Growing up in the late '80s and '90s was much different than it is today. There was no social media to update your friends on, and if you wanted to be in touch with anyone outside of school, you might have to actually go see them. If a young person was lucky enough to have a cell phone to use, they had to make sure that they didn't send too many texts, otherwise their parents might have to pay them off on their next phone bill.
And technology isn't the only thing that has changed in the past few decades. Young people today don't remember a time when people used maps and encyclopedias to get all of their information. When Reddit user u/Bagolyvagymi asked the question, "What's something that newer generations will never understand?" answers flooded in from "elder Millennials" who remember the good old days of sitcoms, passing notes in school and playing the newest NES games.
Texts Used to Cost 10 Cents
"When free minutes started at 9pm and text messages cost 10¢ each way. So even if you didn’t text your friends back your parents would get mad b/c they still had to pay for it"
Story credit: Reddit / taishosecret
Your Music Was Limited to Your iPod Library
"Having a limited amount of music with you when traveling. Even with MP3 players if you didn’t have the song on it you weren’t going to listen to it until you could connect to a computer. It’s wild having gone from CDs to MP3 players to Streaming. Zune was best 1v1 me on rust about it."
Story credit: Reddit / gaybatman75-6
You Couldn't Wait For Reruns
"missing an episode of a show meant MISSING IT FOREVER. There's still an episode of "Battlestar Galactica" I never saw. I could go back and watch it now, but 10 year old me hurt like a gunshot wound for a long time after missing that thing."
Story credit: Reddit / The_Patriot
TV Guide Was a Much-Needed Resource
"Not being able to watch whatever you wanted whenever you wanted. We actually had to look up the shows schedule in a TV guide and be available when it came on."
Story credit: Reddit / togotfury1983
Be Kind, Rewind
"Having to rewind the tape before returning it to the video store or else incurring a fee."
Story credit: Reddit / slapsmcgee23
Three-Ring Binders Were Full of Entertainment
"Having a three-ring binder of CDs for road trips."
Story credit: Reddit / DarthTrafford
Play Time Was Special
“Can so-and-so come out to play?”
Story credit: Reddit / mewmewx2
Parents Trusted Their Kids
"Parents not knowing where their kids are and trusting them not to get into trouble."
Story credit: Reddit / malamalinka
No Caller ID
"Hows about not knowing who was calling... was it your crush? your grandma? a telemarketer??? It's like a game show every time the phone rings"
Story credit: Reddit / andthrewaway1
Maps Were Our GPS
"How we got around without GPS navigation."
Story credit: Reddit / Convincing_Potato
Card Catalogues Are a Thing of the Past
"How to use the card catalog in the library — the ones with the cards in the drawers."
Story credit: Reddit / pixel_ate_it
There Used to Be More Planets
"That there used to be nine planets in the solar system."
Story credit: Reddit / Lilylivered_Flashman
Every Household Had a Set
"A thing called encyclopedias"
Story credit: Reddit / safeword-is-harder
Spare Change Was Everywhere
"Checking the pay phone change return for any forgotten coins."
Story credit: Reddit / FaberGrad
The Sears Catalogue Was a Treasure Trove
"Circling pictures of toys in the Sears catalog as a Christmas list. My brother and my cousin would do this every year at my grandma's house. We also put our initials so our parents knew who wanted what toy."
Story credit: Reddit / fabes_ohoulihan
Calling Someone Was an Experience
"Why we say "hang up" the phone"
Story credit: Reddit / RynoLasVegas
Boredom Wasn't a Crime
"Maybe not universal. But how to entertain yourself with your mind and nothing else.
I've noticed something about my friends/people i know in parenting culture where it's now a crime for a child to be bored. When I was a kid my parents laughed and told me to go away when I said I was bored."
Story credit: Reddit / fourteendogs
Cassette Deaths Were Tragic
"The frustration of cassette tapes getting mangled."
Story credit: Reddit / BornToHulaToro
Software Installation Processes Required So Many Discs
"Insert Disk #3 and press Return to continue..."
