I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Romance on the hiking trails

Bob, me, Al, silly kid, Frank, Victoria, Gregg, Carol
Yesterday I went to an open house hosted by two of our hikers, Bob and Victoria, who have bought a home together, not only because of their mutual interests, but because they found love as well. It's not the first romance that has blossomed because of our hiking group; Gregg and Carol are also a couple and have moved in together, and they also met while hiking with the Senior Trailblazers. I asked for a picture of the group of hikers that attended the open house. Victoria's grandson had to show off and join the group. I don't know his name, but I know he's obviously an extrovert. It was a fun affair, with lots of guests, kids, and dogs.

I suppose in earlier times, people who fell in love and wanted to become a family would get married, but once you're a senior, that can be inconvenient. Because of our country's social security rules, it can mean that one or both of you stand to lose some of your income through marriage. And it's not like we seniors are still going to be producing children. It was lovely to see the way Bob and Victoria's combined families have meshed.

My beloved and I met through a mutual love of skydiving, and we did decide to get married, but we were relatively young, each of us in our early fifties. We jumped together for several years, but fortunately for us, we have many other activities that connect us. Our skydiving days are over, but our love for one another only grows stronger with each passing year.

*  *  *

Another thing on my mind lately is how much our lives have changed because of technology. Those pesky cellphones are everywhere these days, and I hardly ever see anybody looking up from their phones while on the bus. Since our buses are now wired with free wifi, I too occasionally check my email on my phone. But I resist being caught up in it all. I wonder what all those people are actually doing on their phones. Occasionally I'll see that someone is playing a game, like Candy Crush, but surely that's not what everybody is doing. Nobody is talking on them, even though that is ostensibly their primary use. And everybody has, right there with them, a quality camera and video available at their fingertips.

Now everyone can be helpful in cases of criminal activity that can be caught on phones, or videos of wrongdoing that confirm who did what. That is a new feature of our lives that is welcome, in my opinion. But really, what has happened to us that we no longer pay much attention to our surroundings and we stay hunched over our devices, lost in our own little worlds.

It would be one thing if this were an isolated activity, but it's becoming more and more widespread, with so many of us no longer present. What an opportunity for mind control. It is a little scary to realize that is the direction in which we are headed, with everyone needing to be connected every moment of every day. When I travel up to the wilderness areas to hike, we have no internet, so for most of the day I use my phone as a camera and place it on airplane mode so that it will not continue to search for a nonexistent connection and drain the battery.

Yes, I am definitely hooked on the need to be connected, but as an older person, I remember the days when we actually looked at our surroundings and didn't need to have a smartphone available 24/7. It's only been since 2007 that smartphones have existed, and look what has happened in a mere twelve years! What does the future hold, I wonder.

It's possible that this is all just a passing phase in our development, but who knows for sure? Certainly I won't be around in another couple of decades to see where it all leads, but my inquiring mind looks at our future and sees all kinds of possibilities, not all of them positive.
The human spirit must prevail over technology. —Albert Einstein
Before I started writing this post this morning, I made a quick check of my favorite news sites, just to make sure nothing much had happened since I went to bed. So I am just a much in need of my internet as anybody. And I just now pulled out my phone from my bathrobe pocket to check the weather, so I can know if I need my raincoat this morning (I will).

But another thing technology has given me is this: the ability to sit in my dark bedroom with my laptop and communicate with the world in an instant. I'll hit "publish" and anyone out there with a internet connection can read what I just wrote. Not only that, but the reader can also comment instantaneously, without the need to wait. I suppose this wasn't fast enough for some people, and that's why Twitter was created. I don't use it, thank goodness, since I cannot imagine spending any more time than I already do involved with my screens.

And now it is time for me to put away this Sunday morning duty and continue on with my day. My tea is gone, partner is still sleeping quietly next to me, and this blustery rainy day ahead needs me to join it. Out of bed, conduct my daily activities, and never ever forgetting to give thanks for all the blessings that surround me. Until we meet again next week, I wish you all good things. Be well.


Linda Reeder said...

I think it is wonderful when single people find love in their later years. So many people lose their partners for whatever reason, and having a life partner is such a blessing.

Tom and I use our phones a lot, and not for talking, but he uses his all day, as a computer, reading news articles and editorials. I use mine for quick checks of social media and Google searches, and the weather, of course. Neither of us use Twitter. I spend more time on my computer or lap top.

We'll be checking the weather today, hoping the steady rain lets up before we head out to the 3:00 Sounders match, but we'll have our rain gear ready. On the train, most folks will be on their phones. We might be for a bit, but most of the time I'll be looking out the window or people watching, or even engaging strangers in conversation! Imagine that!

Far Side of Fifty said...

yeah for people that find someone to share their life with. I see no need for Seniors to get married...although I have several cousins who refused to "live in sin" so to speak...I don't see it that way. Marriage at an advanced age is mainly for companionship...and you don't need a license for that!
We have fog this morning and an Odda visitor:)

Rian said...

