Then Versus Now | Thoughts On A Simpler Time.

Me and my little brother at Disneyland. I was 11 here.

I’ve been on a historical movie kick lately. I’m watching movies like October Sky, Mona Lisa Smile, and The Help; all fantastic films by the way. They’ve been making me nostalgic though, and reminding me of how much life has changed over the past 70 years. Do you ever wish you could go back to a simpler time?

I’m not completely romanticizing the times. I know there were a lot of harsh realities and struggles back then. Wars, unemployment, struggles for rights and gender equality… but there were a lot of good things that I personally believe have been lost.

Living In The 21st Century

Let’s start by taking a look at how good we’ve got it now. The 21st Century is one of convenience and comfort for most. The average family in Canada lives in a nice home with heat, a television, and access to good medical care. We can contact anyone instantly thanks to the internet or our cellular phones.

We wake up in our cozy beds and turn on a hot shower before starting the day. We brew our coffee in seconds, hop in our vehicles, and head off to work. We complain about traffic and red lights and the inconvenience of gas prices.

When it’s time for dinner, we open our fridge that’s helped preserve our food and cook on our stove tops or ovens. The meat has already been processed to the size and shape we desire, making it easy to create a wide variety of dishes. If we aren’t the cooking kind, we can easily order food to be delivered to our front door or drive to a close by restaurant.

Finished supper? Most homes are equipped with dishwashers. Simply stack the dishes in and flip a switch. Those dishes will now be ready the next time to need them so you can sit down to a quiet evening of Netflix. Oh, and you don’t even have to deal with commercials or the inevitable cliff hangers. Just click ‘keep watching’ and completely turn off your brain for three hours.

Traveling the world is quick and efficient. We don’t have to just look at things in a magazine to appreciate them, we can stand in awe in front of it. It’s easy. It’s accessible. And we can share where we are live around the world with the click of a button.

Life Back Then…

Now let’s examine what things were like 60+ years ago. War was an every day reality. Sons and husbands were drafted and many didn’t come back. Medical technology was no where near what it was today, yet people got by. Allergies weren’t really a thing, and you only called a doctor if you were on your deathbed or seriously wounded. Depression and anxiety were not as rampant as they are today, though PTSD was a harsh reality for many soldiers. Physical exercise and dieting happened naturally, because the lifestyle didn’t involve sitting around and eating like we do now.

Woman stayed home with the children and spent their days cleaning, shopping, and cooking. Preparing meals was a time consuming process. You’d visit the local shops to get the rations you were due for making supper. You ate what was available and you were thankful for it, and you didn’t snack on processed things like chips and candy between meals.

Woman were responsible for all the preparing, the cooking, and the cleaning – without the help of fancy appliances like refrigerators and dishwashers. Husbands were at the office or mill, while children were at school or outside wandering the neighborhood.

Entertainment involved spending time with family and friends, playing games, or heading to the local Cinema on a Saturday night. TV’s became a thing in the late 40’s, but it wasn’t until the late 60’s that they were a common staple in a home. Jukeboxes were fun and encouraged the development of the latest dance craze among teens and adults alike. News came in the form of paper or on the radio. Photos didn’t have answering machines and weren’t carried outside the house. There was no GPS or Apple Playlists. If you had a camera and traveled, you’d wait weeks to have the photos developed and show your guests on a slide projector. Most folks went to church, and their religion (whatever that was) was at the center of their life.

What’s My Point?

I share this because it’s important to look back. I am so thankful for the advancements in medical care, our freedoms, and our ease of access to things like food and hygiene. We have it very easy these days, and our complaints are often so trivial.

But many things have been lost with these advancements. We believe socializing online is just as good as meeting someone face to face. We stare at our phones for hours instead of playing games at the kitchen table. We choose convenience over quality, and then we complain about the way our farmers are treating animals or how they harvest. We’ve lost our manners and we’ve lost respect. We’re completely wrapped up in our own little bubbles, and it’s sad. I’m sad, guys.

Perhaps you’re reading this and don’t believe it applies to you. If that’s the case, well done. I applaud you! Do us all a favor and remind those around you. Sometimes we need a wake up call. But if we’re being honest, I think a majority of us have gotten too comfortable in this new era of ease.

My kids spend a lot of time outside each day. I am not concerned about their physical development. We moved to the country to bring back some of those old ways and teach our kids an appreciation for the land and farming. But we have a long way to go. My kids bug me constantly for more screen time. They pester me hourly for snacks. I’m concerned about what they’ll be exposed to in this generation of addiction and ‘me first’ mentality. And their manners and respect certainly needs work.

As for me? I know I’m on my phone too much. It’s so easy to make excuses for it too. If it’s there and I’m bored, I flick it open and scroll. My goal is to leave my phone in the kitchen more and use it as a phone versus a lifeline. I want to read more, both for myself and with my kids. I want to get back to the basics and have more appreciation. And we definitely need to spend more time around our kitchen table as a family. I’m going to work on more balance.

Do you ever wish you could go back to a simpler time?



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