We are in an age of immediacy.  We can have anything we want, pretty much when we want.  We don’t have to wait for most things in our lives.  It makes me wonder if this is a good thing.

I’m typing on my laptop, listening to songs on YouTube.  I have a computer game waiting for me in the background (when I need inspiration, perhaps??) and I can look up synonyms of words in seconds.  When I’ve finished writing, I could watch the latest episode of The Press with a click of a button.  So why am I complaining about this immediacy?

I am sure I am not alone in remembering recording the charts on a Sunday evening on my old tapWait lit up on a pedestrian crossing.  Immediacy of the modern agee recorder.  (Please don’t sue me – I have been buying albums since I had my own money!!)  If I wanted a particular song, I had to fast-forward or rewind to find it.  It could take quite a long time.

And I HAD to be in between 5.10 – 6 pm each weekday evening.  Home and Away, followed by Neighbours.  A friend of mine had both a Betamax and a VHS.  She might be able to record an episode for us to watch if we knew we were going to be out.  My brother bought a video recorder when I was about 15.  I could sneakily tape them and watch when he wasn’t at home.

Not these days.  No longer do we face the devastation of discovering the video tape had run out while you were on holiday.  Or that your programme had overrun by a few minutes, and you hadn’t recorded the ending.   Now, with the benefits of TV on demand, it takes a few clicks of a button to find the latest episode of a series. It will even remember where you are up to if you don’t finish in one sitting.

We had some work done to our house about 18 months ago.  Before then, watching something on iPlayer was a complicated business.  We either plugged the laptop into our 1990s TV, or stretched the broadband cable from one end of the house to the other.  The children hadn’t know that TV “on demand” existed.  They had recorded their favourites on the “box” quickly and easily, and were more than satisfied.  After the work, there were now two televisions in the house that could instantly connect to the internet.  As you may have read, we are majorly restricting their screen time at the moment.  It doesn’t stop them being able to watch every episode of a series over a period of days.

I feel like they are missing out somehow. It is the same with tablets and computer games. They are Young people queueing up a winding staircase.  Immediacy of the modern ageimmediate. It wasn’t much of a hardship to have to wait 5 minutes for The Crystal Cave to load up on our BBCb with a tape deck. It was frustrating when it then crashed! Oh, the luxury of going to the library and playing the same game but loading it with a floppy disc!

Having this immediacy in their formative years means that they don’t know how to wait for things. I used to relish the anticipation of the next episode of my favourite Aussie soaps. Having to wait wasn’t a hardship. It was a fact of life. I feel it taught me how to wait for other things.  Having had to wait over 3 years to install a garage door that actually works, I truly appreciate it now.

How can we help those born in this age of immediacy learn how to wait? Many haven’t experienced the delicious wait for a reply to a letter from a loved one. Knowing it can’t come the next day, and is unlikely to be the day after, either.

Things we can try:Green forest with a few brown trees in the centre.  Immediacy of the modern age

  • Take them out into nature.  Mark the passing of time through the changing of the seasons.
  • Turn off the internet if we are lucky enough to be able to go on holiday.
  • Find them a pen friend.  Help them to anticipate the return of a letter.

What do you remember having to wait for?

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19 comments

  1. I have to admit I hate it when I can’t get something there and then. Like when I’m watching a series and I can’t get the next episode. I think we need to be mindful and teach ourselves patience.

    1. Oo – that person you are following when you are in a rush! Yes, it makes me cross, too, particularly if they are just looking at their phone…

  2. It is hard isn’t it – everything is always there these days, we can be so used to everything on demand, I’m not sure I could go back to the days of no fast forwarding through ads and ondemand.

    1. I had this brilliant button on my video that fast-forwarded through the ads. I think it assumed all ad breaks were the same length! It worked – just about 🙂

  3. This is a really interesting piece and although I’ve pondered a lot on the impact of technology on children, it’s eye-opening to think in terms of immediacy. Luckily, we get to travel quite a bit, which takes the control and tech away a bit and we all love it.

  4. I hate having to wait for anything but im also an advocate of turning off the internet and living in the moment! The good thing about getting a dog is that it takes us outdoors at least twice a day now!

  5. I must admit that I love being able to watch a whole TV series in one go these days, but yes, the next generation are going to expect to get everything yesterday!!

  6. Oh, I have to say I do love to watch a full season on Netflix! But also love the slowness of the country and living rural, we recently moved from city to country and have renovated our house…let me say any type of renovation, paitence is key! ha ha!

  7. Random question – do you still watch Neighbours? I feel like I’m the only person who does! LOL. I definitely think life is a LOT easier now. We bought 2 baby lionhead bunnies back in May and I was constantly googling the things I needed to know about them. Whereas if we’d bought them 10 or 15 years ago I’d probably have had to have bought a book to help me. Things have changed so much. I can’t imagine my kids coping with life as I knew it in the 80’s and 90’s!

    Louise x

  8. I’ve got to admit to being quite impatient at times but I do love still writing and reading letters. My best friend and I still write each other occasional letters – mostly because we both love stationery!

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