Older folks Share The Most Amazing Changes Within Their Lifetime They Never Thought Were Possible.
The twenty-first century continues to technologically advance at an alarming and exponential rate. Things thought hundreds of years away are soon coming to our living rooms. The changes are mind boggling.
Here are some older folks sharing their perspective on changes within their lifetime they never thought were possible.
Many thanks to the Reddit user who posed this question and all those who answered. You can check out more responses from the source at the end of this article!
1/25. Over 55 and gay here. Never dreamed I'd marry. Never thought that would be able to happen in my lifetime.
2/25. The amount of graphic sexuality on television. When I was younger TV had almost no nudity, you could maybe get a fuzzy connection on some random between channel. It blows my mind that at any time you can see young girls so scantily clad with very sexual storylines on network television (90210?).
But, then again, you can see anything on the internet, so it's hard to judge how much that matters.
3/25. I never thought I'd see an American political dissident (Snowden) fleeing to Russia.
4/25. I asked my great grandmother (1888-1990) a question like this question once. She said penicillin. As kid, it was pretty common for kids at school to die every year.
5/25. My parents were born in the early 1920's, lived through the Great Depression, and were dirt poor. I used to be amazed to think of all the change that occurred in their lifetimes. Going from not even having indoor plumbing, one of my dads proudest moments is when he had central air installed in our house back in the 1980's. he felt he had "made it".
I was born in the 1960's. Looking back, I think more dramatic change has occurred during my lifetime. I've gone from a time of general isolation having one telephone in the kitchen with lots of Busy tones to near instantaneous communication with nearly anyone on the planet.
From needing to go to the library to research anything, and being lucky if the encyclopedias were less than 10 years old, to having near immediate access to most of human knowledge. I'm pretty geeky, started developing software in the mid-80's and have worked in the Internet industry since the early 1990's. There are still times, when asked a question, that I forget for a couple minutes that I can google it for an immediate answer.
My son is now 15. I used to think he'd be as into tech as I am. That he'd recognize just how cool it is. But he's growing up in a time where the Internet is just another utility like electricity and water. From talking to his friends to playing xbox games with people literally all over the world, It's normal to him, and he can't conceive of a time when it wasn't. So when I think of my parents, then look at my son, I see myself as part of a bridge of substantial change between my parents generation and my son's. I now think greater global and sociological change has occurred during my lifetime than during my parents.
6/25. I'm going to go a different route than all the obvious technological advances - smart phones, etc. and say travelling to the former Soviet Union.
When I was young, the US and USSR were locked in a Cold War. The Berlin Wall existed and traveling to Moscow was just not an option without complicated diplomatic maneuvering. Today, with my passport, I can simply buy a ticket and in a few hours will see sights my parents and grandparents only dreamed of and feared.
7/25. Skype - free video chatting to anyone across the globe. That kind of thing used to be reserved for the Jetsons...
8/25. I asked my dad this question one time, he was born January 1st, 1944.
He said the most amazing thing to him is that anyone can find out anything they want to know with a google search. If you still don't quite understand, you can most likely get a video explanation on youtube. When he wanted to know something as a young man, he had spend hours, if not days or months researching, asking people, then making his own judgements on what the person said. The internet takes out the leg work and the waiting time.
Of course he knows you have to still make your own judgements, though.
The last thing he told me (on that topic) gives me chills for some reason, "I used to think that there were limitations on what mankind could achieve. I don't think so anymore, I think now that if we all work together we can achieve anything."
9/25. I graduated from High School in 1980.
Term papers were typed, or hand-written. If you made a mistake you used white-out on the physical page. If you lost it, it was gone.
If you wanted to know something, you went to the library, and quite frankly they had not much there. An almanac and an encyclopedia, so you could read one guy's article kinda related to your topic. A few older books that sort of looked useful, half of which were not on the shelf, and which usually would never be seen again.
Only houses had phones. If you wanted to meet a friend for lunch and he wasn't home, it wasn't happening.
You carried paper maps in the car, and a compass, too, if you were smart about it. No street sign? Sorry, no idea where you are. We had the yellow pages to find where to buy stuff. Most of the time, if it wasn't on a shelf somewhere nearby, if might as well not exist.
I don't think you can appreciate what it meant to have such little access to information and to communication. It's a profound, qualitative thing that affected every aspect of our lives.
Now I have a smartphone in my pocket. I'm willing to tackle any project, an argument, any topic, any time. I drive with the expectation that I can find any place I want to go, and get home without trouble. I can reach everyone I care about, at will, almost all the time. If I even imagine that some sort of product ought to exist, I can usually find it, and order it, in minutes.
Try this experiment. Suppose you have an interest in making your own bacon at home. Limit yourself to the physical books at the local library to learn everything you'll ever know about it. (You might be surprised at how incredibly misinformed you'll be when you walk out after blowing half a day there). If you can't find what you need at the local butcher shop, limit yourself to the yellow pages to look elsewhere (you DO have the yellow pages to other nearby cities, don't you?).
You can't order anything from anybody else because you have no idea where they are, or even if they exist. Did something go wrong when you tried it? There's no one to ask. Find a cool discovery while you did it? There's no one to share it with who cares about homemade bacon. Not one person you know, anywhere.
