Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The end of an era?

Okay, maybe I'm being overly dramatic.  But the looming prospect of turning 50 has prompted some deep thinking on my part.

What I'm pondering is the fact that, as the world has come into the "information age," we've entered a very different era from any we've seen before.  In many ways that's good.  But in some ways that's not good at all.

The thing that's got me riled today is the evidence of what I've finally understood to be self-centered thinking on nearly everyone's part.  And by everyone, I mean individual persons, public personalities, service providers, businesses, you name it.

It used to be that others thought of me, spoke to me, and referred to me as "Richella" or "Mrs. Parham" or "that red-headed lady" or something.  Now, I feel as though I'm simply considered to be "one of"--
  • one of your customers
  • one of your followers
  • one of your subscribers
  • one of your readers
  • one of your fans
  • one of your contacts
  • one of your clients
  • one of your members
  • one of your card holders
  • in other words, one of your data pool.
Honestly, who do we think we are?

Maybe this is just wishful thinking, but I'd love to be treated as if I'm somebody in my own right, not just one of many.

Wishful thinking or not, I've realized that I need start by correcting my own self-centered thinking.  The value of the people in my life is not determined by their utility to me. 

So if I've ever called you "one of my readers," I'm sorry.  Please forgive me.  You are an amazing person.  You are a person of great value. You are important to God, who knows everything about you, even the number of hairs on your head (Matthew 10:30).  And you are important to me--because you are you, not because you are part of a group on which I can run analytics.

What do you think?  Do you also feel a need to be treated as a person of intrinsic value?  Or am I just getting to be grumpy in my advanced age?


Desires of the Heart said...

Hi Richella, I wholeheartedly agree!! But, I think it is a reflection of our whole culture. I am noticing more and more that people do not call me by my name....I have a name and I love to hear it (as most people do). Just hearing "you" does not qualify with me. I am noticing this particularly in the younger people and I think it is a huge loss. God cares enough for every created thing, even the stars, that he calls them by name. That, along with an appropriate "thank you" seem to be disappearing and it is greatly disturbing to me. Maybe it is just my age, but I definitely think it is a loss in our culture. Blessings, Linda

Valerie said...

My pet peeve is when someone refers to a group of women as "guys," as in, "hey, you guys, let's do this."

Also, the fact that people don't RSVP readily without threat (I have taken to leaving crucial information off an invitation just to get people to contact me and let me know if they are coming or not).

Maybe we could start a "I'm 50" rant group. :-) said...

It's so ironic that you wrote this today! I just dealt with a customer service issue that had me so disheartened because they were treating me just as you described above. Like you, I think about those who read my blog as friends-people I care about even though we may have never met. I often pray for each name that "likes" or "comments" and genuinely want their best. I'm thankful for you Richella-this is a wonderful reminder to us all!

Linda said...

Well, you are certainly a special someone to me Richella. I feel like a kindred older sister in Christ...your bloggy friend!

At 63 I will say that things have changed in many ways in my life as I age...but as the years go by I think life is still pretty fantastic.

Off on a little trip for a few days...but wishing you a very Happy 50th Birthday pretty "red-headed lady"...:)

Love, Linda @ Truthful Tidbits

NanaNor's said...

Hi Richella, You are so dear to so many of us-you Richella are a unique, beautiful woman and deserve to be treated as such. I wholeheartedly agree with your words. I also find that I address clerks in the store and Mam and Sir, even when they are young. Old you are not. Praying the Lord to bless your socks off today dear one!
Hugs, Noreen

John Decker said...

Contacts in fact are more numerous now. I think we'd all be stunned if we had to live on an American farm circa 1880, when there were only 2 days per week when you actually got to see others. No phone, no mechanically powered transportation on the property. The big thing for the YEAR was when the thresher came through the area and people brought their crop to be threshed and held a big multiple-day party while waiting their turn for the machine to deal with what they brought. The isolation had to be depressing. Now it's the multiplicity of contacts that has the power to depress.
So seen in that context, it's probably a problem capable of solution. I do it by resolutely not going over 80 facebook friends and about 18 contacts on Linked In. That's enough! Blessings to you, Richella, for sharing this

Shelly W. said...

