I've been around a long time, or so it seems when I look back at the years I've racked up. Among the many things I've learned is that the times DO change. They change for everything we do in life, and as you get older, you become much more aware of this.
Many changes are for the better, for instance Medical Science. When I was young, Polio was a crippling disease that struck pretty much anyone it wanted to and wrecked their lives. Even Presidents of the United States were not immune, Franklin D. Roosevelt was far more crippled by Polio than most Americans knew at the time. It was a terrifying diagnosis, very much like hearing you have Cancer today!
But a vaccine became available just after I was born and people LITERALLY lined up to get it. There were many other childhood diseases which were conquered or curbed in those days that every parent made sure their kids were inoculated for because they had grown up with and seen the horrors of those diseases. Amazingly, today's parents don't bother, or in fact don't want to give their kids such inoculations because these diseases are now quite rare. Today's young parents don't know the dangers or horrors of them. The Measles outbreak is teaching a hard lesson.
Modern Medical Science has saved me several times in my adult life as well. I've had two heart attacks, which in the year I was born, many people would not have survived or would have been severely damaged enough to be virtually a cripple waiting for the next attack to kill them. I went back to work after a few weeks!
Two of the things that lead to heart trouble is High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol. A good portion of my blood pressure problem was solved when I retired because the stress of the job was killing me. Within six months of retirement, the doctors could cut my blood pressure dosages in half! I probably would not have had the two heart attacks if not for the stress of my job because their were no blockages in my heart at the time to cause them! However, even with low cholesterol, the problem is cumulative.
I suffered Kidney shut down another time, which in the old days would have been a death sentence without Dialysis. I had surgery which unblocked the real problem and allowed the kidneys to slowly start functioning again. Once again, instead of dead, I was back to work in a about a month.
I have Diabetes, and was diagnosed and treatment started early on. With diet and exercise (things I admittedly still struggle with) and oral meds, I live a normal life. The year I was born, Diabetes meant a long, slow demise over many years, usually with blindness and amputations of various limbs toward the end.
The current top life saving Medical Science I have experienced is Open Heart Surgery, another thing which didn't exist the year I was born. Over many years I watched it develop in time to save my life. I had five vessel heart bypass surgery in the summer of 2013. Heck the science that DETECTED the problem didn't even exist when I was born, let alone the ability to do Open Heart Surgery to correct the problem! Once again, Medical Science saved my life.
And of course it's not just me who has benefitted. My wife Cindy has had Cancer three times and through surgery and radiation has "dodged the bullet" of death. She's also had surgeries on her Gall Bladder and Back. My Mother is nearly 89 years old as I write this, and even so, Medical Science has saved her, even though she doesn't like doctors and doesn't take her meds unless forced to! I often wonder how much better off she would be if she'd done what she was told to do medically?
Times HAVE certainly changed, and after all they always do. In the case of our advanced knowledge and technologies they certainly have made our lives much better. If you doubt this, just look to any Third World country and see the way things were like a LONG time ago in America!
But another thing that I have seen in my time is that all changes are not good. For instance, we don't know our next door neighbors anymore. There is a steep decline in community involvement. If you want to find one of the causes, look to technology.
When I was a child, everyone was walking around their neighborhoods on summer evenings, talking to neighbors who were sitting on their large front porches. Everyone was "killing time" until their houses cooled off enough to sleep. Do you see big front porches on EVERY house today? And where are those people who used to walk the street? Why, they're home watching TELEVISION in their AIR CONDITIONED homes! I'll bet 90% of you never thought of that! I know I didn't, until it was pointed out to me some years ago.
Even in my beloved hobbies of model railroading, cars, aircraft, and other miniature construction, technology first helped and now is destroying these hobbies. I also love automobile racing, but it is falling victim to technology too! The culprit? Electronics, over complication, and very high costs. All these hobbies and motorsports are being murdered by computers because today's young people find it MUCH easier to do these things in a "virtual world" than face the learning curve and the expense of doing them for real!
Even those participants who have grown up in auto racing and model hobbies are finding the costs overwhelming and the complication far too high to enjoy doing them to the fullest. Beside that, the numbers are going down in participation so fast in some of these "traditional" interests that sometimes it seems that there is no point in continuing. So many new people take a look at these hobbies and walk away to "text" on their cell phones.
Admittedly, I'm an "old dog" that finds it harder and harder to "learn new tricks." But I also can't afford those new tricks, or find them harder to do. I'm not easily sold on always having to have the latest thing because I've lived long enough to have seen this advertising psychology before!
There are a LOT of things that are much better today than they ever were before, but we also have paid a price in the loss of things of value along the way as well. It's said that "The only thing that never changes is change itself." And it is true. Times HAVE changed. The question is, are those changes always for the better?