With time racing at the pace of a hadron collider, it’s easy to remain oblivious to the passing years. Only after a while, years, if not decades, do we notice how much things have changed around us, ourselves included.
It’s when we press pause on the present and look right back into the past. What do we see there? Well, it’s no secret that most humans have a strong sense of nostalgia that puts the years gone by in an exceptionally positive light.
This thread from Ask Reddit may also give us some answers by showing what things people thought were simpler, more accessible and efficient, and overall way better in the past. And now we can all decide whether it’s true or it’s our sentimental longing speaking. Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Saturday Morning Cartoons.
The late 80’s/ early 90’s heyday.
I miss the days before social media was a big thing. Everyone would just hangout and be focused on the interactions we were currently having.
“We tend to romanticize nostalgia and look back on our memories fondly,” Alex Wong, the marketing expert, book author and creator of “Hijack Copywriter” told Bored Panda. “This is because ‘back in the day’ seems much simpler and less chaotic than the present. We always have something to do and somewhere to be. However, when we look back on our childhood or earlier days, we ignore these challenges and focus on the more positive, simpler aspects,” he explained.
Home appliances. Old ones could be dropped out of a plane and still work well. New ones break because someone looked at it funny
The sky. Light pollution has destroyed one of the most beautiful sights that humans had gazed upon for thousands of years.
Prices vs earnings.
Wong, who’s in his 30s, said that for him, the good old days were in the ’90s and early 2000s, before smartphones and the modern internet. “Things moved slower and you wouldn’t get dozens of emails or notifications a day,” he recounted. “However, my father is in his 70s so I’m sure the ’90s and 2000s were a lot different for him. When he explains how his life was back in China in the ’50s and ’60s, it seems like a completely different world,” Wong added.
“One reason we tend to idealize the past is that we were young at the time and life seemed a lot more simple and innocent,” the marketing expert argues. “We were full of hope and aspirations. Over time, we tend to become more cynical and pessimistic.”
Being a kid…I don’t think kids today get to have as much freedom and fun as previous generations did
Another problem is that our memory is quite selective and we tend to romanticize things while leaving out a lot of details. “We focus on the positive aspects while ignoring or downplaying the negative issues. I remember the good times I would get cards and comics with my dad but tend to forget that my parents were going through a rough divorce during that time. It’s easier to not think about it.”
Certain dog breeds. Imagine, pugs used to have a nose they could breath through and eyes that didn’t get infected every time they almost bulged out of their heads…
Same with shitzu’s. And imagine English bulldogs that didn’t collapse in exhaustion by even hearing the word walkies
I remember playing outside every morning during summer vacation.
This summer, even 5 minutes spent sitting in the early morning sunlight that came in through the window was enough to give me headaches.
I live in south India- and no matter what climate change deniers say, it’s been getting steadily hotter year after year in my part of the world.
Weird to say, but inconvenience and boredom. I kinda miss being like, “whelp, there’s nothing on TV, I’m gonna go walk the neighborhood and knock on my friends doors”.
I primarily text and talk to friends on the phone now, it seems like an event to actually meet up. Even friends who are less than a mile away.
When it comes to demonizing the present, Wong believes that most people struggle with this. “We are never truly living in the present. We are either ruminating on the past or worrying about the future. As a result, we are never living in the moment. How can we be grateful for what we have when we are constantly complaining about things?” he wonders.
Wong is conscious of that and that’s why he starts off each day by asking himself for 3 things that he is grateful for. “This helps to remind myself that I am lucky for what I have and to be grateful. Because there are lots of people in the world, such as those in war zones or third-world countries, who are in much worse situations,” he told Bored Panda.
People’s attention spans.
Flying in general.
More seat space, meals included (and a choice of meals), actual metal utensils, luggage included, no need to get to the airport 2 hours before your flight…
When asked what things, according to Wong, were better in the past, the first thing that came to his mind was food. “Before industrialization, when everything was mass-produced, the quality of food seemed to be better. It was less processed and not pumped full of antibiotics or sprayed with pesticides.” These days, when Wong goes grocery shopping, he said he is very careful with what he buys. “When I check the list of ingredients, most of them I have no idea what they are.”
Another huge thing we don’t see much these days is privacy. Wong argues that although technology has made life much easier, it has come at a cost: our privacy. “Large corporations, such as FB, are constantly trying to find ways to gather more data on us so they can use it to make more money. It’s gotten to the point where we have to be careful with what we put online since we have no idea who will see it and how it will be used,” he explained.