Story credit: Reddit / everythingisajokeok
Phones Came With One Game
"The glory of playing and enjoying snake on a brick phone."
Story credit: Reddit / FlappyDeFlapJack
The Perfectly-Timed Snack Break
"Having to properly time getting a drink and snack before the ad break on TV finished. I still sweat thinking about it."
Story credit: Reddit / heyitssunny_
You Could Really Get Lost
"Getting lost in your car and just having to figure it out"
Story credit: Reddit / doot_doot
Synchronizing Your Watch
"'Let’s all meet back here at 6:00.' *Looks at watch.* 'I’ve got 4:35. What time do you have?'"
Story credit: Reddit / mr_funnypuns
No One Had All the Answers
"The difficulty of not being able to instantly find the answer to questions."
Story credit: Reddit / McDunky
Putting the Window Down Took Effort
"Cranking the rear window in a car by hand"
Story credit: Reddit / TorontoMaples
Everyone Had Dial-Up
"Having to say BRB to all your friends on MSN because your mom wanted to make a call, and then having to disconnect from the internet and dial back up when she was done."
Story credit: Reddit / emzyyx
Binge-Watching Was Out of the Question
"Not being able to binge a show unless you literally recorded a bunch of episodes from TV onto a bunch of VHS tapes."
Story credit: Reddit / TheRealOcsiban
You Had to Commit to Your Plans
"Making plans to meet friends and having to commit because you didn't have mobile phones to ask where they were, how far, and if they were still coming."
Story credit: Reddit / GiantMonkeyBall
MySpace Was the First Social Media Site
"How great Myspace was. It was a million times better than Facebook. You could choose top friends, music, cursors, backgrounds, and images. It was awesome until everyone transitioned over to FB."
Story credit: Reddit / mdsoccerx9
Arcades Were Everywhere
"Going to the arcade and playing games like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. This is my childhood."
Story credit: Reddit / Ujou_Danjin_Ken
No One Put Your Failures On the Internet
"Being able to be an idiot in your formative years and not worry about it being filmed and/or put on the internet forever"
Story credit: Reddit / DenzelEd12
There Was Hope For the Future
"There was a time when we felt the world was getting better, not worse."
Story credit: Reddit / MrEngin33r
Hanging Up the Phone Was Fun
"Slamming down the receiver on a landline telephone. Pushing the red button is not nearly as satisfying."
Story credit: Reddit / iamwalldoh
You Had to Get Your Photos Developed
"Taking pictures and then waiting for them to be developed to see if they turned out okay."
Story credit: Reddit / Cautious_Emotion9839
Saturday Morning Cartoons
"Saturday morning cartoons. I miss sitting in front of the TV and eating a bowl of cereal while Tale Spin, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or whatever Saturday morning cartoon series played. Then getting on my bike once they ended around 10 a.m. and riding over to my friend's house to play till sunset."
Story credit: Reddit / asportate
You Could Be "Off the Grid"
"The beauty of being unreachable."
Story credit: Reddit / exioce
Buying Albums For One Song
"Having to buy the entire album to get one song you liked, or else wait for it to come on the radio and record it. Missing any part of the song was unacceptable, and you had to wait until it was played again."
Story credit: Reddit / hanginonwith2fingers
MTV Actually Played Music
"MTV played music videos, had music discussion shows, and had news about music 24 hours a day at one point."
Story credit: Reddit / senorchaos718
You Couldn't Keep in Touch
"Meeting up with a friend at the movies and having no way to communicate once you’ve left the house. Your friend doesn’t show. Is he coming? Should I continue to wait and stand at the precise spot we agreed on? Has he died? Did he forget? I’ll call home using a pay phone and hope my mom is there to tell me whether he left a message on the answering machine."
Story credit: Reddit / chihuahua-mama
"Get Home Before the Street Lights Come On"
"The street lamps means it’s time to go home."
Story credit: Reddit / These-State-6555