Yesterday’s post about Starbucks and the previous day’s experience with the people in the neighborhood coffee shop got me to thinking. I awoke during the middle of the night, pondering this question:
Where do we live our lives now, in the early part of the 21st century? And, how is this different from the way we lived in the 1950s, 60s, 70s, when I was a child and young adult?
I watched my sister during those mid-century years, living an adult life as she is 17 years older than me. She had a home, two small children, a husband who was climbing the executive ladder, and she wasn’t employed outside of the home. She shopped almost every day, going to different stores on various days for different items–food, clothing, household goods. Every Thursday she was at the hairdresser, having her hair done, and every Friday the family went out to dinner. She often entertained on Saturdays or was entertained by her husband’s associates in their homes. Because her husband was an investor in a race car, she sometimes spent Friday nights at local race tracks, with another group of friends. These are the places she lived her life.
Now, in her 80s, my sister looks back on those years and laughs. She seldom shops, except for groceries and the small amount of household items an elderly woman in a two-bedroom apartment would need. She says she can get everything she needs at a nearby Wal-Mart. She does her own hair. Much of her family, and most of her friends, are deceased. The great grandchildren come to visit once a week or so. A close friend lives a few doors away and they visit on the sidewalk or go into each other’s apartments for a cup of coffee. She and I talk on the phone. Her life has gotten much smaller, and she likes it that way.
When I tell her about the Starbucks outing and what I witnessed, she just gives it up to the times we live in. It’s different now. She sees no point in going to a coffee shop to see her friends for a cup of coffee. She can call them up, those who can still get out, and they can come over to her apartment. They sometimes get very adventuresome and go to one of the local casinos. My sister still likes to gamble but not like she did in her 60s and 70s. The cigarette smoke bothers her. She gets tired much easier. She really doesn’t like to be out for more than a couple of hours at a time, and if she has a doctor’s appointment during the week, that will be her outing, preferring to stay home the rest of the week.
The department stores, the hair salons, the restaurants, the race tracks…replaced by online shopping, spas, gourmet coffee shops, sports arenas and gyms. Does that sound about right for where people are living their life? I’m going to continue pondering this question.