Christmas…. I don’t know how to explain it. We didn’t have much money so it wasn’t because of the presents. We actually used to wrap our own toys and give them to each other for Christmas. But there was always just this feeling that I can’t explain. Sometimes when I watch the 90’s Christmas movies I can feel it again for a moment, but then it’s gone. It’s just the happiest, most peaceful feeling. It just felt like magic.
Being a kid without technology.
Fast Food. No, it has not always sucked a*s.
Social media has also changed beyond recognition. “Related to technology, social media has only been around for the past 15-20 years or so. Before the internet, the only way to keep in touch with others was by phone and snail mail. And if you wanted to know what was happening, you would have to turn on the news,” Wong said.
However, studies have shown that social media affects our mental health and increases our anxiety, depression, and isolation, the marketing expert claims. “We are always comparing ourselves to others, seeing how amazing their lives are, even though the life they are presenting to us may not be reality.”
“That’s why I avoid social media whenever possible and disable all of my news feeds. The only time I do use social media is for my business, and I make sure to limit the amount of time I have,” Wong said.
Cost of living
Manners and respect.
“Related to social media is the news. I remember watching the news once a day in the evening at 6 pm to catch up on the daily events. Or reading a newspaper to see what is happening. Now it seems like there is breaking news every moment and you can’t keep up. MSM news channels, such as CNN, are especially guilty of this with a news ticker at the bottom,” Wong told Bored Panda.
“What’s worse, they tend to only report on negative events, such as murders, killings, scandals, etc. which makes the world feel like a terrible place,” he added.
Freetime… life was more slowly and you had more time for yourself and your hobbies.
I literally still have my original N64 and controller. It still goes strong. You just turn the game on and play it. No 60 GB downloads. No loading screens. No ads. No updates. No pay to play.
I didn’t experience it personally, just second hand, but I believe working.. you had set hours and then no one could reach you after. It irritates me sometimes how normal it is to still reply to messages or send emails during off time and weekends or vacations.
I wonder what would happen sometimes if I just fully ignored my phone and shut it off the moment I’m off but it would really just be more stressful, and besides you can save yourself some later effort by tackling things right away. But in the past, everyone was off at the same times, everyone was out of reach, so it’s not like you’d come back tomorrow to 50 emails and messages either. It was just over when it’s over.
My parents and their friends seemed to have so much uninterrupted time.
The marketing expert argues that even though humans will always have their groups and differences, he feels like society has never been more divided. “Both social media and the 24/7 news cycle have only made this worse where we are presented with preselected snippets of news that conform to a specific worldview.”
According to Wong, many issues are complex and require a nuanced approach. “Whether someone is left or right, conservative or progressive, or somewhere in the middle, we should be able to sit down and have a calm rational discussion. However, I don’t think that is possible in today’s climate.”
Fruit and corn. They have been bred to be sweeter and harder for transport, and have lost much of the subtle fruit/corn flavor they used to have.
When you could write letters and not have to reply for days at a time to now we feel obliged to keep in 24/7 contact with people.
There are few people who haven’t felt the burden of living costs in the past years. Wong explained that even before the high inflation that is happening, living costs have soared over the years.
“This is especially true for houses. These days, it’s not uncommon to still be living with your parents in your 30s as you try to save up for a house. Unless you earn a high wage, have your parents help you, and borrow a ton of money from the bank, owning a home is becoming increasingly difficult. If you have to pay off your mortgage for 30 years just to ‘own’ your home, I don’t really consider that to be living,” he said.
my mental health
A job had a clear purpose.
So much useless “Pseudo-work” done today compared to back in the day
Internet. It was new, more friendly and funny
The last thing Wong said has become a challenge these days has to do with tuition. “College tuition rates have also soared over the years. Decades ago, going to college was a lot more affordable. Even if you include inflation, it shouldn’t cost tens of thousands of dollars to go to college to get a piece of paper that may or may not help you find a well-paying job. What’s worse, you are stuck with a ton of student loans that you have to pay back now,” he concluded.
Insects, more than 40% of total have disappeared over the past decades.
Smart phones too, Reddit is the only social media I use and still I stare at this f**king thing 5 hours a day. I know I’m addicted to it and I’d love to punt it but unfortunately it’s also my phone, my map, my camera, my tape measure, my dictaphone, my Walkman etc. etc.