Life seemed so much simpler way back when. Maybe I sound old, like I never thought I would. Or maybe it’s that life has just gotten more complicated over the years with age, technology and the quest for more.
When I was little, we went for Sunday drives. My parents would say, “let’s go for a ride.” We hopped in the Ford, Lincoln or Mercury and went nowhere in particular. There was no plan, no chore to do, no one special to visit – just a leisurely drive. We waved at people we didn’t know, stopped for a Friendly’s ice cream cone, honked at neighbors and laughed at each other’s jokes and observations.
One January Sunday, my dad took me and my brother out after a fresh snowfall. I was sitting in the middle of the two of them in our yellow Gremlin and could barely see over the dashboard. We drove down the road, hit a patch of ice and spun in two or three circles. The Earth whirled past me as I watched the trees in the sky rotate around me. My mouth dropped open but nothing came out as my dad tried to regain control. It was the most exciting thing that had happened to me yet in my short little life. We screeched to a halt and my dad cleared his throat and said, “whoah.” He wasn’t a man of many words. Then we just continued on to no place special.
Sometimes I miss the simplicity of life. I don’t know where it went. Is it because I got older or the world got faster? I used to disconnect from the phone and computer over the weekend but with a newly launched book and my newness to social media, can I even skip a day? I have a lot going on and a lot of catching up to do.
The Sunday drive was reconnection for many families. Trapped in one car, far from home, parents captured their kids and their attention with a new neighborhood, a car game or a promise of ice cream along the way. For many city families, it was an escape from the hustle-bustle of city life. For some in suburbia, the Sunday drive meant going to the city and seeing something exotic and interesting. I guess even though we don’t love change, we crave newness and excitement.
During COVID many of us have had to make minor or major adjustments in how we live, the things we do and who we see. It’s brought us back to simpler times and like me in the car doing a 360, maybe it’s all coming full circle. We are playing more games, appreciating seeing our family and friends and realizing we don’t need that much to be happy. The basic necessities seem like the most important things to us now.
Maybe next Sunday I will turn off my phone, go see an old friend and we will grab an ice cream cone.