If you remember life before the internet, you might be as old as I am.
If you remember having to sit in the kitchen to talk on the phone, which was connected to the wall, you might be as old as I am. If you remember when MTV actually played music videos, you might be as old as I am. My apologies to Jeff Foxworthy. Heck, if you remember who Jeff Foxworthy is, you might be as old as I am.
Sometimes when I think my children have it too good, I start to spin yarns about Ye Olden Days. To them, I had it rough.
I lived life offline. My first cellphone was a bag phone that was the size of a briefcase. When I needed to research a school paper, I had to actually go to the library. I received hand-me-downs several years after they were in fashion. Horror of horrors, our black-and-white television only got 13 channels. Adding insult to injury, there was no remote control. Let us not speak of having to share one bathroom for many, many years.
Perspective is everything
In fairness, my parents also lived a life I couldn’t imagine. My mother did not know English until she was a teenager. My parents shared one car until they had two children. They raised three children, and sent them all to private colleges, on one blue-collar income. I didn’t know it at the time, but our meals were dictated by how close it was to the next payday.
So they probably looked at my life as carefree. When I complained about having to go the library, they’d remind me it was nice that we had two cars so I could borrow one. I still remember the class shirt I got after they hemmed and hawed about being able to afford it. And they were not the type to help with homework, which made me very independent.
Things are a bit different now.
It’s not old, it’s vintage
When the Wi-Fi goes down, life stops. Professor Google is always in to help with homework. I can talk anytime, anywhere, on a cellphone more powerful than the computers that sent a man to the moon. And, in general, my kids get most of what they want.
The good old days still have some spark, however. Recently my youngest started watching a Netflix series set in the 1980s. I’ll hear songs from my teenage years blasting from my older daughter’s Bluetooth speaker. My daughters now wear clothes that I wore in high school.
Heaven only knows the amenities my grandchildren will enjoy. They might look at their parents and wonder how they soldiered on with only 4G and broadband. Maybe, their mothers might tell them stories about the good old days, when tweets had only 140 characters and Snapchat streaks were king.
Hopefully they might be able to sneak in a story or two about how their parents read actual printed books to them or took them to the playground when the weather was nice. For us, those really were the good old days.