People I run into these days often complain about the internet and smartphones and the supposed anxiety they add to our lives. I am afraid I must differ. I can see “in theory” the reasoning behind their complaints primarily if they are just focused on the overuse of Social Media and constant texting but wonder if they can look back a bit and remember their anxiety about leaving their offices, homes, desks not too many years ago, wondering if they might miss an urgent call or notice while away.
Well I can and I must say I am content to be able to step out or to tune in to a good book or even a Netflix episode of Jane the Virgin knowing that anyone who needs me can text, email, what’s app or call me and I can decide whether or not to address those interruptions at that precise moment. The anxiety of perhaps “missing out” is gone.
If my people are on another continent, I can still decide if the time is right to receive them or if I should address their messages in the morning. I confess I am one who can turn over and return to sleep after one of those beeps in the middle of the night, so perhaps this is not fair.
Living long is a gift. It gives us perspective. The lives we lived so many years ago were great and offered us many positive things, but the possibilities today are so much more plentiful. Got a question? Look it up on the internet, and in seconds you have information. You may have to dig deeper for a fuller picture but keep going, and you will probably have the answers.
When I began to explore the life of Django Reinhardt last year, for example, I found a book review in the New Yorker that led me to Michael Dregni’s wonderful book about the man, the culture and the music. Dregni would go into great detail about guitar techniques and specific parts of a piece and I, not a musician, could search the internet and invariably come up with illustrative articles or even a YouTube example of what he was talking about. When he mentioned a specific location in Paris, Nice, Toulon, or Belgium, I could rapidly place it on a map and learn more about the history of the place enriching the story for me tremendously.
Maybe with the internet, instead of having to rely on our family’s one set of World Book Encyclopedias or the not too satisfactory school library, I might have come out a genius! For now, I am just happy about all it offers me in the present and how it helps me enjoy on an even deeper level the music I hear.
Travel has also been simplified. When my ex-husband and I began to travel in Europe, I had to rely on snail mail to obtain a reservation in destination restaurants in France like that of Georges Blanc In Gourge-en-Bresse and then wait forever for a reply. Today we can get an answer almost immediately.
When I decided I wanted to visit some extraordinary places from the life of Django, it was as simple as just checking the internet regularly until I found a great airfare and booking. Then with the help of Airbnb, I located places to stay to follow my chosen itinerary.
I am totally into the digital age. I feel it is adding years to my life and filling it with fascinating content. I’ll get back to you later about my Django trip which commences on September 11, a date that not surprisingly offered great deals. I guess you can tell I am not particularly superstitious either. Have a great week, and keep listening to that music!