Are you as obsolete as the flat iron?
Changes are continuous and it’s critical to be aware of them and adapt before you become as obsolete as the flat iron. What a concept! Most people these days don’t know about a flat iron or any iron.
The flat iron
The other day I found some boxes we had moved but never opened. When I opened one of them, I found an old flat iron – it’s been in the family for years and I had forgotten about it. It was rusted on the bottom and as I ran my hand over it I thought about the women who had ironed load after load of laundry with it. The thumbnail picture doesn’t do it justice nor does it speak of the long hours of heating it on the top of the wood stove and ironing with it until it got too cool to be effective. It was placed on the stove to reheat and another heated one was put to work. It was hard, boring work.
Replaced by electricity
Electric irons took its place. It made doing the “washing and ironing” a bit easier. We would sprinkle the clothes so they would be damp and, when ironed dry, they were beautifully wrinkle free. There was pride in ironing and having everything look crisp, folded perfectly, without wrinkles. My mother made sure I did it right when I got old enough to iron the handkerchiefs and, in a few years the ironing was my job. I hated it but it was still my job.
A change to steam
Steam irons made things much easier. Some things didn’t have to be sprinkled anymore—the steam would take care of it. And as irons got fancier so did fabrics. With the advent of synthetics and blends fewer clothes needed to be ironed. Most of us don’t iron anymore – we buy clothes that don’t require it.
Another change —A door stop
For years that flat iron was used as a door stop. Then it disappeared. It had probably been in that box since a move or two ago and I had forgotten about it. Now it sits proudly on a shelf as a reminder to me that things around us change—nothing is static. Some things like ironing, get easier or disappear altogether.
The flat iron has gone the way of the dodo bird.
The flat iron is obsolete.
We can also become obsolete
If we aren’t careful, we can become obsolete, too. It’s hard to keep up with the changes—technology, language, music, art, politics, communications—none of these stay static. I remember my mother saying she didn’t want to have anything to do with computers when the first personal computers were introduced and I bought my first PC. She had seen one of the first crystal radios and topped out with the advent of television. Computers were off the edge for her, and I couldn’t understand it. She wanted nothing to do with it and, despite my best efforts to get her to play solitaire on my computer, she adamantly said, “No.”
I’m beginning to understand. I’ve met my stone wall with cell phones that play music, keep your schedule, get your email, take pictures and let you get on the Internet. I had to get a new phone last year and picked one with all those bells and whistles. I’m still working on understanding how to use all it has to offer.
I always said I wouldn’t allow this to happen. But I keep getting older and, as I do, other things seem to get much more complex. I’ve had to resort to reading the manuals! Imagine that. The bad part is that sometimes I don’t understand the instructions and have to go ask my son. My grandsons have a perfect understanding of computers, etc. Go figure.
Growing up I heard the worn out slogan, “Times change and we must change with them.” I’m trying. I’m trying.
Change with the times
I have come to understand that things shift as we grow older. Lot’s of things shift and I’m most aware of that when I look in the mirror. But our likes and dislikes shift, our energy shifts, our abilities shift. I guess it’s the way we make room for the next generation.
In all of this, know that you are still adequate, “good enough,” and very, very needed.
I know some older people who fight it and I did for a while. I heard myself say onece, “What’s t he matter with me?” That’s a phrase I have now banned from my vocabulary. Nothing is the matter with me. My self-esteem is in tact. I still have lots of talents and abilities. But now I have time to hear the grandsons say, say “Gramma, can we play a game on the computer?” I can do that. and nothing has ever been sweeter.
The flat iron may be obsolete but I am not.