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10 Things You Suffered Through That Your Kids Will Never Understand

10 Things You Suffered Through That Your Kids Will Never Understand

When you were growing up, you probably hated hearing adults telling stories about the “good old days”—stories which somehow always turned out to be about how everything was so much harder back then. (So wait, what made them “good”?) Years pass, and now look who’s telling stories about the good old days! Let’s face it, with the explosion of technologies in the latter part of the 20th century, times really have changed. Today’s 30-somethings are the last generation to have grown up without computers and cell phones being completely ubiquitous. And if you’re in your 20s, you likely came of age during the Web 1.0 era. Either way, if you still sometimes think of the hashtag symbol as a pound sign, you’ll probably relate to these 10 things that today’s kids will never understand.

GameBoy-racist-ad

    1. Lugging around giant portable devices with calculator-style screens

    Even explaining what gaming used to be like to people who grew up with palm-size devices with HD screens is no easy feat. A friend of mine once tried to explain what the original Gameboy was like to two girls aged 7 and 8. “The screen was black and white,” my friend said. “Oh yeah,” one of the girls immediately replied. “One of my friends has the Nintendo DS in black and white!” “No no,” my friend had to backpedal. “The actual Gameboy was just like a big gray box. The pictures on the screen were in black and white.” But by that point, it was a lost cause—the girls were back to playing Draw Something on their iPads. Point is, graphics like the ones touted in this (pretty darn racist) ad were muddy and illegible compared to even the “dumbest” phone or gaming device you could buy now. And remember how before there was a backlit screen, Gameboy’s solution was the Lightboy, an unwieldy magnifying lamp that you attached to the already unwieldy device?

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    vhs-fbi-warning

      2. The epic struggle of dealing with VHS tapes

      Today, you’re a few taps or clicks away from the exact scene (or even the exact frame!) of whatever movie you want to see at any given time. Between YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and the rest of the web, even the most obscure TV episode can be rewatched. Back in the day we had the VCR, which kids today might recognize from the mountainous piles of tapes at virtually every yard sale. Getting a tape of the movie you wanted to watch was just the first part of the adventure. (Forget about TV shows—you’d need to catch a rerun, wait for syndication, or just try to remember what had happened.) In the days before Blockbuster, you’d generally have to get the one copy from your local video store. If the previous renter wasn’t kind, you’d have to rewind, which would eventually wear out your VCR, already one of the more finicky pieces of home technology. Want to see a particular scene? Hit fast forward, hit rewind, hit fast forward again, ad nauseam, as you watch a blurred version of the movie speed by. And if you spent too long with your favorite tape, you’d get hit with late fees, not to mention explaining to your parents why you just had to hang on to Encino Man for that one extra day.

      seinfeld-payphone

        3. Finding a pay phone—a working pay phone.

        Sit down children, and let me tell you a tale of what life was like before everyone had a cell phone. Need to call home to check in? Need to tell someone you’re running late? You had to find a pay phone… and then after you’d located a couple of pay phones, hopefully you’d stumble on one that was working, instead of ones where the receiver had been pulled off, the coin slot was jammed with gum, or worse. You also needed exact change, because the operator would soon be asking for it (and if you needed to talk more for than a couple of minutes, you were going to be hearing from the operator a lot). You were better off making your call quickly and moving on, so you wouldn’t aggravate the people waiting in line to use the phone behind you, or you’d wind up wasting 25 cents yelling at strangers to stop pounding on the door.

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        simpsons-vacation-slides

          4. Sitting through slide shows of your relatives’ vacation photos

          First of all, the “slide shows” we’re talking about are not a function in iPhoto (iPhoto didn’t exist). And no, this isn’t about PowerPoint. Back in the day, whenever some adults your parents knew went somewhere exotic like Hawaii or Washington D.C. or Sheboygan, you could count on an invite to come over to see their vacation slides. “Here we are in front of the Washington Monument.” (Click.) “And here we are next to the Washington Monument.” (Click.) And that’s if you were lucky! Chatty and/or photo-happy vacationers could force you into hours of staring at amateur pictures projected on someone’s living room wall. Sure, now everyone shares photos of everything via Facebook, but you can just look at them or not, and move on with your life!

          american-airlines-sorry-lady

            5. Calling the airline to plan your vacation

            You know how now you see TV ads touting travel websites that allow you to use one site to search airfares everywhere? Even finding out the fares for one airline used to be an exercise in patience and perseverance. In movies people just walked up to the counter, bought a ticket, and got on the plane. But in reality, things were much more complicated. If we wanted to see our grandparents, my mom would have to sit by the phone with a legal pad for hours, calling each airline to find out when the flights were, what the fares were, and so on. Sure, you could pay a travel agent to do it for you, but no matter what, you had no real way of knowing what you options were, at a glance. On the other hand, once you did get through planning your trip, you could check luggage without paying an extra fee, you didn’t have to strip down for airport security, and you’d get an in-flight meal (not saying it was good, but at least you weren’t paying for it). Sorry, American Airlines ad lady, a computer did replace you.