Our lives were very much smaller, because our world was very much smaller.
10/25. Being able to talk to people all over the world from the comfort of our own living rooms & it only costs us pennies.
11/25. This is one that hit me a year ago.
I'm riding in a car in the middle of nowhere when I remember that I needed to buy something. I pull out my phone and use it as a hotspot. Firing up my laptop I search a massive database of vendors and select one. I then use my credit card to transfer money to the vendor instantly. All done in a couple of minutes at 110 km/h without saying a word to anybody.
To do the same thing when I was a kid would involve waiting until I got home, researching the magazines and catalogs and maybe require a trip to the library. I could then place a long distance call to the vendor and see if they had the item. Once I had that I'd have to fill out a form and attach a cheque, mail it.
12/25. Apps like Shazam and SoundHound that identify a song just by listening to it. Beyond the ability to just reach into out pockets, pull out a phone and look up any bit of information, which younger me would have found incredible - these song apps are some next level stuff.
I can just hit that button and within a few seconds it tells me what song I'm listening to, the lyrics, and where to download it. I went to a concert recently and used it when I didn't know a song. It's like sorcery, and I find it amazing every time I use it.
13/25. When I was a kid, having central air conditioning in your home was (at least in my eyes) a sign of wealth. Now so many people have it. There are a lot of every day luxury items like this.
14/25. The ability to cuss in public and on TV.
I once had my mouth washed out with soap by my grandmother for reading aloud a sign at the gas station that read, "Exxon, the gas with GUTS!" "Guts" was considered the bad word here, and you just weren't ever supposed to say something like that in mixed company. Never mind that it was on a sign in public display, there were women in the car and good boys don't ever say things like that in their presence.
You remember that scene in A Christmas Story when Charlie Ralphie says the F word? That scene was no exaggeration, there was a time when such a thing was considered among the most grave offenses to decency.
These days, the things I hear coming out of kids' mouths, in public and in front of adults, just blows my mind. I'll never get used to it. Don't take your freedom for granted, kids, because it used to be a whole lot more messed up.
15/25. The fact that anyone can do pretty much anything they want to with very little money. For example, if somebody wanted to make a game they can download a game engine like Unity and get cracking. Want to make music? Bam! A whole range of instruments on your computer for a relatively small price. Want to make art? Bam! Gimp and Blender for absolutely free. Want to learn calculus? Bam! Khan Academy. Want to feed your curiosity? Bam! Wikipedia.
16/25. Google Earth... The level of detail you can see in cities across the globe is just staggering... An almost complete virtual earth you can explore and take in from the comfort of your own living room.
17/25. Non-segregated restrooms.
18/25. Gaming being accepted as a normal and mainstream hobby.
19/25. Growing up in Baltimore, I was lucky that I had large family including Grandparents alive and I had friends. To see them, we would make plans days beforehand. I had a telephone when I was in grade school. It was a shared line with neighbors. They would often listen in on conversations, you could hear a click. To dial out, at first I needed to talk to an operator, but quickly could dial rotary four digits. Long distance calling was not really used due to cost, and forget international calling! When I was 11, we got a television. It was the absolute best- a giant box with a manual dial, obviously in black and white, but friends would come over because this was a new "clearer" version!
To research a topic, I would go to a library. If there were a new version of the encyclopedia, I had an advantage as my information was only several years dated.
We had no central air conditioning. To cool down we would go to a movie theatre, spending our 10 cents wisely.
20/25. My tiny MP3 player. I dreamed of one day being able to carry my entire music collection with me. Now it is almost possible. (I have a huge collection.)
21/25. That having cash in your wallet is almost an annoyance now that it can all be put on a little plastic card.
This article concludes on the next page!
22/25. GPS. It is amazing to always be able to get where you want to go and find your way home, all with this bitch telling you where to go or 'recalculating'.
23/25. Ok I'm not that old and this is only 11 years ago.. but multi touch screens were still sci-fi in 2002 when Minority Report came out.. Even many years later, touch screen were still clunky and required a stylus to use. The smart phone and tablet still surprise me sometimes.
24/25. 3-dimensional printing.
25/25. Couple things come to mind. First, I'm 56.
When I was in second grade, we saw a film about what the future will bring. In the house, there was an oven that would cook a turkey in an hour! People had exercise equipment in their homes! And they would buy things from a computer terminal in their house! Amazing stuff!
In the early 80s, I worked for a PBX manufacturer. First one to be computerized. We sold 48K memory boards for $10,000. They were about the size of a vinyl record album. We did remote access to the systems via 2400 baud modems. The power of technology is amazing.
Going to Disneyland, Tomorrowland... They had a couple of booths set up where you could do a video call between them. The screen was about 5 inches across, black and white, of course, and it was fantastic!!!
Secretly, we all fear having birthdays like the one in Sixteen Candles, where nobody shows up and we're forced to deal with how lonely we feel as people. But sometimes, people have things happen on their birthday that put Molly Ringwald to shame.
It stinks to have your special day go sour. Moreover, it hurts, that if whatever happened was bad enough, you will never be able to not associate your birthday with that awful thing.