Life and responsibilities: the past vs today

/ Saturday, September 23, 2017 /
Last night, I was talking to my in-laws. I was inquiring as to what envelopes they had, and if we could have some of them, since they almost never write checks, and we have to all the time. But they didn't have the kind we wanted - specifically, security-covered check-sized envelopes.

I responded that we would just go to Amazon to buy them. My father-in-law chuckled.

Every day at my condo complex, hoards of packages come in. Boxes of all shapes and sizes come hither, bringing forth every good one could possibly imagine.

A lot of these customers are young people - people ranging from teenagers to those in their 30s and 40s. Young adults - millennials, as they say - get many, if not most, of their products off of this one site.

Even more than this, lots of other businesses are getting their "business" online. Clothing companies, pet box subscriptions, hardware stores and more - more and more products are being sold online instead of at brick-and-mortar stores.

Why is this? Who's winning? Who's suffering?

For one thing, it seems that millennials today are expected to do MUCH more work than previously expected. What I mean by this is that originally, with the advent of bigger and better technology, people thought that our lives would become easier. Instead, it has triggered a scale of invitations to have more responsibilities and other items to complete. Beforehand, people used to go to the library to look up topics in encyclopedias and journal articles. Now, we can access them at home.

But what is the trade-off? We do have more access to such media. But we are expected, instead, to have more responsibilities. We are allotted shorter amounts of time to access such things and are expected to produce more output, ever day.

Case in point is the modern working mom. My mom works a 60-hour a week job, but still has the responsibilities of all of the cooking and cleaning in the house. (My dad's culinary skills are terrible. Nobody wants to eat what he makes anyway.) How is she able to do this? She multi-tasks almost all of the time - starting the laundry as soon as she gets home, programming the oven so that it automatically turns on/off so that food is not undercooked or overcooked, using a high-tech rice cooker with both "cook" and "keep warm" settings, etc. At the end of the day, she sets on both the laundry machine and the dishwasher so that another load of laundry could be done, and the dishes would be washed overnight.

Her mother, a generation ago, was a full-time homemaker. She needed all of the time during the day, 24/7, to do all of the chores and cooking. She needed more time to change diapers, because she had to wash cloth diapers - unlike the luxury my mom had with disposable diapers. Laundry had to be washed entirely by hand. Technology was less advanced, and that meant that less things could be done at the same time.

Mind you - this was a long time ago, perhaps during the second world war era. So technology wasn't as great as it was now.

But the point is that, despite the fact that my mom needs a lot less time to perform such responsibilities than her mother, she (my mother) is bombarded with more responsibilities in addition. Her full-time job to "bring home the dough" takes up time, and she is also expected to do other things, such as type at a computer, text her children with tons of emojis, etc.

Which gets me back to my original point. Today's generation - nay, everyone living in today's technological world - is expected to do more things. Need to buy groceries? Don't go to the grocery store - use Amazon Pantry instead, so you can save time to do something else. Need a new couch? Don't make the drive out to Ikea - just look online at the reviews and pick one that is to your liking. Even simple things such as buying a present for someone requires only a search and the click of a button, rather than a trip to the mall, complete with used time and gas, etc.

But instead of saying "Yipee! We have more free time!", instead, we are bombarded with more responsibilities. Instead of using that extra time to relax, we're expected to spend more time on our jobs and obtain even more responsibilities than before. For example, as a student, life is filled with endless studying and working at the hospital. When I get home, I run the dishwasher and the laundry, load after load, while cleaning the floor and making coffee by the pot. I continue running the delicates while looking at a book - a book on the iPad. The husband, at work, runs tons of tests on machines at the same time, due to the sheer fact that many, many virtual machines are available for use. He isn't just using ENIAC. He's using i9 or whatever.

So ultimately, what wins? Whose lifestyle and responsibilities are better? Honestly, I don't know. Life is what life is. We are just simply inculcated to the responsibilities we are given. At the end of the day, we just have to do what we need to do. And that's that.


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