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            vacation-bad-directions

              6. Finding your way with giant folding maps and car atlases

              Road trips weren’t that much easier. Smartphones have made GPS units obsolete, and now plenty of new cars come with touch screens that plan out your route. Prior to all that, if you were headed somewhere new or you got lost and needed directions, it meant wrangling with a ginormous folding map or pulling out the trusty road atlas. Unfolding it was easy. Looking at it in the confines of your car was a bit less so, and required some maneuvering. Folding it back up into something the same size? Forget about it! (AAA still gives out free road maps, by the way, but these days hipsters use them as gift wrap.) If you were on a multi-state trip, chances are you used a road atlas—a spiral-bound book that usually gave you roughly two pages’ worth of maps per state, with insets showing you cities. It’s kind of a miracle that anybody made it anywhere.

              sixteen-candles-phone

                7. Sharing a single landline with your entire family

                Kids who have grown up in a cell phone-only home will never know the anxiety that comes with waiting forever for your crush to call, having to actually answer the phone every time to find out who’s calling. It’s your aunt? Got to wait ’til mom’s off the line with that big call. You finally pounce on the phone… and get to have a completely awkward conversation, because the phone is in the kitchen, and your parents and siblings are in there cooking, eating, eavesdropping, and so on. No matter how hard you tried, the phone cord (did I mention that phones had cords?) would only stretch so far, and it was inevitable that you were going to be overheard. If you were lucky enough to have two phones in your house, you had to worry that your sneaky little brother could be listening in on the extension! And when the phone bill came… let’s just say things could get ugly, especially since your mom probably told you it was impolite to call other people’s houses late at night, but late at night was when the rates went down.

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                netscape

                  8. Using your dial-up internet service… while someone else was on the phone.

                  Oh I’m sorry, kid—plain 4G is too slow for you? Clearly you don’t remember the days when dial-up was the only option, using your phone line to check out a Geocities page using Netscape Navigator or to make use of one of those free discs AOL seemed to send in the mail every three days. After a substantial wait and a bunch of disturbing sounds (like a fax machine breaking—wait, do you kids even know what a fax machine is?), you were finally free to join in your favorite text-based multiplayer game. At least, you were until someone tried to use the phone (you know, the one family phone you all shared). Half the time your connection was broken, and half the time your sister was screaming at you that she needed to use the phone. It’s basically the opposite of virtually everyone having a web browser on their laptops, their smartphones, and now, apparently, their wrists.

                  walkman-oh-man

                    9. Carrying cassettes around with you

                    If you didn’t want to listen to the radio (AM/FM that is, not satellite) or you didn’t have reception, your option was to bring your tunes with you. That meant that whenever you sat in the backseat of someone’s car, almost inevitably you’d have a crate of cassette tapes beneath your feet. Rocking out to your Walkman while you rollerblade? Well, you needed to pick out a tape and hope you didn’t get sick of it (unless you crammed a spare one in your fannypack). Eventually, the compact disc came along, and that changed everything. Instead of stomping on cassettes that littered the car floor, you could rest your feet upon a pleather-covered binder full of CDs. No more Walkman, either—now you could have a Discman, and experience the thrill of a device that was awkward to hold and that caused your music to skip every time you made a sharp movement. The whole listen-to-any-song-you-want-whenever-you-want thing still blows my mind. I feel like if I could travel back in time and tell my kid self about Spotify, I would blow their minds, too.

                    polaroids-instant-60-seconds

                      10. Waiting (and waiting) to see your pictures.

                      Okay kids, you know how your pictures look with Instagram filters like Nashville and 1973? Well, that is how pictures actually used to look. The biggest difference is that instead of being able to rattle off 30 selfies in as many seconds and see them all instantly on your phone, taking a picture was a pretty big deal. You only got 30 or so images per roll of film, so photos were reserved for special occasions (e.g., not just that you were in the bathroom and your hair looked really, really good). Did the photo come out? Were your eyes closed? Well, hope for the best — you’ll find out once you’ve finished the whole roll of film, taken it to get developed, and picked up the prints. Yeah, Polaroids were instant, but Polaroid film wasn’t cheap! No one was just snapping away with them. You probably have more photos saved on your phone right now than your grandparents took of themselves in their entire lives.

                      Featured photo credit: free photos & art via flickr.com

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                      Last Updated on September 16, 2019

                      How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                      How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                      You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

                      We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

                      The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

                      Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

                      1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

                      Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

                      For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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                      • (1) Research
                      • (2) Deciding the topic
                      • (3) Creating the outline
                      • (4) Drafting the content
                      • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
                      • (6) Revision
                      • (7) etc.

                      Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

                      2. Change Your Environment

                      Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

                      One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

                      3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

                      Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

                      Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

                      My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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                      Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

                      4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

                      If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

                      Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

                      I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

                      5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

                      I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

                      Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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                      As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

                      6. Get a Buddy

                      Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

                      I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

                      7. Tell Others About Your Goals

                      This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

                      For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

                      8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

                      What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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                      9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

                      If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

                      Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

                      10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

                      Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

                      Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

                      11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

                      At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

                      Reality check:

                      I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

                      More About Procrastination

                      Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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