Before Instant Gratification

The other day I posted something on Facebook and went back to look for responses about a minute later.  When I realized what I was doing, I laughed at myself.  Then I started thinking about how instantaeous everything has become.  And that, in turn, started me thinking about how much things have changed, even in my own lifetime.

For example:

I remember when the office where I worked got our first fax machine. It was one of the ones with the heat sensitive paper that grew brittle and rolled up after a couple of days. My coworkers and I all stood around it, watching it like it was the holy grail, marveling as a letter from across town rolled slowly out. I remember turning to the girl next to me and saying, “If I send something, someone in another STATE will see it right away!” She nodded, eyes wide. Now I can email documents anywhere, at any time with (basically) just the push of a button.

I remember when the bank where I worked got one of the first ATM machines. It was HUGE and wasn’t connected to anything but our bank, so you’d have to drive there if you wanted to use it. Now I pay all of my bills over the internet and don’t even have cash half the time because I use my debit card.

When I was a kid, my mother, never a great cook, fell in love with Hungry Man frozen dinners. She loved them because they cooked so fast in the oven. Why, they took under a half hour! Now she complains if she has a frozen dinner that takes longer than 3 minutes to cook in the microwave.

I remember what a big deal it would be for my father to get a phone call from his brother (my uncle) in Oklahoma because it was LONG DISTANCE. After I graduated from high school, I lost track of a number of friends because it cost so much to call them. Now I’m in touch with people across the country and around the world through social media and email.

I remember waiting for the TV Guide to come out with the Fall Preview issue because I could plan which shows I wanted to watch and dream about them before the season started. I remember the planning that would go into arranging schedules around a particular show. Now I can pull up almost any movie or tv show I want to see instantly, either through cable or DVDs I own.

I remember when I had to go to the library to do research or check out books. Now all I have to do is turn on the computer.

In a lot of ways, I think the instant energy surrounding us today is wonderful. I’m glad that I can be in such close contact with family and friends, old and new. I’m glad that I can be a part of people’s lives, even if they live on the other side of the world. I like being able to pay my bills without needing to write out checks (yuk). But as everything winds faster and faster and faster, as interactions and debates happen ever more quickly, I need to remind myself to slow down. To relax. To take my time.

Maybe I’ll go to the library.  Or use the oven the next time I cook something.

Nah. I’ll go to the library.


  1. Well said, Betsy. I love computers and technology and think it is a good news/bad news all the time. All things in moderation, I guess.

  2. And Betsy, I jut forwarded this to some friends at the touch of a button.

  3. LOL Isn’t this the truth?!?! The students I work with think email is so old-school because it takes soooooo long to go back and forth when they can text in seconds.

    I had to chuckle yesterday at work because we had an unexpected power shut-down for several minutes….. and the message that we were safe to power back up was sent out— of course — by email, which nobody got because our computers were turned off.

    • Betsy Horvath says

      @Lynda K:HAHAHAHA! I had that happen too – we were having major system issues and emails were going around…that nobody could read. 😀 See, I’m so old school that I wasn’t even thinking about texting, but you’re right. It is faster than email. LOL I guess pretty soon we’ll just be plugged into each other’s minds. Or into a giant machine, like the Matrix. Eeek!

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