Yesterday and Today

Yesterday and Today

So many things change in such a short time. I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s and the things that go on today was not in my wildest dreams back then. I am sure kids today (pretty much any generation) will say/have said the same thing. In this blog, I just want to talk about the things that we couldn’t do in those times but can do now. How those things have changed the way we live our lives today.

One of the things I like about today is being able to find and get things that we once had when we were kids. There are some things that I have gotten rid of when I was a kid that I wish I hadn’t and now I can find them on the web and buy them. I have things like old view master reels and Disney books that I now can add to my collection. Even if one is not buying their old toys back, it’s so nice to see the photos of them taking us back in time. The web is like a time machine.

Communication, it’s so much different today than what it was for my generation and older. When I was growing up, if you wanted to talk with someone overseas, there was the pen pal. I don’t know how one would start a pen pal and find the address of someone but it’s how we found connections with others from different countries. Sending those letters back and forth could take forever too so by the time one would get the letter, everything would be old news. It was our way.

Now we have the web where we can get on sites like twitter and facebook and chat with someone from another country right then and there. There is also things like skype where we can video chat with people. It’s cheaper too since there is no long distance charges. No more waiting to have a conversation with a long distance friend. The one thing though, I am sure it was exciting to get that pen pal, sitting down on your bed and reading that long distance letter. Now that excitement is lost. Not hearing someone’s voice over the phone can also be a loss (unless you’re video chatting). I guess to gain something that is better, you must also lose something.

Another thing about communication is talking with our favorite stars (I really hate using stars, famous people etc simply because they are human like us but there is no other word). We can now send them messages through twitter and facebook. If we are lucky, we get a response back. If someone would have told me years ago that I would be able to directly communicate with Donnie Wahlberg, I would have thought they were crazy. Not in my wildest dreams did I think it could or would happen; until twitter came along. Just having a connection with someone that you like and/or admire is one of the amazing feelings one can get. Even as early as the late 90’s when computers were making their way into everyone’s homes, you couldn’t communicate with others and your favorite star. It’s mind blowing sometimes.

The downsides to instant connection are stalkers, rude people and bullying is intensified. Because it’s easier to connect with people, it’s also easier for these kind of things to happen. :/ People have less privacy, hackers infect and it makes it easier for people to hide who they really are (at times). Of course everyone has a choice what they put out into the world and at some point the real person comes out but these are still the bad with the good.

Sites like youtube are able to give us an outlet for our creativity. We can video blog, show family and friends our home movies, we can make mini movies and mini shows, stretching our imagination. With today’s graphics and ability to create the craziest things, we can even make something seem like it’s real. Back then, we were stuck with pen and paper unless we were lucky enough to have a certain type of computer. People with good voices were left to just record themselves on a cassette tape. I suppose those ways are good too but I feel that with today’s technology, we can express ourselves easier.

This is true even for people who write stories. Now with e-books, anybody can express themselves and their talent without going through a publisher. All they have to do is turn it into an e-book and watch what happens. Then all the money goes to the writer. If they are lucky, their stories will get picked up by a publisher and then have it also in physical form.

Physical books are awesome but now it’s easier to carry a story around with the e-book. No more having boxes of books sitting around your house. I still prefer the physical book and to this day I don’t have an e-book.

Video games have changed a lot. When I was growing up we had Atari, Nintendo and the arcades cost $.25. We had like three lives and couldn’t save where we left off until one of the Zelda games came along. There were no story lines and the graphics were meh but to us they were awesome. It some ways, videos games were harder than they are now because you couldn’t save your game.

Today there are storylines, graphics that look like a movie, you can save your progress and sometimes have many lives. You have wireless controllers and can play with friends from other parts of the world. Arcades are fewer and some cost $1 or more to play a single game. The games today are awesome but nothing beats a good classic video game. I still have my old games and sometimes play them.

