Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.
So. You think your life is your own. You believe you can make your own choices about what you are willing to spend your hard earned cash on. You are wrong. Someone else is making choices for you. I’ve said it a million times “You can’t buy what is not available to buy.” “You can’t eat what is not there to eat.” “You must pay their price for things or do without.” Its all about the money you have and the legendary “they” want it. Its so very difficult for a senior mind to keep up with the changes.
Let me give you some examples of what I’m talking about. The last few days I had been comment talking with a reader about phone services for those who want only a land line phone and don’t want to “bundle” with internet. It seems people are no longer given a choice. Its either bundle or no land line phone. I do have internet with my land line phone but only because of my blog. What if I had no computer? What if I had never used a computer in my life or what if I had a disability which prevented me from understanding and using the internet? Many seniors don’t understand cell phones but are being forced to switch anyway. Heck, even homeless people have cell phones these days.
Many of us seniors don’t like change. Like it or not the land line phone is on its way out. Someday we will be telling our grand children or great grand children that phones were once connected to the wall through a fiber optic wire. The phone had buttons to push or a dial to turn for the person you wanted to call. The phone worked like any other except there wasn’t a screen or internet connection. It didn’t tell you the time and it had absolutely no apps. If you wanted to connect to the internet you had to have your phone dial for a connection to your computer. Then if someone picked up another phone in the house you would yell out ‘get off the phone I’m checking my email’ or often you lost the connection. We can tell the grands that in the “olden days” when you called someone but they were on the phone we got a busy signal. Not anymore.
Going paperless used to be a choice. In the near future it won’t be anymore. The mailbox is destined to become obsolete and so is paper envelopes. Just as we are being forced into using cell phones and forced to bundle internet; we are being forced into going paperless. A few days ago I got a letter from my bank. They are now going to start charging $2 a month to get a paper statement in the mail. I can get it free by going online to their website and printing one myself. But, what if I don’t want my bank account information connected to the web for hackers to steal? What if my computer is not totally secure? Well that means I’ll be forced into paying for security software packages. What if I had no computer? I’d be forced to buy one and then buy internet access (bundle) and then security ….. you get the picture. I could go to the library but those are out in the open for everyone to watch.
Actually paper itself is on serious life support and we have no choice about it. More and more books, magazines, and newspapers are being produced in digital format. If we want to read them we must subscribe and have some type of reader. Oh, and paper photos are becoming obsolete too. Family photo albums are no longer coffee table books. Photos used to be cherished captured moments of time. Photos were developed in photo centers and printed on paper. Have you seen a photo printing center lately? We can’t get what is not available. These days photos are taken hundreds of times a day and published for the world to view. Face to face contact is being replaced by digital pictures and short little messages.
I used to have hundreds of paper books and then recorded books became available. I love my recorded books. I like to listen while I work. For a long time I collected books on records. Remember those? They were sort of like CD’s with grooves for a needle to follow. Then came 8 track tapes followed by cassettes. Now I collect shiny CD’s but these are being replaced with MP3 or is that out of date already in favor of digital services? I can’t keep up. I’ll continue to listen to my collection until they no longer work. Its just a matter of time until these become relics of times gone by. I won’t have a choice. I can’t buy what is not available.
Handwriting with pen or pencil and paper is slowly being replaced. Children start learning to touch screens as soon as they can hold a pad and schools are slowly moving away from teaching kids to write. There was a time when schools had computer labs. You had to go there to use a computer but now small hand held devices are shoved into the hands of babies. One grandchild asked another “Can you write?” The other said “No but Na Na knows how.” What will we seniors do when pens or pencils are no longer available for purchase?
Speaking of purchases. With the use of plastic cards and internet banking the future of money itself is on a path to being obsolete. There won’t be a need to print paper money or stamp metal coins. In a few years money will become relics seen only in museums. The same with piggy banks and change jars. No longer will we hear the clink of coins in a pink pig or see them pile up in a jar. We can’t save what is no longer available. What will people do without a bank account and the plastic money? How soon will the plastic cards also become outdated?
Brick and mortar stores are on the decline as more people order through internet sites. Text books and library books are slowly being replaced by digital media. Doctors no longer use a prescription pad and drug stores have your meds ready by the time you arrive. Without paper we won’t have a need for staplers or manila folders and file cabinets. Chalkboards, white boards, and teachers in traditional classrooms are being replaced with 24/7 online digital learning. No more rooms with desks, no more note taking, and no more desks. Televisions are soon going to be obsolete too. Replaced with tablets so you can carry your tv with you and stream your favorite show wherever you go. Every person will have their own to carry.
I could name dozens of other things either obsolete over the last decade or will be within the next one. We have no choice. Technology is changing our world and dragging us along with it. We either accept and keep up with the changes or we are forced into it.
I’d like to finish this post with one more relic of the past. PRIVACY. Cameras everywhere from roof tops to street lights and some tiny cameras that look like shirt buttons. GPS technology tracking you down in a hurry. Space satellites capable of looking into your windows and listening to conversations. Cell phone tracking. Digital power meters on your house recording what room you are moving from and into. Recording when you are cooking and when you are relaxing in front of a tv screen or a computer. The internet anticipating your thoughts and offering suggestions. Banks recording all your buying habits and offering the information for sale. There is no privacy anymore. Everything you are and all that you own is public information. Privacy has long ago disappeared in our world. Those quiet moments you share with a child or a spouse are not private any longer. Someone someplace is watching you. We used to call it “big brother” and he was always watching. Read George Orwell’s book Nineteen Eight Four (1984) written and published in 1949. People thought he was just crazy at the time but now people see him as a visionary.