Time for a Reset?

Source of photo: Dreamstime.com

I was videoconferencing my daughter recently and the connection broke at least five times as we talked. “Sorry”, she told me early on. “My phone’s getting old. I really have to get a new model.”

“Gee,” I answered, “It doesn’t seem like you’ve had it that long: it’s just a couple years old, isn’t it?”

“No, it’s ancient.” She sighed. “I got it six years ago, Mom.”

I guess that in today’s terms, six years is ancient. My daughter is not much of a technophile: it’s rather admirable that at her age, she’s held onto a phone ‘that long’.

My mother was born into a poor family at the end of the Great Depression. She and my Dad got married back in the late fifties. Even though they started out pretty poor, they both did well for themselves and lived a good, comfortable retirement. Nonetheless, my mother never lost her habit of saving absolutely everything, ‘just in case’. When she finally moved into a seniors’ home a few years ago, my sister and I found bottles (upon bottles) filled with buttons, loose change, clothespins and mason-jar tops; several jars filled with those twisty bread ties that haven’t been around for decades now; a drawer filled with restaurant napkins; containers of restaurant salt and pepper packages; a box filled with extension cords and cables. And of course: the infamous ‘junk drawer’, that included boxes of matches, little nails, safety pins, elastics, a wide variety of bits of string and ribbons in various lengths and materials, old birthday candles; not to mention miscellaneous hardware from dozens of items that had broken down over the years. I could go on and on. My mother’s generation kept everything. You never knew when that little bit of hardware or the right length of string might just come in handy.

When she finally left her home, Mom’s fridge and stove were the second she had bought in all the years she and Dad were married: fifteen years earlier, she and Dad had reluctantly decided to purchase new ones after their forty-year-old models had become inefficient. I vaguely recall that they were disappointed: what was the world coming to when a stove died after just forty years of use?

Like my parents, I bought my first washer and dryer expecting them to last my lifetime. Less than fifteen years later, I was appalled to already be needing replacements. The repairman I called to try and fix them told me I was lucky to have kept them that long. My husband and I had to buy a new washer and dryer recently (my fourth set and I just turned sixty). The saleslady told us this set probably won’t last more than five years.

I am seeing more and more photos of our oceans overflowing with plastic and landfills overflowing with everything else. Last summer, my husband and I spotted a nearby graveyard of old television and computer consoles, unceremoniously dumped over the river bank near one of our favourite walking trails. I recently found out that the fashion industry is the second-worst polluter in the world after oil. Most people will have owned dozens of phones in their lifetime. Ours has become a disposable economy: money makes the world go ‘round but only if our stuff is replaced frequently, whether we need to or not. After all, if our things lasted as long as they did in our grandparents’ time, well, how could the rich get richer?

Because, let’s face it; it’s always about the rich getting richer.

A friend of mine recently told me, discouraged, that perhaps the world needs a ‘reset’. Wipe the slate clean and just start over: a modern-day Noah’s arc, so to speak. Sad that the thought held some fleeting appeal for me. And then I realised; naw, give us a hundred years and the world would be just as full of junk as it now.

Our species doesn’t seem to be all that good at learning to do better.

And the rich just keep coming up with new things for us to buy…

Patti Moore Wilson/© wednesdayschildca.wordpress.com


Author: Patti Moore Wilson, wednesdayschild2

I write what I feel. And I rarely know exactly what I feel until I write. I have lived long enough to have known many joys and many sorrows. I have made many mistakes; I have forgiven myself for a few… I have learned that there are lessons in every step of this journey, if we only take the time to pay attention… I hope you will feel free to pick and choose the stories that resonate for you…

20 thoughts on “Time for a Reset?”

  1. Your post reminded me that I have to clean out my own junk drawer. I have so much stuff that I don’t use and probably never will. Might be a great fall project. Plus, we all need to stop polluting our planet so thanks for bringing this to mind. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The older I get, I’m actually almost as bad as my mother 🤓 I do try NOT to buy new if I can find things second hand and I also try to fix things before replacing them when I can. You can proudly keep your junk drawer (or maybe a pared down version of it). Maybe someday, the next generation will write about how you inspired them 🥰 Thanks so much for stopping in and taking a moment to comment 🥰

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My mom was the kind who’d have us out on the shoulder of the rural highways picking up aluminum cans to fund our trip to Disney World. Once, a tanker of cream derailed and she and my grandfather got as much cream as they had containers for… then, she made enough butter for over a year. She pinched pennies so hard they actually sued her for harassment…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing!!.. with mass production one doesn’t get the quality product and if they made things to last forever they would go out of business and, of course, they keep making new things that would make life easier… change is in the winds and the old normal is becoming history, the new normal has started.. 🙂

    There are a lot of things we can do to help with climate, etc. but with today’s fast paced world it is difficult and only if one wants to.. 🙂

    Hope all is well in your world and until we meet again…
    May your troubles be less
    Your blessings be more
    And nothing but happiness
    Come through your door
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Loneliness is a feeling that does not have to be hung onto forever. It is a choice to feel lonely. Throw it in the trashcan, and set out some birdseed. You will have new friends in no time.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I love your typo, your walk by the river amongst all the old junk being a “trial”! I can see you and hubby clambering over the broken TV sets, trying not to injure yourselves, or fall into bottomless pits. Sometimes typos tell the real truth!
    Once upon a time manufactuers and builders took pride in the products they made. Now their only pride is in the size of their bank accounts.
    A number of years ago I had occasion to travel in Cuba, 2004 I believe. They were still driving cars they had purchased in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. They had no rust on them, though it looked like they were painted with housepaints. Very colourful! The people were poor, but they partied every night after they got home from their workplaces. Community meals were shared, and no one went hungry — in the small town and villages. The cities were another matter, unfortunately. There it seemed no one cared about anyone but themselves. But I will carry my memories of the countryside with me as long as I live. I have never seen such a happy people…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooops 😬🤓 I missed the typo!!!! And I appreciate you pointing it out! I agree, there is no longer any pride put into manufacturing or building and we’re both old enough to remember when people DID take pride in their workmanship, which feels worse to me, somehow. I’ve never visited anyplace like what you describe in the Cuban countryside. It must have left quite the impression…


      1. It did. We were staying at a resort, and one of the servers took a shine to us. I guess we did not talk down to her or something. She gave us directions to a village not too far away and she said, “Come any evening.” So we too bicycles and rode over, a few kilometres. When we rode up she came running and introduced us around. They offered us food and liquids (we don’t drink, but fresh fruit juice was fantastic) and invited us to dance with them. Everyone was singing, or playing lively folk music and dancing. When we had to go they threw the bikes in a truck and drove us back to the resort. It was quite memorable.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Well said. We are as a species very good at shortsightedness. We tell ourselves we will change things for the better, then signal to one another how we are doing better. We tribalize the change and demonize anyone who questions the validity of the claims.
    In reality, the change is just different, not a change at all. The ending is still the same.
    If we have grown love in our lives, we have done well.

    We bought a Maytag washer in 1984, it was built in the 60’s. It lasted us another 20 years.

    Liked by 1 person

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