowed me my whole lifestyle. My business based around it, which allows me to work from wherever I choose. It allowed me to take almost a month out to travel Italy this year, as I could keep working wherever we went. I would never have taken my children out of school to home educate if they didn’t all have the power of the internet at their fingertips. For gaming, for research, of exploring the world… it’s a portal to literally anywhere they want to go, right in their own bedrooms. It also happened to make that month long trip round Italy happen, and more gentle on our parental nerves with the engrossing occupation of various tech devices on the long long drives.
I managed to take thirty books away with me for some holiday reading, too – and they took up less space than one paperback, thanks to my kindle (isn’t that the ultimate in bad holiday moments? When you finish the last book and still have three days to go…).
My sister and I were chatting across the internet a couple of weeks ago (she’s in Kent, I’m in Dorset), and thinking back to the days when we relied on an evening or weekend phone call to stay in touch ( ‘cheap’ phone calls after 6 p.m., remember those?).
Skype’s one of those things that I often feel like I stepped into a sci fi movie to use (remember the screens on the wall in Back To The Future II? That was SKYPE, visualised long before it was in any way possible in our every day life!). And I love it. I can call my sister any time of day, and we don’t just chat; we can SEE each other. I can show her what’s in my saucepan and ask if it should be that lumpy. I can ask her opinion on an outfit before I buy it, I can ask her to check my hair before I go out… it’s almost as if we still lived in the same house (which we’ve not done for almost 25 years… and I still miss having here right there…).
The internet and smart phones meant that although I was in Paris, having been whisked away by the husband for an amazing birthday surprise, I was able to see my children on my birthday. I know I could have called them on the phone, but being able to actually see my four favourite faces, and hear them all chattering at once to me, was a priceless birthday gift from 400 miles away.
Even the basic way I shop has been changed by the internet.
I was talking to my father in law yesterday about his Christmas present buying for The Four. He sounded weary and frustrated, and before he even told me I knew why. He hates shopping with a passion – but my mother in law hates computers even more, so these days it falls to him to get the bulk of Christmas shopping done.
But he’s not very good at it. He doesn’t really use the full benefits of internet shopping – because it involves changing the way he shops. Instead, he has simply moved his traditional shopping method online – find the product in a shop he knows, click buy, add payment details, and wait for it to arrive.
Which is fine… but missing the point a bit – he may just as well have stretched his legs and visited the nearest shop.
The beauty of Internet shopping is in the research – if I’m making a purchase, inside ten minutes I can have checked the reviews to see what others thought of it, checked countless shops for the best price, checked for any available offers or coupon codes, compared shipping costs and delivery times… and when I hit buy I’m absolutely confident that I got the best deal available to me. Utterly essential for all of us who are watching every penny.
I visited the local High Street last week, and whilst I LOVED the sensory experience of being in the shops and touching the products, the inspiration that’s available as you wander through the stores, I did get a niggly panic at the back of my brain that I was impulse buying, and a couple of times I whipped out my phone to compare prices before I picked up a product to put it in my ‘real’ basket.
I know it’s tough for older generations to keep up with the speed at which technology is advancing… but I cannot help but be thankful, and wonder why on earth you wouldn’t embrace it. I and my friends have elderly relatives, all in their 70’s and 80’s, who have taken the time to learn how to use a PC or a tablet, and get themselves on Facebook to keep in touch with their ever-spreading family. They use Pinterest like demons (seemingly for the sole purpose of gathering knitting & crochet patterns, cake recipes and funny cat pictures). They even use it to explore virtually the places they know they will never get to see.
So this Christmas, I am determined to sit my mother in law down, and teach her the basics of staying in contact with her grandchildren on the internet. I can’t fathom her reasoning for avoiding modern technology – I mean, really. Why Wouldn’t You?
This is written as part of Intellicig’s #WhyWouldntYou campaign