Wonder-lost 🤷

Has the world grown numb to new and exciting things?

Hey there! Welcome to Part-Time Writing, a newsletter authored by an engineer who writes short essays and stories on life and the creative process.

If that sounds up your alley, you can subscribe below (if not, that's cool too, maybe pass it along to someone else who might like it):

Also, feel free to check out my other posts or follow me on Twitter 😎.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers were my favorite band in high school.

When the Stadium Arcadium album dropped in 2006, it flew off the shelves. I couldn’t find it anywhere for a week. Eventually, I popped into Sam Goody (or maybe FYE) and snagged the last copy.

There was so much hype around it, and the album delivered. It was a banger. I listened to it every morning and after school for a year. Not a day. Not a week. A whole freaking year.

Today, those similar feelings of anticipation and lasting wonder are fleeting. Collectively, I think we’ve become desensitized to new and exciting things. Mostly because new and exciting things are everywhere.

I have a smartphone that rarely leaves my side. I also have a TV, a laptop, and a desktop computer in close proximity. These devices are great, but they’re incessant bastards. I can scroll on my phone for two minutes, and in that time I’ll have swapped between three apps with four things bookmarked for later.

But later never comes. The list grows faster than I can consume.

Did you know that last year The Beatles released their first new song since 1995? People back in the day would have lost their minds. But today? It was just another release on Spotify. Lost in a sea of other new content and media coverage.

The song is called “Now and Then”. It’s good. It’s also their last song ever. McCartney and Starr have officially decided to call it quits. It’s worth a listen if you can find the time.

It didn’t feel like the song performed as well as expected. But I don’t think it’s because it was a bad song. Again, I think it got lost in the noise. It’s typical for new, amazing creations to come and go, and quickly get replaced by the next big thing we scroll across.

I hate to get political because I’m really not that kind of guy, but politicians use this content bombardment to their advantage. A huge, earth-shattering scandal drops and what happens? One week later everyone forgets about it.

It’s almost like the best time to be publicly accused of something is a week or two before the next Taylor Swift album. The attention she commands is unrivaled. Kudos to her for being able to generate old-world hype around her music. It’s not the norm these days.

It just really feels like we’re stuck in a world of never-ending content, and I’m not sure we have a way to stop it. The snowball is already too far down the mountain.

Another part of the problem, I think, is the fact that everything is available on-demand. There’s very little “scheduled programming” out there.

When we were kids, our favorite shows aired on television at a specific time. If you missed it (and didn’t have a blank VHS set up to record), you were out of luck. The reruns were after bedtime, and who knows when you’d see it the rest of the week.

It felt bad to miss your show. A type of disappointment that most kids these days will never experience. 

That’s why Game of Thrones was so awesome. During the show’s epic run on HBO, a big part of the magic was that on Sunday nights at 9 PM, you and millions of others watched the newest episode at the same time. If you didn’t, you were left out the next day when everyone talked about it.

It reminded me of growing up in the 90’s and early 00’s. Those days I remember fondly. 

My other theory is that maybe, just maybe, I’m a busy adult who’s full of shit. Maybe there is still enough wonder left in the world and I’m too preoccupied to see it.

After all, when the new PlayStation 5 was released, it felt like you couldn’t buy it at retail price for years.

Same with the Nintendo Switch. And I’m sure the Switch 2 coming out soon won’t disappoint either. 

Then there’s Marvel, who managed to have a hell of a run for more than a few years there. The lead-up to End Game generated so much hype. I still remember when the first Avengers movie came out. I saw it in theaters four times. I loved it every time.

Things like that make me feel like maybe I am just getting older and busier. More focused on myself and my family to notice the wonder of new things before they fade away. 

But then again, maybe not. Maybe the world really is wonder-lost.