You're not getting grumpy. I think you're seeing what many of us see--that being constantly connected has its downsides. The constant connectedness tends to make us sometimes feel less-than or, as you put it, as "one of" rather than uniquely US. I love the way you put it, and I'll be thinking about this a lot this week.

Terri said...

I agree!!!!"Log Off" !!!! :) ... that is what I say... There are so many upsides to living in the age of Genius Technology... but on the down side.... when we go out to dinner as a family... "Grammy" (that's me) gets kind of sad when I look over at my teenage grandchildren and they are steady looking down at their I phones!! Unplug .... look up.... Grammy is smiling at you!!!! :) ( and yes, I am older ... but not that old!! LOL

Karmen said...

Oh, you are noticed and valued and yes, I know you by name even though we have never met. :) I think that is because you write with such passion about the very things I am passionate about. The very likeness of "YOU" comes through as if we are sitting on my patio having lunch.

This "more than just a reader" is encouraging you to keep on! It means a lot to me and I can't wait to see what God will do with you in this special milestone year. :)

Ann said...

I saw a sign just yesterday that said, "I am a limited edition." Thought that was very true. . .

Schotzy said...

Brava'! Very well said, and youa re so right.... and as you turn 50, from one who turned 63, it is the glory of our life to reach this golden time of life, because we do have such rich considerations and reflections on life personally and in general.... and we, therefore, are given the most treasured thing of all... the opportunity to make our own part of the world shine and by prayer make a difference where we are planted! :)

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

Well I've never thought of you as "one of my readers". I always think "Richella". I think a lot of what you're saying has to do with being over connected on social medial.

Pat@Life At Lydias House said...

You are so right and along with being just another number customer service has gone done the drain. Excellent customer service is now so rare that it slaps you in the face when you see it!

Karen said...

We are all very self-centered. We worship ourselves instead of God which is why we get so angry when someone doesn't treat us as we think we deserve. The wonderful thing is God who knows us better than anyone loves us in spite of who we are. "Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;" Isaiah 49:15-16a

living from glory to glory said...

Hello, Happy Birthday Again!
Great word and I am re-thinking who and what gets priority in my life. As we get older we must realize where we are spending our time and our words. But I think in the Blogging arena you make a point to treat people with respect and kindness.
Blessings, Roxy

Carol said...

Totally agree, Richella! I think we all need to just "unplug" on a regular basis. The thing that truly bugs me are the recorded phone calls that come at all hours of the day and evening. Now those make me grumpy!

Debby Ray said...

I definitely know what you mean, Richella but on the other hand, I actually think it's pretty amazing that no longer than I have been blogging, only regularly since June, that I have felt like I have met many of you personally... and that there is a kindred spirit among many that I have "met". It has really blessed me.


Kathy@ Gone North said...

Oh, how far we have come & how far we have gone... When I was a little girl the milkman came to the house & knew our names, now we order of from Amazon... We are often just numbers, that only matter in the amount of money we spend. BUT as daughters of the King, it is more & more important that we reflect Christ to those we come in contact with, even in the smallest of ways... "You matter to Him, so you matter to me"
I always appreciate your words & they always serve to remind me of something important.
Thank You for that....

lcurtis said...

I stumbled upon your blog months ago and enjoy every word of it. I have never commented but agree with most if not all of your writing and thoroughly enjoy thhe blog as a whole. This post, however, struck me way down deep. I don't have a blog but have had similar feelings as recent as just hours before reading this post. God is alive and His Holy Spirit is active. I pray I sit still long enough to truly hear where He is leading me. Thank you for being you.

Renewables jobs said...

Very impressive post, I love the way it has been addressed and the way it has been laid down..

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

I agree!!! Great post, Richella. I think it's definitely become more of a problem as social media gets bigger and bigger. I also think it's important for bloggers to remember that each of "their readers" is a special, important individual. It's gotten harder for me to return comments and comment on other blogs this year with the kids in school, activities, and me being pregnant....This post was a great reminder to do what I can to acknowledge people as individuals. :)

3christiansthriftyfamily said...

Oh, do I agree with you!! I've been in a lot of places of the MD nature lately, and I'm a vertebra, or medication user, I'm not a person with a fracture or a person with complex medical issues. It infuriates me. BTW, I'm your senior by 8 years, :-)

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