The Conundrum of Change


I know I’m blessed. I actually repeat this mantra at least once a day especially now when it’s hard to make sense of the nonsensical.

Since the last election, I can’t believe how many times I’ve actually engaged in heated discussions with people from both sides of the aisle. What’s absolutely amazing about this is the fact that I’ve never considered myself to be a political person; I’ve been more of a “live and let live” type but now I’ve had to change and usher complacency out the door.

Change, in all reality, is a good thing for without change we remain stagnant. The reasons many of us are resistant to change lies in the fact that change is often uncomfortable, anxiety provoking or just plain difficult. Change resisters fail to recognize that without change there’s a good chance we, whether personally or professionally, will be left behind. Companies such as Blackberry, Kodak, Eastern Airlines, Enron, Woolworths, Pan Am, MCI WorldCom, and Borders Books just to name a few are well documented cases of businesses that failed to keep their fingers on the pulse of their changing landscape.

Businesses are not the only entities that can fall victim to circumstances if they fail to adapt and/or change. The divorce rate for people married 20+ years is on the rise although the divorce rate in general is falling. According to the Bowling Green University’s National Center for Family and Marriage Research from 1990 to 2012 the divorce rate for couples 55 – 64 years of age more than doubled and for the 65 and over group the divorce rate tripled!

Recently, one of my good friends and I simply marveled at all of the changes that have occurred in the lives of us Baby Boomers, and yes, the list was staggering as well as eye opening. As we are rapidly approach the world of George Jetson, the 1962 animated series depicting American life in the future, it’s amazing to look back at just how far we’ve come and equally amazing to imagine where future technology will lead us.

The MOST Interesting FUN Fact: The facsimile (FAX) machine was first discovered and patented in 1846 by a Scottish inventor, Alexander Bain. He won the Technology and Engineering Emmy on January 8, 2016, 130 years after his death! In 1964, Xerox Corporation introduced the first commercial version of today’s fax machines. Xerox’s fax machine could be connected to any telephone and could transmit a letter sized envelope in 6 minutes which by today’s standards seems like an eternity!

1946: U.S. Banker, John C. Biggins of the Flatbush National Bank of Brooklyn invents the first bank issued credit card, So….now we know who to blame for the huge credit card debt so many Americans face.

1954: Bryce K. Brown invented the radar gun. If you ever get a speeding ticket you can thank Bryce.

1955: The first remote control was designed by Zenith’s Eugene Polley. A fan favorite, the TV Remote Control! How did we ever live without it?

1955: The first Microwave Oven was patented by Percy Spencer. The Tappan Stove Company introduced the first microwave home model. In 63 short years, the microwave oven is standard in most kitchens.

1955: Polio Vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk. The two types of polio vaccines (oral and injectable) have essentially eradicated the disease; there were only 37 cases reported worldwide in 2016. Wow, that’s astounding.

1957: Three point seat belt was introduced. Remember when everyone just piled into the car and no one used a seat belt!

1957: The first birth control pill, Enovid, was approved for menstrual disorders i.e. cramps. In 1960 the Food and Drug Administration approves Enovid for birth control. In 1960, Dr. Gregory Pincus developed the combined oral contraceptive pill commonly known as “The Pill”. We can thank them both for the sexual revolution that soon followed!

1958: The first successful commercial jet airliner designed for mass air travel. The Boeing 707-120 carried 181 passengers and cruises at 600 mph for up to 5280 miles on a full tank of gas. The first flight was from NY to Paris. Imagine being one of those 181 passengers; We can readily acknowledge that they were true change agents!

1959: The birth of the integrated circuit which enabled the 18,000 vacuum tubes,70,000 resistors and 10,000 capacitors to be placed on one tiny chip. Unbelievable brain power at hand!

1960: The first Pacemaker is implanted in a patient by Dr. Wilson Greatbatch. Groundbreaking technology!

1962: Communications Satellite Telstar is launched as the first “active” communications satellite. Two weeks after Telstar launched, President Kennedy held a press conference in Washington DC that was broadcast across the Atlantic.

1962: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, first used during the Vietnam War.

1962: Video Games: first video game was the Spacewar Computer Game, invented by Steve Russell at MIT….Go Figure!

1962: Computer Mousse created by Stanford Research Institute

1964: Music Synthesizer

1967: The first Coronary Bypass Surgery by Dr. Renee Favaloro, taking a length of vein from the leg and grafting it onto a coronary artery. As an RN working during this era, the early Coronary Bypass patients at my hospital were part of a study to determine the effectiveness of this procedure. We’ve come a long way in the treatment and surgical intervention of coronary patients.

1969: Patent for the cordless telephone.

1969: Smoke Detector

1969: Automated Teller Machine, enables us to have 24 hour access to our bank accounts.

1970: Fiber optics, Corning scientists produce a fiber of ultrapure glass that transmits light well enough to be used for telecommunications. Fiber optic technology has become the fastest form of broadband technology and of course to many of us, speed is everything!

1972: Chrysler produces the first electronic ignition preparing the way for the sophisticated electronic systems available in cars today.

1971: E-Mail was developed by Ray Tomlinson

1973: MRI Magnetic Resonance Imaging: One of the most game changing diagnostic tools of all time.

1973: Cell Phone by Motorola: Was there ever a time we didn’t have cellphones??

1975: Microsoft was born by Bill Gates and Paul Allen.

1976: Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak formed Apple Computers.

1977: Apple II, Commodore Pet, and Radio Shack’s TRS 80 is introduced. Hard to imagine that Radio Shack no longer exists and, although I didn’t realize it at the time, our purchase of the Commodore 64 shortly after it debuted in 1982, made us trendsetters or at the very least, early adopters of technology! Who knew?

1978: In Vitro Fertilization, Louise Brown Mullinder, first test tube baby. In the United States alone, ONE MILLION babies have been born through fertility assistance. Amazing!

1978: GPS, Where would we be without it??

1979: Sony Walkman, enabling music to become part of our everyday life.

In 1981, IBM introduces its first PC (personal computer) Question: Did they enter the market a day late and a dollar short giving their competitors a leg up? Just asking?

1984: DNA Fingerprinting, widely used by the judicial system to exonerate the innocent and convict the guilty. Enough said!

1987: Prozac introduced and became the most widely accepted psychiatric drug ever. For those suffering from anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, eating disorders and premenstrual dysphoric disorder Prozac was a welcomed relief.

1989: Sir Tim Berners-Lee creates the programming language that formed the foundation for the World Wide Web.

I could go on ad infinitum, having just touched the surface through the 1980s. If you’d like to continue and uncover more innovative and game changing technologies please let me know via the comment section and I will be delighted to do so.

The world of George Jetson consisted of moving sidewalks, flying saucer cars, automated food dispensers that were reminiscent of the popular Horn and Hardart’s automats from years gone by, and least not forget Rosie the robot and the other robot servants assisting in all things Jetson. Who knows just how much of the fictional Jetson world will become our reality? With the anticipated 2020 launch date for driverless cars and trucks, my bet is on the Jetsons, what do you think?

As the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus of Ephesus (500 BC), so profoundly stated, “The only thing that is constant is change”.

2 thoughts on “The Conundrum of Change

  1. Great summary of change in the 80’s and I was surprised at the Year I was born compared to the year I graduated high school. It’s amazing all that has changed, sometimes I wish certain things would remain the same…. I could do without a WORK cell phone😀
    As I approach 60 years of age, looking back it’s truly eye opening where we are today… let’s see what the next 10-20 years has in store for us all!
    I’m looking forward to retirement, hope to enjoy it just like you Laura!!


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