Board games were very popular too. Friends and family trying to figure out who killed who, with what weapon and where; playing the game of life, thinking games like Chess and Checkers, Yahtzee, Scrabble and who can forget the game where you buy properties hoping you wouldn’t land on Boardwalk or Park Place. Today a lot of the games are role playing games. The classics are always the best (to me anyways).

Music, it’s so much easier to get. Probably too easy. In my day, most of us would get a blank cassette tape and record our favorite songs from the radio. At some point they made cassette singles but getting the songs from the radio was easier even though one would catch the DJ talking no matter how hard we tried not to get them. We also couldn’t purchase singles if they were put out before the album (until single tapes came along). Again radio was the only way to hear and get the songs. This actually made things more exciting, waiting for that special album to come out to hear the singles and the other songs that came out, wondering what the cover would look like etc. A lot of the excitement about new albums are lost. It’s sad.

Today, we can get the songs anytime we want. A single comes out before the album and we can purchase it. Things are leaked either on purpose or not, before an album is released, taking away the excitement. The entire album doesn’t have to come in a physical form now. This is both good and bad. Good because we no longer have to carry bulky devices (walkmans and portable cd players) to carry our tunes. We have smaller devices that we download our music to. The bad thing is that the good things that come with a physical album is not there. Not being able to hold something in your hands, having that new smell, taking the wrapper off and looking at the photos and words while listening to your favorite tunes. Also, there is illegal downloading of songs, making the artist not get paid for their hard earn art (that is a whole nother topic).

Music videos are also not what they use to be. Back in the day, MTV and VH1 lived up to their names, showing our favorite songs with a story. People being even more creative to bring their words to life. It was so exciting knowing that a certain video was going to be aired at a certain time and getting ready to see it for the first time. Listening and watching music all day long even if one didn’t really the song, the videos were still entertaining.

Now if videos are made, they are only shown on youtube. There is less creativity but you can watch the videos at any time and as many times as you want. You can now even watch them on your phone and other traveling devices. Still, there was something special about music channels that youtube could never bring. Also, a lot of artist either don’t make videos or are not as creative like they use to be.

Finding lost friends. Once one left school, we used to think that we wouldn’t see certain people again (unless we had their phone numbers). Once you lost contact with someone, that was it unless you happen to run into them again. Today all you have to do is search facebook and you are more likely to find them, hooking up with old school friends. This is a blessing 🙂

Another thing that is great about today that we didn’t have when I was growing up are outlets for people/kids who are being bullied and have low self esteem. One never heard about phone numbers to call so you could talk to someone like The Trevor Project. If there were songs about being strong etc, it was very rare. There was really nowhere for people/kids to turn to except for their parent, teacher or school counselor if there was one. Those options weren’t always good. We had to pretty much learn to deal with things on our own if we couldn’t get help from the people we were supposed to count on. Lord knows I could have used a phone number, a web site and those certain songs when I was growing up.

Today there are so many different ways to get help when you feel like crap, getting treated badly, think of committing suicide. It’s easier to find songs of hope, to make you feel better about yourself and to stand up to the world. To let us know we are not alone and that there is nothing wrong with us. There are different phone numbers to call, blogging about it, talking about things on youtube, it’s all there waiting for us when we need help.

Bullying back then was just at certain times and easier to get away from. People communicated more face to face. Today bullying is everywhere, easier to do and everyone has a potential to be a target. Yesterday we just worried about strangers on the street but today we worry about strangers being just a click away. People are taking more notice about bullies because of the internet but maybe we are not doing enough or not doing the right things.

So many great things happened in my generation and so many good things are out now to make things easier. Easier is not always better though. Life was simpler then but today we have more ways to reach out. Yesterday we did more out door things and noticed more. Today we spend more time indoors, behind a screen even if we are out and with others. Things being developed today to help save lives. Our loved ones yesterday died of things that wouldn’t kill them today. It’s amazing to sit back and really take a look at how much things have changed both for the better and the not so good.


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