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Stepping Back in Time

October 1st, 2013 · No Comments

So many people reminisce about the “good old days.” Those good old days might only be a few decades ago. Could it be that we wax nostalgic because everything was simpler? You didn’t see homes drowning in material possessions, and most people actually stayed away from business activities on the weekends. People 50 years ago probably were not better time managers but the sense of urgency and overload was muted because information traveled at a slower pace and didn’t follow you into restaurants and on vacations.

I recently went back to to New York for time management training and consultations with a city agency.  This was an opportunity to also get back on my home turf.  We lived in Manhasset on Long Island, just two towns outside of Queens. The house I lived in from 8th grade on throught college is still owned by my stepfather. He had finally conceded and put in two window air conditioners. However they were never turned on while I was there. Although the temperature didn’t go above 90 degrees, the humidity was pretty high. For him that is bearable, versus the cost of electricity for running them. It’s not a question of money, but training instilled from early childhood to spend only for what you must have. He figures I’m living in Phoenix so I should be able to handle the heat. Of course, in Phoenix there are sometimes only a few minutes a day that we are not climate-controlled.

The second stepping back in time that I noticed was how many businesses in this little but very upscale town have been around for more than 50 years. With small companies swallowed up by bigger companies, which in turn are swallowed up by the biggest companies, it is comforting to see familiar names on the stores along the main street. They may have changed ownership, but the facades still sport those names, none of which are a chain. I felt really good every time I could point out that this store or that store has been here all along. There is a continuity. I can “go home” and find that many things remain the same. On the other hand, I miss the stores that have changed along the way. I want them to be there for me.

What is missing today? I think we still want roots and a sense of belonging over time–things that we often fail to establish with our mobile and increasingly isolated society. I also see how many of my clients want to and need to escape from the relentless demands on their time. There is so much going on now that it’s tough to stay current and still take a break. Oh, for the “good old days”….or at least the occasional trip back in time.

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Tags: Changing Times