Not that I’m dating myself; okay, I guess I am. But it always amazes and amuses me when movements, ideas, and changes from my pass suddenly reappear, not as aberrations but rather as great new ideas for ‘today.’ These new phases range from music to food to drink to work habits, where we like to live and beyond.
For example, a number of business journals have been touting the four-day work week. It’s supposed to revitalize the work place with new ideas, energy, and a change of pace. Many claim it’s the wave of the future. Or is it?
Back in the early seventies, I was a new product manager at the Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting when the state of Maryland decided to give the four-day-work week a shot. State agencies, of which we were one, were given the opportunity to try it out in a trial basis. It sounded like a good idea and I thought I could use my ‘free Fridays’ to begin testing my skills at the craft of writing.
Long story short, I outlast my group by about two weeks past the last dropout. What we all found very quickly was that the ‘free Friday’ couldn’t make up for the exhaustion we felt after working four 10-hour days straight. For most of us, eight hours was just fine. After eight hours, our brains started to slow down, the office was empty of fellow workers and distractions ran amuck. It just wasn’t worth it in the end.
I recently read a book that documented the efforts to revitalize the cities after the heavy migration out of downtown beginning in the 1970s. Saint Paul was city life on the verge of major changes when I was growing up there. By the end of high school, I couldn’t wait ‘to get out of Dodge.’ Then my daughter became one of the early pioneers venturing back to the cities after 50 years of steady doldrums and decline. Now city-living is, for many young adults, the ‘in thing’ to do.
Growing up I remember a lot of our neighbors had gardens in their backyards. That is, until major grocery chains made it much easier to buy food already packaged, processed and ready to eat. Now homegrown has regained its appeal and posh.
During prohibition, it seemed like everyone and their neighbors were making hooch in their garages and basements. Now we call it craft beer and it’s become big business. ‘Hey there, Delila’ is a simple, catchy ditty written some time ago that has had over 86 million views on YouTube. What’s the difference between that simple tune and some ancient gospel song that’s been sung over the centuries.
Last winter, I tried out (a rental) my first E (electronic) bike and I was hooked all over again. Now a new purchase should take me well into the future. It’ll be interesting to see what ‘new’ ideas, innovations, and concepts are going to be ‘reappearing’ in the future to dazzle us with their new approach to an old, tired but true, improvement in our lives.