Living in Outlandish Times

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As enamored as I am with the wonders of social media and all things electronic, I must admit to being a huge fan of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series.  If you’re not familiar with her work, it follows the life of a 20th century medical professional who travels in time (through standing stones) to 18th century Scotland.  She relives the past, falls in love, travels back through the stones where she raises a child, and then leaves everything behind once again to return to her life and love waiting in the 18th century.

There are eight books in the series – each well over 1,000 pages long.  I’m on number five and simply can’t stop reading. Gabaldon’s writing and storytelling skills are exceptional to say the least and I’m in awe of her talent.

So why am I telling you all this?  Because I find it ironic that I should be so captivated by a book series that is about as far away as one can get from life today.  Oh, there are plenty of influencers in this series for sure, but their tweets come in the form of handwritten letters carried for weeks or months in a messenger’s saddle bag before being delivered.  There are lots of likes, friends and followers, too, but everything and everyone moves very slowly.  Relationships are built via annual clan gatherings, in prison and on the battlefield, and they are often short lived.  There are no phones, computers or iPads.  (Heck…there’s no electricity or running water!)  Communication is limited to the spoken and written word.

As I read, I can’t help but wonder how things would have turned out if social media had been available back then.  How much faster would the world have developed?  Would we have avoided wars?  Could diseases like small pox have been eradicated sooner?  What about roads and transportation?  Who knows!  Maybe we’d all be living on the moon by now.  It’s impossible to say, but kind of fun to think about.

One thing’s for sure.  Social media is here to stay and there’s nothing slow about it.  In fact, it’s changing life as we know it in so many ways.  It’s exciting, yet I still find myself drawn to a time when life was simpler, not easy by any means, just very different.  I enjoy losing myself in the story.  It’s a great escape and the characters have captured my heart.

So has living today – in a time when everything’s possible and opportunities to grow and learn are endless.  While I look forward to finishing book five and moving on to numbers six, seven and eight, when it comes to the future, I’m glad I don’t have to wait.

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About Mary Jane Kinkade

I am the Director of Marketing and Development at Our Lady of Mercy Academy, South Jersey's premier Catholic high school for young women. I am mom to three amazing kids, married to my best friend, and happiest when at the beach (writing, of course!).
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