Charlene Rolls | It’s tough to say goodbye to the things we love

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Charlene Rolls is YOU's editorial director.
Charlene Rolls is YOU's editorial director.

It’s not easy to let go of the things we love. It’s hard to embrace something different even if you’re still getting something similar in the end.

Take CDs, for example. Just the other day we were discussing Musica’s closure in the office and reminiscing about the special moments we’d had there as teens, perusing new CDs, speaking very little yet spending hours with friends who just understood the magic of listening to a beloved track.

Now many of us love how easy it is to listen to endless albums on digital streaming services and creating playlists of our favourite tracks without taking so much as a single centimetre of space on a shelf in our homes.

But for some there’s the feeling of finding the perfect one, someone argued, perhaps to play in your car and getting lost in your thoughts as you drive a distance. It’s a tactile and emotional connection that digital streaming just can’t replace.

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For this person the thought of no longer being able to buy CDs was tragic and she mourned what she could no longer have. The rest of us shrugged and tried to persuade her that a whole world of musical joy awaited her on Spotify.

I get it though. If you’ve had some sort of deep connection with something, it’s the comfort and memory that matters as much as the medium.

I suppose it depends on what it is you’re struggling to let go of.

When the Kindle e-reader was first released in South Africa, I tested it to write a story on how it works. Although I found it easy and convenient, it couldn’t replace paper books for me, I told my husband firmly.

He on the other hand put it on the top of his birthday gift wishlist after seeing how it worked.

Then came a time when I wanted a book to read while on holiday and it wasn’t yet available at bookstores.

“It’s in the Kindle store,” my husband pointed out, wisely not being too smug about it.

I really wanted to read the book so got it on his device – and that was the beginning of the end of my relationship with paper books.

I’ve since read many, many, many books on my Kindle and listened to many audiobooks in the past few years. I don’t miss the feeling of paper – it’s the story that I want and I can get it in so many ways now. The books I still have in my home now are ones that we’ve loved for many years and they have more sentimental value than anything else.

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The same with films and series. We had an extensive collection of DVDs and Blurays that we gave away because now we can have a massive library via our streaming services without taking up space in our home.

I don’t miss those things. But I do still feel the occasional wistful pang when I read digital magazines on my tablet. It doesn’t quite have the magic of the paper version even though I understand, on an intellectual level, that as with the books I still get the content even if it’s a different medium.

But I’ve had an enduring romance with magazines that started before I was even in school. It’s not a rational thing – it’s that nostalgia that still connects me to the paper and what it makes it tough to leave. And some things are just hard to change.

So, no, it’s not easy to let go of the things you love.

But maybe, just maybe, letting go opens up space for something new. And that’s not always a bad thing.

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