By Rawan Albina (@RawanAlbina)
Generation X is a term coined by Douglas Coupland to define the generation of people born between the year 1965 and 1980. Being part of this generation, I had the chance to witness many great changes and inventions in the world. I consider this generation to be very lucky. We escorted the old world out and saw the dawn of a new one that we grew up with. What you’re about to read is a trip down memory lane.
I remember as a little girl, my grand-father’s Cadillac had an 8-track in it. We used to listen to Elvis, Feyrouz and Magida El Roumi on our road trips every week-end. In my teenage years I would receive mixed tapes with love songs on Valentine’s Day and I would get really upset when one of my tapes got chewed up by the cassette player. Today the iPod has taken the world by storm.
There were the Betamax and VHS video players with NTSC, Pal and Secam standards. Recording your own programs on video tapes was the optimum of modern living until everyone started having cable TV. Today is the age of TV on demand.
Owning a video camera was quite a luxury. So I only had a still camera until early 2000. When I went on school trips or travels, I would take as many pictures as I could without knowing what they would look like. Of course there was no display in the camera and you had to develop the films not print the photos at home.
I saw the metamorphosis of TVs from the small black & white screens to the color TVs to the flat LCDs and now HD and 3D. Who would have thought that videotapes would be replaced by DVDs and Blue Ray and cassettes would be replaced by CDs and downloadable tracks. In today’s world, everything has become electronic; even books, newspapers and magazines.
I miss the days of the phone dial before wireless, mobile and smart phones came about. I was relatively a late adopter of technology as I only bought my first mobile phone in 2002 and created my first email address in 1994! The only way to stay in touch with friends in other countries was by either calling them, which was very expensive, or writing letters. Now I can’t even remember when the last time I received a letter from a friend was. There was no email back then, no Skype and no VOIP. Just regular old communication channels.
As technology changed, the world started losing some of its charm. It became more connected but much faster. We are now so wired that we are not allowed to miss a call or take more than 24hrs to answer an email. Even the fax machine is on its way out. The days of the telegrams and telex are long gone. We’re in the instant communication era. SMS, BBM, etc. Our life is very full and we suffer from constantly feeling overwhelmed and stressed. There is always something on our mind; it’s constantly working and doesn’t get to rest.
We take our music and information with us wherever we go and don’t allow our minds to wander even when we’re waiting for a taxi, a train or a plane. There’s no such thing as idle time but there used to be such comfort in it. The “art of doing nothing” has changed into the “art of doing everything at once”. We forgot about it that now we have to re-learn it. Meditation, yoga, bubble baths and massages are vehicles to take us there but what has been undone is not easily re-acquired.
The best conversations we have today are most of the time virtual. Social networks have taken over and we remember to update our status on Facebook more often than we remember to call a friend. Even our vocabulary has changed to include generation Z words. I sometimes wonder about the fate of communication. Will we always value face to face social interaction?
Being a generation Xer myself, I am lucky to have seen the world go through so many facelifts in just 34 years. There are concepts I am sure my children will not even begin to grasp. We know what invention and hard work mean but how do we explain that to a generation that believes in the power of a mouse click? I guess we don’t. We just allow them to learn it their own “e-way”.
Rawan Albina is a Dubai-based professional coach. You can learn more about her and her work by:
Her strongly positive nature and calm demeanor enables her to gently draw out a person’s full potential as she helps them get in touch with their passions, find their purpose and LEAP into a truly fulfilling and extraordinary life.
Women who are at a crossroads in life, young women ‘Entreprenettes’ and teenagers have all found a strong guide in Rawan who has helped them discover the life skills needed to begin the new phases in their life with confidence.