Remember those childhood days when “adulting” seemed like a distant, mysterious realm? We’d look up at grown-ups, thinking their ways were almost magical, or at times, utterly baffling. Now, as we navigate adulthood, many of those ‘impossible’ feats have become our everyday. Let’s take a nostalgic trip back and uncover the top 10 things we do routinely now, but once believed were the stuff of legends.
But when we mature and become adults, those things are suddenly within reach, easy, and natural. And because of technological advances, something once thought of as science fiction is now our reality. An online discussion board of many generations ruminates on these ideas and is ever-relatable.
1. Carry Around a Computer, Television, and Calculator
Whether you are a member of the greatest, silent, boomer, Gen X, or millennial generation, you all have something in common: cell phones were not always around.
Each person of these generations saw the inception of the cell phone and, eventually, the smartphone, which is essentially like having a computer, television, or calculator, amongst other things, in the palm of your hand.
As a millennial, I remember my childhood fondly but never would have thought that the large and heavy televisions and computers in our homes would someday be the compact device I could keep in my pocket or purse. It’s miraculous.
2. Watching a TV Show On-Demand
Not long ago, television was not available as it is now. For millennials and older generations, once an episode aired, there was no way to see it again until re-runs became a thing. But even then, live weekly television airings were a must-see event.
Kids today will never understand the stress but also the fun challenges of this era of television. One person reminisces, “Remember your brothers and sisters yelling that it was starting when you had taken a bathroom break during the commercials.” I’m happy with the changes as watching TV is much more convenient. But it’s fun to think about what once was.
3. Instant Photography
Except for Polaroid photos, the process of photography was so much different when many of us were children. And I doubt any could even contemplate a future where the process would be what it is today.
A commentator voices their love of contemporary digital photography, where you can “see the photo you took right away and delete and redo if you don’t like it.” They also point out the difficulty of the past process.
“Wasn’t it so annoying to get your film developed, and all the pictures were awful? Or you were making a weird face?” While the older photography process is becoming a lost art, I can’t deny the digital age’s immense ease, convenience, worry, and money-saving aspects.
4. Listen to Any Song Anytime
Do you remember sitting by your radio or boom box, impatiently waiting for your favorite song to come on the airwaves? How about the cat-like reflexes one must possess to record that song onto a cassette tape?
And that was often followed by a bellowing scream when the DJ talked over the song’s end. Yes, music has been available to purchase for many years on vinyl, cassettes, CDs, and mp3s. But who owns every piece of music they love?
Nowadays, you can hear any song in seconds thanks to places like YouTube, Spotify, and Pandora. And you can look up the lyrics on the internet. But for some, this idea never entered their minds.
One music lover remembers, “We really [did have to] sit with fingers on the record buttons to record a song during the Top 40 with Casey Kasem on Sunday nights to have a song.” And if they wanted the lyrics, they would hit play and repeatedly pause as they wrote them down.
5. Breakfast Food for Dinner
If you lived in a disciplined household, chances are the idea of eating breakfast for dinner was ridiculous. But as adults, we realize there are no rules about when we can or cannot eat something. So while I won’t traditionally eat lunch or dinner for breakfast, I will eat breakfast food for dinner. And I often do.
If we could ask Leslie Knope or Ron Swanson from the series Parks and Recreation, they would agree that breakfast food is delicious and people should consume it frequently. Want eggs and bacon, waffles, or pancakes for dinner? Have at it! There is no magical being that will take away your meal card. In truth, breakfast for dinner is many a kid’s dream come true.
6. Voluntary Naps
Why is it that so many kids resist taking naps? Maybe it’s because they think they’ll miss out on the fun if they’re asleep. Not all children, mind you, but a great many do. A hilarious episode of the 1980s sitcom Growing Pains features a similar story.
Youngest child Chrissy has a nightmare: while asleep, her parents and older siblings play with her toys, have pony rides, and do other fun activities. So do yourself a favor and find that episode if you want a good laugh.
But I digress. As an adult, it’s almost unfathomable that any kid would not want a nap. Taking a nap is fantastic. Life is exhausting sometimes, so if you can cuddle up in bed in the afternoon, why wouldn’t you?
7. Have Friends Who Like You
Many kids have trouble making friends. Those feelings and insecurities are challenging to overcome, especially if you are shy and don’t find any friends in school. I understand this all too well, unsure if I would have friends who would like me exactly as I am.
With one exception, all my closest friends I’ve made in adulthood, and being completely myself. For any kid who feels lonely and wonders, if maturity is different, it can be.
8. Pay Bills With Money to Spare
If you grew up in a household of limited means, the idea that adults could pay their bills and have money left over for non-essentials no doubt felt unlikely. But some have come to see that it is attainable.
One such individual notes,” I grew up super poor and in survival mode.” It can be hard to break free of that mentality because it was during your formative years. But suppose you find yourself in a good position financially. In that case, realizing there’s money for travel and entertainment is an incredible feeling your childhood self could never have imagined.
9. Make Money With Art
Encouraging the arts is not a universally held belief. The same generations that saw the invention of the cell phone only sometimes received support with artistic endeavors, so the idea of making money felt out of the question. But artists do make money. One artist shares, “I’m now an up-and-coming caricature artist making a healthy hourly wage.”
10. Silencing Your Critical Voice
Unless you are the most secure person, you have an inner voice that doubts, criticizes, or bullies. Some are particularly harsh with themselves, starting from a very young age. Learning to let go, ignore, and ultimately eradicate this voice is difficult but worth the hard work it takes to get there.
One person acknowledges, “Healing my inner child has been so hard but equally as rewarding.” Embracing who you are may be hard when you are a kid. But over time (either on your own or through therapy), slowly silencing those destructive thoughts will only lead to a happier self.
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This thread inspired this post.