Thursday, March 25, 2010

How has the world changed most since you were a kid?

It's a lofty question that could be answered dozens of ways: economics, medicine, geopolitical landscapes, technology, even basic sciences have changed. I was born in 1983, the year of the moonwalk (the dance, not the lunar landing), the year The Outsiders premiered, and the year M*A*S*H finally went off the air. MS Word was first released this not-so-pivotal year, and then-President Reagan declared MLK Day a holiday. And I don't remember any of it.

Since then, the Cold War has ended. The country went from being terrified of the Sleeping Red Giant (or whatever they called it) to signing treaties and working with Russia and former USSR countries. The threat of nuclear weapons no longer comes from the taiga but from the desert.

Medicinal changes are, of course, huge. I don't think pharmaceutical companies controlled the industry back then nearly as much as they do now. Small town hospitals have given way to multi-building conglomerates, regional medical centers, and HMOs. AIDS was discovered, and treatments for HIV/AIDS have done wonders for life expectancy, though a cure remains undiscovered. Cancer detection methods improved. Even the ultrasound, such an inexpensive, safe, and widely-used diagnostic tool became much, much more popular.

Computers weren't found in any but the most lavish (and geeky) homes in the early 80s. Today, we all have them (if not more than one!). The Internet evolved from it's early file-sharing roots to it's modern self, Web 2.0 I think they call it. Typing classes went from typewriters to PCs. Airplanes went from joysticks to autopilot. Even microwaves and ovens and VCRs and washing machines... from dials to buttons, from mechanical parts to digital parts.

How has the world changed most since I was a kid? For me, the biggest change is globalization. When I was born, tropical fruit may have been the only food products trucked in from around the world. Beef was still grass fed. Call centers were staffed locally by native English speakers. The "bad guys" lived "over there" instead of next door and around the world. Regional accents defined a person's upbringing. Area codes meant something. Doing business meant walking to the next office or flying to another country, no e-mails or video conferencing. Passports were optional to cross the border into Canada. And things didn't have to happen in an instant.

Twenty-six years. Can we make life slow down?


MissKris said...

Oh, darlin' girl...wait 'til you write a blog entry about this from MY age's viewpoint, haha! In fact, if I find any time this weekend -- it's crammed full at this point -- I may even have to write about it. Even in your 26 years -hey, we're only 30 years apart in age! - it's amazing the changes you've seen.

MissKris said...

PS...a day or two later. I dunno how often you manage to wander over, but I sure got a nice 'recognition award', I guess you'd call it. I'd like to share it with you: