I remember my grandfather talking about this too, but then he lived for almost a century so he had an excuse. But looking back on my own life, I realize the world we live in now is totally different from the world I was born and grew up in. And no matter how much I tell my children how things were in my (not so distant) past, how much they may read about it or even learn at school, those are memories they will never have.
Life before computers & internet
I bought my first computer when I was halfway through college and I never had internet connection at home until I got married. Internet connection in college was installed when I was already there, search engines were slow, weird things and the only social media we had back then was a chat called mIRC (I actually googled it and checked: it was created in '95; I started college in '92). Where was Facebook back then?
Now we have wireless everywhere, internet access on our computers, phones, TVs, watches, cars... Does anyone still remember going to the library to search for books to complete school assignments? Or having to actually hand-write those same assignments? No word processor, no automatic spelling check, and any pictures we wanted to include were either copied from books or cutouts from magazines and newspapers. The last time my son needed info on farm animals (he's in second grade),we used the Ipad. And then powered up the Mac and printed out what he needed. On a wireless printer.
I learned to write with a fountain pen, which was not an easy feat since I'm left handed. My father always said if if could write with it, I could write with anything. He passed away before I got my first computer, so he never realized how the mere act of writing would be totally different from then onwards. My grandfather, on the other hand, taught me to use a typewriter. Those are pieces of history now. Well, maybe not the fountain pen yet, my husband still uses one today...
Life before smartphones and gadgets
Or any kind of mobile phone, for that matter. I grew up with land line telephones. The phone we had at home when I was growing up looked like the one in the picture below, with one difference: it was white instead of black.
The first time I saw someone using a mobile phone I was a train station and this man was holding a suitcase with a wire attached to a receiver and talking on the phone. A mobile the size of a suitcase.
I bought my first mobile phone when I got my first job. It looked ( and weighted) like a brick. It didn't have a camera. Or internet. Or games. And reception was tricky sometimes.
Now we have smartphones almost the size of a coin, way more powerful than my first desktop. And while today I could still perfectly live without a smartphone, I could no longer live without a mobile. Mobiles have developed in us the need to be always accessible and to have other people accessible to. Now I go crazy if I can't reach people when I call them. Twenty years ago we would go about our lives the whole day not caring about it and that's another thing smart-everything-age kids will never understand.
Freedom and adventure
Well, we still have freedom today, at least in the part of the world we are lucky to live in, and children can still have their adventures. But is the spirit really the same as when you were a kid? If it is, you and your children are lucky. I recall playing in the street with the neighborhood kids, virtually unsupervised. We were careless and free and had a lot of fun. I don't let my kids play in the street alone today. Who knows what can happen? You see all kinds of disasters in the news, from car accidents to pedophilia. I'm sure those things existed too thirty five years ago, but either they were not so publicized by media or our parents were much more relaxed. Now we seen to be always expecting the worse and preparing for it, and our children suffer in comparison.
Also, the world is smaller today. You can get anywhere, either personally or virtually, really fast, which strongly reduces the "wow" factor. I remember the days I was set to leave for the summer holidays. It was the most important event of the year, I would spend a whole month at my grandparents house . And it took us almost a day to get there. Now I get there in and hour and the distance to where I currently live is even higher. And still today, whenever I travel by plane and reach my destination, I marvel at how many miles I am from home and how fast I got there. For our children, it will be the norm, not a wonder.
A different nature
No, this is not a rambling on global warming. But nature really is different today. Cities are bigger, there is more pollution, more noise. more light. I remember bringing home at the end of the summer boxes full of big beautiful seashells. Now I go to the beach and rarely see them, and the ones that are there are different, smaller. Practically no sea weeds to. I hated sea weeds when I was a kid, but now I miss them. And the stars? In those long summer nights the sky was full of them and they seemed so close you could almost touch them. Now there is so much street lighting everywhere that we can't see more than just a few stars at a time. My kids see them through the SkyView app, not the real deal.
The world is different. We've gotten used to it. Our children will never know the difference.
Have a wonderful weekend,