They Aren’t Here Anymore

September 26, 2018 – My thoughts on the journey.

When I allow myself to reminiscence, I often get melancholy. It’s easy to get sad when you think about the good things that just aren’t here anymore.

Recently, I visited a local mall looking for a computer kiosk located on the main aisle. After walking to the end of the mall and returning and not seeing the kiosk, I asked at the information booth if it had moved. “No,” the information specialist said, “They aren’t here anymore.”

From there I went inside one of the retail stores, once the giant of retailing, to look at electric shavers. Sadly, after five minutes of looking for a clerk, I realized, sales consultants just aren’t here anymore; I left without buying.

Electronic stores no longer stock cassette players. Clerks under thirty-five years of age don’t understand when you tell them you have hundreds of cassettes and want to listen to them.  They ask, “Why would anyone want to listen to Earl Nightingale, Zig Ziegler, Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, or Red Rider?”

When I was growing up, there was a great steakhouse in my hometown. It served the best bacon-wrapped filet mignon and twice baked potato. The restaurant was always crowded. The original owners died, and the next generation took over. It was never the same. The quality and service just weren’t there.  And today, the restaurant isn’t there.

I often remind myself nostalgia has a place in life, and the past has played a role in who we are and what we do. But, in most cases, the past shouldn’t play a significant role in what we become or do.

The yesterday’s are gone, they aren’t here anymore, and the tomorrows are uncertain; they aren’t here yet. So, make today count; maximize the moment. “Reflect upon your present blessings,” wrote Charles Dickens, “of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”

You find success not in the past but the present. Motivational giant, Tony Robbins stated it well, “I’ve come to believe that all my past failures and frustrations were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.”

I found my cassette player, a Slim Line Panasonic plus 35 unused cassettes at a garage sale—ten dollars. I bought a new computer at Best Buy and purchased my electric shaver (without sales help) at Target. I occasionally eat a steak at The Outback.

A lot of people, places, and things aren’t here anymore. Some people call this progress. The same people offer “change” as a synonym. But I am not sure all change is an advancement.

I prefer my laptop computer to the old IBM Selectric typewriter; High Definition TV beats my old Philco black-and-white TV; cable and rabbit ears aren’t comparable; cell phones and the old 5-lb. dial phone are generations apart. Some things are better described as “not being here anymore.” 

Quality left with the departure of the craftsman. Getting has supplanted giving. The importance of “You” has been replaced with the self-indulgent “Me.” Sometimes core values are superseded with situational ethics.

Compromise might be a good idea when it comes to the new vs. the old. Advances in engineering and production improve our standard of living. But advances in communications haven’t necessarily improved our ability to transmit ideas and feelings.

I think I’ll pick up my cell phone and call an old friend and just say, “I appreciate all you do for me.”