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Thursday, 14 September 2000

Wonderlost

Written by  Sara Eisen

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Maybe it's the webolution, the pervasiveness of all types of media, and the ease with which we can now traverse the small, small, world in the comfort of our favorite chairs that's making me yawn even as I have seven applications running at once. Fact is, there's very little today's techno generation hasn't seen or heard or at least heard of.

Bending our minds around a tough problem rather than speed searching for an answer, or breaking our backs to achieve something physical rather than ordering it ready-made, would give us a reason to go to bed tired from life, rather than tired of it.

Bending our minds around a tough problem rather than speed searching for an answer, or breaking our backs to achieve something physical rather than ordering it ready-made, would give us a reason to go to bed tired from life, rather than tired of it.

Just search for it, and you're there. It's all faster than I care to understand, and positively effortless.

And all this "easy knowing" and fast food-everything seems to have a real effect: People who were born in the eighties seem just a tad more world weary than us Gen-Xers; and we seem jaded next to the Boomers.

What-ever... Do you have a point here?

Fact is, I do have a point:

It's a shame.

Not in the Jerry Seinfeld sense, but really, truly: It's a shame.

A shame that there are so few things which make kids today say: "WOW!"

A shame that people growing up in this age of hyperlinked reality feel stupid being amazed by something. Is it embarrassing that you weren't born having been there and done that? This is the phrase that, for me, epitomizes the new millennium. We've seen everything -- tell us something we don't know.


David Starck

This loss of wonder is tragic, but it is natural. Social science has long maintained that the harder you work for something, the more you appreciate it, the more you value it, and the more satisfied you are with both the product of your effort and with yourself.

The corollary to that, then, is that if things are so easy, so effortless, and so accessible, we will never connect with them in the truest sense. These things that we acquire so fast aren't ours. We have nothing to be proud of.

What, indeed, can we claim as our own, if not the fruits of our own hard work?

Bending our minds around a tough problem rather than speed searching for an answer, or breaking our backs to achieve something physical rather than ordering it ready-made, would give us a reason to go to bed tired from life, rather than tired of it.

Here, then, are a few little things to try -- to challenge ourselves to seek the harder way out:

  1. Next time you have a research project, go to the bricks and mortar neighborhood library, before you surf the Net. Get your information from real books. Smell the musty old pages, look at the people, feel the sun filtering through the windows between the great stacks of literature, hear the silence. Go home with a paper you didn't cut and paste, and a memory you can't overwrite.

  2. Walk places, or ride your bike, instead of driving or being driven there. If it's safe, take a scenic route. Look around you, notice things, step in puddles, sit on the ground, roll in the leaves. Nature is more than just a channel on cable.

  3. Make yourself -- and your family or B/F or BFF or whoever -- a real, three course, homemade meal. Plan what you would like to make, find the recipes, shop for the ingredients and cook it. Set the table nicely, with napkins and candles and flowers; really go all out on this one. Make Martha jealous.

  4. Take out your little brother or sister for an ice cream or a movie, or go camping with him or her and a few little buddies. (OK, so I stole this one from Dawson's Creek.) Never know what you might learn from someone half your size. Be careful! You're a role model now.

  5. Interview your grandmother, or an older relative. Write it down -- don't record it. Turn it into an essay. Maybe it will be great for English class one day, or maybe it will just be an amazing few hours that you will always remember.

The point is, do something that takes some effort.

Something that takes a while.

Something that gives you pause.

Reclaim satisfaction.

Be amazed by the results.

Last modified on Thursday, 14 April 2011 19:48
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Sara Eisen

Sara Eisen

Sara is a journalist and editor.

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