Congrats to Bob and Victoria! Life is short... and even shorter when you get to our age. We lost a good friend yesterday - unexpectedly - even though he was in his 70's. We and are still in shock this morning. But life goes on, and friends become dearer. Having friends to share your joys and tears is a good thing. Love the pic!

gigi-hawaii said...

Well, I don't have a smart phone. But, I do have a Canon camera and a flip phone that I use for outgoing emergency calls in my car. Basically, I rely on a landline and my computer. That's all the technology I need.

Arkansas Patti said...

Congrats to Bob and Victoria as well as Gregg and Carol. Shared interest is great glue in a relationship. They certainly didn't meet staring at their phones.
I wonder where this wireless connection addiction will end. I see people at ball games who never look up. They are glued to thier phones and could have stayed home. And that is just the adults, the kids are even more addicted. I find it a little scary.
I haven't gotten one and don't plan to. My little flip phone is there for emergencies.

William Kendall said...

I use my phone primarily as a camera.

Gigi said...

How wonderful that your friends have found love! That gladdened my heart, more than you can realize.

I love my phone as much as anybody but I can't quite understand the level of addiction people seem to have that they can't put it down. I've also noticed how it has spawned rude/thoughtless behavior. Such as continuing their conversation (either aloud or via text) while someone is waiting on them. It makes me want to scold them...not that they would understand why their behavior needs correcting. *sigh*

Elephant's Child said...

I am happy to be 'unconnected' but do notice that I seem to be in the minority. I don't think that the insistence on being constantly contactable is entirely healthy, but it may be that it is just moving too fast for me.
Hooray for companionship and love - whenever it arrives.
Have a wonderful week.

Marie Smith said...

It is great to see seniors joining their lives to find some enjoyment in their later years.

I only turn on my IPhone when I need to make a call in an emergency. I am tied enough to my IPad as it is.

The Furry Gnome said...

I find my screen time has gone up since I became paralyzed. When caregivers put me in bed at 7.30, I watch things on my phone. I figure it's better than trying to sleep for 12 hours!

Red said...

You wonder what will Happen. You wonder if we will continue to be hooked to the net. Well, new devices will come along. It's hard to say what the new devices will be capable of. We can already see that they will be more invasive.

Trish MacGregor said...

I enjoy reading about how relationships have grown into love!

Rita said...

Congrats to the couples! That's just wonderful!

People don't seem to know how to just sit, relax, and observe these days. I've wondered if the new generations will know how to be alone with themselves...to be at peace all on their own, you know.

Glenda Beall said...

Congrats to those who have fallen in love as seniors and will spend their lives together. I know seniors who have a partner but will not marry because they will lose their social security or it will be lessened. We have to think of our security when we get older. I think about my mother who never met a stranger and started conversations in elevators or in waiting rooms. She would never have let a phone take her attention when she could talk with real people. I am much like her. I struck up a conversation standing at a counter in Wal-Mart last week with a very nice woman and before we left each other we had exchanged phone numbers and planned to have lunch together. Now, if I had been on my smart phone while I was searching the shelves, I'd not have met Jo, who I think will become a good friend, a real friend, not a FB friend.

Dee said...

Dear DJan, I wonder, too, about a technology that really doesn't build community--or perhaps it's just that it doesn't add to one's community because no one looks up or around to discover someone new.

One thing I am grateful for is my iPad that makes reading ebooks so easy now that paperbooks are not always easy to read. Also, I've recently realized that texting and sending photos kept me connected me with my brother and sister-in-law when they recently visited Alaska. As they saw the glaciers and snapped I photo--then texted it, I got to see right with them! Peace.

Galen Pearl said...

When I see so many people in public focused on their phones, I'm reminded of the movie Wall-E. Talk about predicting the future! A very sobering and hopeful message for all of us.

Like you, when I'm in nature at my cabin, I'm unplugged--no cell service, no cable, no internet. Lovely. At home, I don't have a TV anymore but I can watch things on my computer. I stay away from the news. I don't use Twitter or Instagram or any of the other social media sites (except occasionally Facebook). The interest in blogs is fading generally as younger people embrace newer ways of keeping up, but I still have my few favorite ones, like yours!

As I've gotten older, I have fallen further behind with technology, and I'm fine with that.

Linda Myers said...

I'm listening to the rain on my metal roof, grateful for a dry indoors and a computer to connect me.

Rhapsody Phoenix said...

Seniors falling in love, lovely. That means there is hope for me. i am no spring chicken. I am in between. Its good to know that love can be found.

Technology has it pluses and minuses like anything else i suppose. People are tuned out taking for granted their safety. They are having loud conversations one involuntarily over here and can't unhear and sadly some are more interesting in taping drama and posting on social media than calling for help. That being said, its great to have means to getting help at ones finger tips and capturing proof.

i hope all is well with you ...
have a great day.

Terra said...

How nice those two couples found each other through enjoying a mutual pastime of hiking. I think this 24/7 connectivity is actually impairing young people and their ability or desire to hang out with people in person, I have read some studies that suggest that.