Sometimes I feel really old. Not particularly in a worn out or tired way, but more in a kind of “how did the world change so quick” way. So many things that were so familiar to me in my childhood have completely disappeared… and of course, things that hadn’t been invented in the 1970’s, now control our lives.
I can’t help thinking that if you were born in the late 1960’s (as I was), or even the 70’s, and are now living in 2019, you have probably witnessed some of the greatest and fastest changes that society has ever seen. The transformation of communications, the unparalleled spread of social media, and the 24/7 nature of our society are all things we would not have dreamed of back in 1966.
I remember coming in from school to watch General Hospital and then watching about an hour and a half of scheduled children’s programmes. There was no Sky, no continual sport, music or films on tap 24/7. There were three channels available and the biggest television treat of the week was watching Starsky and Hutch on a Saturday night. Do you remember the Test Card that used to appear when programming closed every evening? 24 hour television did not start until 1998, and the test card was first shown in 1967 when colour television came into being.
There is a presumption that perhaps there was less crime 50 years ago, and we were all a lot safer on the streets, but I’m not sure that is really true. Crime just seems to have been different. There was not the same depressing deluge of constant stabbings, shootings and drug related crime in the 1970’s and 80’s like there is now, but instead we were listening to details of the latest IRA bombing outrage or the unspeakable and terrifying deeds of the serial killers who stalked those decades, including Sutcliffe, Bundy and Black.
I remember getting our first (extremely massive and unwieldy) computer in 1996 and trying the search engines on the internet for the first time. It was mind blowing, even then! Now we wonder how we would cope without it. Information on every subject is at our fingertips day or night. To “google” something is now recognised in dictionaries, and is very much part of our everyday language. Where did we look before if we needed information? The Encyclopedia Brittanica! Google it if you have no idea what that is!
I miss libraries. I know there are a few still about, but they aren’t as prevalent as they were a few decades ago. I remember living in Stafford in the 1970’s, and a library van used to stop at the end of our road. Climbing aboard and inhaling the smell of all those lovely books was such a pleasure.
Don’t get me wrong, I love 90% of our new technology and the way that it has changed out lives. I am as addicted to Twitter and Instagram as a teenager, and fully appreciate the scale of social media and it’s influence over my existence. Of course with the good, comes the very bad, and all sorts of vile individuals can now spew their hatred and vitriol from their sad little bedrooms wreaking terrible damage on people they have never met, and certainly don’t know, without having to set a foot outside their front door. I realise that because I am older, any nastiness I receive bounces off me with little effect. It is not the same for many of the younger generation, who haven’t the maturity yet to deal with this type of mindless hate.
I couldn’t do without my mobile phone, it is literally attached to my head, I own an iPad, a Kindle, a laptop and an Apple Watch, and I still wonder if I need more technology in my life. I spend hours shopping on the internet, and then bemoan the downturn in our high street shopping centres. I gripe about footballers wages, and then happily buy both a Sky Sports and a BT Sport subscription so I don’t miss a game.
So when people moan about text messages, e-readers , and mobile phones, no, I’m not with you… but I do absolutely understand that modern life is anxiety ridden and is potentially very harmful to our young people. This is because of the perfect ideal we have of what our lives are supposed to be. We are all under so much pressure to be supremely content, sane, confident and accomplished. As a result, we end up feeling miserable, weak and ineffectual, and panicking that we are missing out or that our lives are being wasted.
I love the reliability and safety that technology can offer us, I enjoy driving a modern car and I am grateful for the the way I can speak to my dad who lives in Atlanta and it sounds like he is just down the road. I live for internet shopping and the joy of having my groceries delivered rather than stomping around Sainsbury’s, is a constant delight. I wouldn’t swap back to 1970 for all the Apple Macs in China, but I do appreciate that we are now in a “give it to me now” society, where there is no waiting, no patience and sometimes no effort. And perhaps no responsibility?
Some things never change of course, I’m sat here writing this post with the worst cold anyone has ever had, (I’m well known for being somewhat dramatic when ill), and there is still no cure or medicine than can cut out these horrible symptoms. We have come a long way though with significant steps towards cures for Cancer and Alzheimer’s.
I am pretty sure food doesn’t taste as good as it used to. I worry about the pollution in the air and what we are doing to our environment… but I love our coffee culture and the accessibility of travel and holidays. We are off to St Lucia soon, and later this year, Cape Verde. As a child I was happy with a week in Torquay.
Swings and roundabouts, good and bad. We can’t turn the clock back, so don’t waste your time wishing we could. Make the most of our technology-centred lives and take responsibility for your own happiness. Who knows where we will be in another 50 years? ❤️
Ah, I liked it better when I didn’t have a phone in my pocket.
I too have lived through so many of these changes and a lot more as I am in my late 70’s now. It is somewhat sad that children today don’t know the freedom we children lived with when I was still a child. We ran out in the street safely to play in the evenings and night, knowing we were safe. We lived with joys of such simple things, and holidays were more meaningful. Getting a new pair of shoes in the fall before school started was a special thing, and boys and girls alike wore simple clothes and were happy with what we had. My folks bought a 3 bedroom, 1-1/2 bath brick home with a very large yard and stone fence for $5,000 and that seemed like a lot. We did not have plastic (credit cards), but you could buy things on time or on lay-a-way. As a teen, we used to pool our money to have enough for gas – $1.00 would get three gallons. We went to drive-in movies, and yes, I remember when black and white TV first came in, and then the world began to change. I miss those days for certain. Thank you for the memories.
Thank you so much for such a lovely reply! House prices are certainly ridiculous now. I remember mum and dad buying a house for £13,000 in 1974! You could put that in a credit card now! Thanks again.. much appreciated.
I was born in the 50’s and can relate to pretty much all of what you’re saying. My children are 30 and 24, My 30 year-old plans to start a family within the next 2 or 3 years and I wonder how I’ll describe my childhood to them without sounding like a dinosaur. We had 3 TV channels and no computers and we played outside in summer every day, and we walked pretty much everywhere ourselves without parental supervision Crime has always been around, but I don’t think all of it is more prevalent. What’s changed is the way it’s reported…so many different ways,24/7, to the point where we feel we’re bombarded with terrible news. It makes me want to go out and play outside again.
Yes that’s a really good point, it is absolutely the way that crime is reported that has changed. Thanks so much for riding and taking the time to comment. Means a lot!
I totally related to your memories and it was a less crazy time being born in the 60’s myself. Yesterday my husband was working on a puzzle and I was laying on the couch reading out loud like we use to do so many years ago when the only audible book was if you were listening to someone at home or school read to you. Despite being a website content manager and doing my blog I have little interest in technology. I use my phone for a camera and to make calls lol I hate driving so I rarely do and my car is as old as my grandkids (which are in middle school now) I listen to music on the radio and watch TV on the TV, my appliances don’t talk and my washing machine has no codes for repairs. There are times when I consider embracing technology but the times I don’t are too valuable so I make sure I have the skill sets to progress with the times but I rarely embrace it. Great blog – lots to think about and enjoyed going down memory lane!!!
Love it! I quite like tech, but Andy is always telling me that the more complicated an appliance is, the more there is to go wrong! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and leave your comment ❤️