Say What?

Photo provided.

By Kristen Banks

I recently found out that I am a “Xennial”. What does that even mean?

Technically It means people born between 1977 and 1983. I was born in a time when there were no cell phones, texting, or internet. However, I was young enough when those things became mainstream, to easily adapt to a technology savvy lifestyle.

Mellissa Shepard Stevenson from Abilene, Texas, is hand quilting a Ninja Turtles quilt. A non-traditional take on a traditional format. Photo credit: Andrea Schuler of Abilene, Texas

Although I am able to navigate and understand cell phones and social media easily, I still remember what the world was like before those things existed. I remember what it was like to sit in the same room and actually talk to each other. I remember back when we didn’t need cute little cartoon smiley faces to tell us how the other person was “feeling”. We could look at someone’s face and know how they were feeling. We could sense the inflection in their voice to know what they meant.

Maybe this is why quilting appeals to me so much. I can’ t think of anything that gives you a more personal experience than sitting in a room full of ladies while smiling and talking to each other. It is so satisfying to come together and enjoy each others company while we all use our hands to achieve a common goal. When we’re done, we have something we can touch. We have something tangible we can give, use, or borrow. In a world where everything has become hypothetical and all your thoughts, feelings, and friendships exist up in the “clouds” somewhere, quilting is something people still do together. In fact it’s almost impossible to be a quilter without eventually interacting with someone.

Don’t get me wrong, quilters today are quite technologically advanced. We use computers and the internet to communicate and find the latest fabrics and patterns. We have rulers and tools that are so precise that if our Great Great Great Grandmothers could see them they’d jump right up out of their rockers and toss their aprons in the pot bellied stove in disbelief!

The difference is we haven’t lost our ability to relate to each other. Even though we have all of this new amazing technology at our fingertips, we are still compelled to put our phones down and go sit in the same room and look at each other while we work. We realize it’s important not to lose this personal connection. It’s not good enough to view a quilt on a computer screen. We want to go stand in front of it, in a room with other people, and admire it. Also, if allowed (or if no one’s looking) we want to touch it.

We want to talk to the stranger standing next to us about how pretty the quilt is, and the one that we’re making at home. Then we also might want to tell them about a great new recipe we found, or our sister-in-law’s surgery next week, and the cute thing our neighbor’s cat does. We need personal interaction no matter how small and mundane it may seem. We want to live a little and enjoy people! We want to feel like human beings.

I’m thankful that there are some things in this world that stay the same. I’m also glad that we continue to move forward and progress. Thank the Lord for technology because I dearly love indoor plumbing and Netflix. I just hope that our progress doesn’t come at the expense of our humanity. I hope I never substitute the good company of my friends for an artificial experience. I don’t know if everyone feels the same way that I do. Maybe I’m just a little old fashioned or “out of touch”? Or maybe, that just makes me a proud “Xennial”.

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  1. CARRIE Gannon says:

    I love this column…yes I was born in 53 and know life as it was without all tech except radio….yes my mind is blown to all the change since then…but wouldn’t change techinalogy…