I have just read Barbara's comment on the previous post and also just come back from a walk on the beach with my daughter. At this very moment the evening sky beyond my window is blue;pink/mauve -- incredibly beautiful above the umbrealla shaped branches of a huge tree across the street. And I am thinking of things that are truly real.
As we walked the beach we met many strangers who wished us a happy new year. We also met a young man and probably his father. The young man had been a student at the school where Rachel works and she said to me after we walked on, "his family are Luddites." They have no modern electronics; it caused the teachers a lot of problems because they had to see that material other students were accessing online was available to him in written form. The same problems arose with his younger sister in the same (charter) school but teachers and administration made adjustments. She does not know the story or philosophy behind the family's decisions. But clearly people can live without these modern conveniences which most people think of as necessities.
In William Least Heat-Moon's book The Road to Quoz: An American Mosey which I read last month, he describes among the many people he met in him meandering journeys around America, a woman who lives "off the grid" -- i.e., she is a senior but does not accept social security, lives in a formerly abandoned trailer near a town in one of the Western states, buys only the most basic food and gathers other food both wild and from stores and restaurant discards, walks wherever she goes, has no electronics either.
The point is, we do not have to be immersed in the things of the society around us. We can choose how we live. I think most people are unaware that they have more choices than society suggests. I do not yet own a cell phone -- and haven't owned a TV for more than 30 years. To most people that make me a Luddite. Actually I pick and choose what I think I need. A computer is something I need. I have my reasons.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!