Where has the patience gone?Published 29/12, 2016 at 13:08
I am writing this, the last editorial column of the year, for the 16th time now including this year. It seems like every time I have been summing up the year there is always some frustration involved. Either there is a new war going on somewhere with people suffering, or business has turned bad in some markets, or the world’s economy is unstable and so on. It seems like things were better before. Or were they? Maybe it was just that we did not hear about all misery in the world.
In our modern society a lot of things are new. First of all we have much better media coverage and a lot more people have opinions about everything. Now news travels extremely fast, for good or bad. Another thing that is completely new is our postal service. During the 1990s the often governmentally owned postal company was the main supplier of messages. There were many post offices around the country. But already in the beginning of the 1990s things started to change. The Internet and the world-wide-web became a reality and people started to send messages to each others using this media. The postal service had to reconsider the situation and now the postal service is completely different. In my country Sweden there are now very few post offices. Letters are still delivered by the postal company, but if you are waiting for a package or want to send one that has to be done at the local grocery store.
All other communication has been taken over by email, Facebook, Messenger, Instagram you name it. Today everything needs to be fast and happen instantly. No one has the patience to wait anymore. New smart phones, tablets and laptops make sure that we are entertained where ever we are. One hardly sees a person sitting on a bus just looking out the window. Everybody needs to be occupied or entertained with something digital all the time. Maybe those of us who grew up during 1930s to 1980s have a little bit more patience though. But children and young people have on average been brought up in a totally new world of information.
I remember during the 1960s and 1970s in my hometown in the mid-western part of Sweden how boring for instance Sundays could be. Everything was closed and there was nothing on the TV to see either and the broadcasting started late in the afternoon and at that time Sweden only had two government channels. Often we watched Norwegian TV as I lived close to the boarder. Norway had only one channel but at that time showed more films then Swedish TV. And there were no video or DVD players. But we had three cinemas in a city with about 15,000 inhabitants and one coffee shop that was usually open on Sundays. So that was where we spent many Sunday afternoons. We did not have much compared to today’s variety. But what we had was patience and maybe we needed that boring Sunday when nothing happened to recharge the batteries for the coming week.
Yes, I know I sound like a grumpy old man, although I am only 55. But the older I get the more aware I am of how things have changed and start to think or remember things and traditions that actually fostered my life. To link to what Julie White has written in her column, 2016 is for sure a year that will be remembered with many extraordinary events and changes. And I would also extend it to say that the last 20 years of our modern society has contributed to a whole new world that in all aspects demand that we stay much more alert in our private lives, but especially in our professional lives.
There is very little room for patience nowadays. But let us hope that this year’s festive holidays will bring a little bit of that peace of mind so we get some time to recharge our the batteries for 2017. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our readers, advertisers and contributors for all their help, assistance and support this year. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.