The other day we bought a new phone for the house. Not the cordless type but the old fashioned handset that I had grown up with, the one with the long cord that plugs into the wall; the one where you had to stay put to speak, tell the person on the line to “hold on” while you put the phone down to get yourself a glass of water, and the one where you had no privacy when you were speaking because it was placed smack bam in the middle of your living room.
As soon as we took it out of the box our kids were all over it like flies.
“What are you supposed to do with it?”
“What’s this twirly cord?”
Apparently, my Generation Z kids (I had to google the name), were not aware of phones that were not cordless. I can only imagine what they would’ve done had they ever come across the rotary dial phone my grandma had at her house. I miss that phone!
You see, I’m a Millennial. Born in the early 1980s I thought I hailed from a cool and hip generation. And my kids and I are just two decades apart. I had them early so I had it as a given that we wouldn’t have a generation gap issue in our household.
And then this!
It really got me thinking about the world I grew up in and the world my kids are exposed to today.
Growing up, if I wanted to speak to a friend on the phone, I would call their house line and ask their parents if they could come to the phone. We had no cell phones and no text messages. Most days I just had to make a mental note of it in my head and remember to tell them the next day at school.
I would spend entire evenings watching MTV or listening to the radio to hear that One song that I liked. We didn’t have YouTube. Even my two-and-a-half year old knows YouTube, and she’s not even potty trained yet. Just sayin’.
I grew up in a world where “gluten-free” and “organic” were not on my mom’s weekly grocery list.
Waterful Ring Toss was the most high tech game I owned until I was introduced to Atari. I didn’t get my first Game Boy until I was ten, and let me tell you, Super Mario- the guy made out of five pixels against a green screen was the ultimate definition of advanced graphics at the time. And if you lost your three lives after playing for two hours straight (or worse still, if your batteries died), you were back to square one. My kids have never seen a game cartridge.
My parents read newspapers. Heck, even I read newspapers. The other day we bought a newspaper. The kids said, “What’s this stack of paper?” In my kids’ world, if you want to read the news you will use your iPad or your iPhone.
My friends and I would mail each other letters for fun, and I had a pretty cool stamp collection going on. The other day, my kid asked me “Did the postman bring any Email today?” It’s called Mail. Also, they refer to all the leaflets we get in our mailbox as ‘junk mail”. I guess in a way it is.
When I needed information about something, I’d have to look it up in a book. The other day I couldn’t answer my son’s question. He told me to “just google it.”
I grew up in a world without “selfies”, “ussies”, “apps”, “followers”, “likes”, and hashtags. I didn’t even know # was called a hashtag until I was in high school. I would simply refer to it as “the number symbol”.
Photos had to be developed. You got 36 attempts to get a good one. If you were lucky, about 8 of them would be keepers. The rest would be blurry, shaky, contained the tip of your finger over the lens, or wouldn’t be centered. My kids have never seen a roll of film.
When we went out for dinner I would bring my crayons with me, or a book. My kids will not stop whining until they get their hands on my iPhone.
They don’t know what VHS is, what it’s like to need to rewind or fastforward to watch a movie or a part of a movie, what it’s like when the tape becomes worn out and the picture becomes blurry. They’ve never seen a music cassette or heard of the name. They’ve never seen a floppy disc. Or a beeper.
And I could go on and on and on.
Maybe there comes a point in everyone’s life when they look back on their childhood with a certain degree of nostalgia. How times were simpler and better when we were growing up.
I’m not anti-progress by any means, and I do try to embrace the world we live in today. I try to put myself in my kids’ shoes and strive to understand what it is like to be a product of the fast paced digital world we live in today. Maybe my kids will look back upon their youth when they’re my age and have the same thoughts I’m having right now.
Perhaps it’s just a natural progression of life where old things give way to new things. And there you have it. Suddenly I’m feeling Outdated and Old-fashioned. A product of the generations past. Maybe it’s what all Moms go through in life.
And right about now, I’m feeling like the Mommest of Moms!