For anyone born before 2000, talking about how life used to be can feel like you're talking about life back in the 1950s. Technology, especially in the last decade-plus, has changed our lives so much that it's hard to even think about what it was like before smartphones, streaming, and quick and easy online shopping.
Well recently, Reddit user u/Common-Sprinkles9328 was interested in just that when they asked this question: "Redditors born before the year 2000, what will those born after 2000 never have to struggle with like you did?"
The Paley Center for Media/ giphy.com
Thousands of Gen X'ers, millennials, and older Gen Z'ers responded with the things they had to grow up with that today's kids would never understand. Here are some of the top-voted and best comments:
1."Listening to the radio for hours waiting to hit record on a cassette tape when your favorite song comes on. Listening to the end of the set to find out who recorded that song, if they announce it. Then saving allowance money to buy the album where maybe they'll have printed lyrics so you can find out what the slurred lines said."
"I'm still good at parsing lyrics because of all the practice I had. I'd sit with my walkman and write down the lyrics as they came, I'd rewind and listen to one part over and over until I got it.
I figured out the lyrics to 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' and my friends didn't believe me until they found the lyrics somewhere and I was vindicated."
"Your finger hovering nervously over the record button waiting for just the right moment, mentally wishing the DJ harm as they kept talking over the intro (which I now know was intentional…)."—TOnihilist
2."Having to delete text messages because your phone could only store 10 max."
"And having the pleasure of paying 10 cents a text message."
"And only getting 160 characters. Go over that? That’s another 10 cents."—gl0baln0mad5280
3."Remembering a piece of media — books, TV shows, songs, commercials, even the B movies they'd show on the syndicated channel — and having no idea where to even look to find out whether it really existed or if it was just a childhood fever dream, much less find the title and creators or the whole freakin' thing on YouTube."
"I can hear this comment."
"Not being able to use the internet because someone was expecting a phone call."
"I remember once trying to look at a dirty picture. It took too long to load so I closed it. Then I still got in trouble because my parents saw it in the history, LOL."
5."Downloading a song on LimeWire and realizing it's just a clip of Bill Clinton saying, 'I did not have sex with that woman' on repeat."
6."Driving without GPS. Here's a paper map. I hope you know how to read it. Better hope it's up to date."
7."I remember printing the directions from Google Maps to take with us in the car, because you could only get it on the desktop computer. If it was a particular long trip, you would have like 10 pages of directions!"
8."Waiting around for people. Once they left their home, they had no way to get in touch with you unless they stopped at a phone booth. So if they were delayed or just late, you fucking sat around and waited. I remember many long hours waiting for people to show up."
9."If you had a project for school, you couldn't get started until your mom felt like driving you to the library."
20th Century Fox Television
"And if someone already checked out the good books on Abraham Lincoln or whatever you were doing a report on, you were fucked. There was no Wikipedia, you had to skim the whole book for stuff."
10."A five-hour drive with nothing to keep you entertained except your parents' music and highway games like license plate bingo."
11."Trying to play your Game Boy in the car at night and only being able to really play when you passed under a street light because it didn't have a backlit screen."
12."Memorizing phone numbers."
US National Archives/ giphy.com
"I still remember mine and my friends' from over 30 years ago."
"Same here. But I can't learn new numbers at all."—mynextthroway
13."Needing to find information on a topic not found in Encarta '95."
14."Rewinding a VHS tape to replay a movie."
15."Sitting in the doctor's waiting room reading old magazines/ watching the TV that was put on the ceiling."
16."Looking for something to watch on TV, turning to the TV Guide Channel, and waiting for the listings to scroll around to the channels you cared about."
17."Getting the content you want; imagine going to the video rental store week after week to rent Wild Things at 16 (for reasons) only to find it is always already rented. Or NBA Jam is always rented. Now everything is on demand!"
18."Trying to remember to set the VCR to record your favorite show because or else you'd have to wait until summer reruns to watch it again. You always hoped you got it right, but you never knew until you played that tape. Or worse, you had to be out that night and your usual routine of recording one show while watching the other one live was out the window. Now it was a very hard choice as to which show you were going to record."
19."Being stuck on the toilet without a phone, so you are stuck reading the back of shampoo bottles, bars of soap, etc."
20."Calling your friends and the terror of having to talk to their parents."
21."Watching scrambled porn on the cable hoping for the kinda' clear picture that happened for about one second every two minutes."
22."Frantically trying to exit out of the internet because you accidentally pressed the button on your flip phone."
You can read the full thread of responses on Reddit.
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.