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How to Tell if You are Over 30

Updated on May 9, 2009

I Started Getting Old Today...

 It’s official ….I am now old. I don’t know how it happened but I do know when it did. It was just the other day.  My oldest, returned to the nest, child was complaining about the fact I kept kicking her off my computer even though she has her own laptop.  After letting her know that I would love to be able to have a laptop but couldn’t currently afford it – I got to thinking about what she’d have to deal with if she had lived during the time I was her age.

The Pre Computer Era

No computers – Atari and Apple were just beginning. There were no routers, modems, graphic cards, DSL, gui interface, - What you saw on the TV screen is what you got! Cheats and hacking hadn’t even been thought of, let alone the fact that the Internet did not exist.

No Cable TV – we had three channels and you got up to change the channel. Cartoons were ONLY on Saturday morning – the horror of having to wait a full week! You waited until Sunday night for Walt Disney and Wild Kingdom.

Seeing a movie meant going to the theater. You paid to get in, to get snacks and usually paid for your buddy who was a little bit short of cash. You only got to see it once and then it was gone. No waiting for the DVD. Maybe if it was popular enough it came out on VHS or Beta.

You favorite song was either on a record or the local radio station. If you wanted to copy it – No Napster! Get out the cassette player and hope the DJ doesn’t talk over the beginning or cut off the end. Forget about playing it in your car. 8 track tape decks is what you had and glad of it!


Phones- you had one phone – no caller ID, no call waiting, forwarding or automatic answering machine. In fact, real people still answered phones and if it was busy – too damn bad! Call back later.

You want a picture? Get out the camera, wind the film, take the picture, fill the roll, take it to be developed and hope to heaven the light was good, no one closed their eyes etc.. If you were real lucky you had a Polaroid Instamatic. But keep the fingerprints off of it!

No email, texting or twittering. Get out paper, pencil envelope and a stamp. Write an actual letter and walk to the mailbox to send it. Stamps cost maybe 10 cents.

You waited all week for the Sunday paper. You clipped your coupons, read the funnies and did the crossword. No looking up bargains online! No Dilbert dailies or cheating on the last few words.

Going to School

Schoolwork was still done on pencil and paper – not a computer with mom & dad’s help. You actually got up, went to the library, looked up what you wanted in a card catalog and checked out the book. Then you actually read the darn thing! Cliff notes and Google were not an option!

You actually had to go a full week to school. No teacher’s institutes, state holidays, parent teacher conference days, etc. State wide testing was only every couple of years. You actually had homework and were expected to return it or flunk!

Just Being a Kid

Child protective services didn’t care if you got a spanking, grounded from the park, or went without supper for a nite. In fact, the neighbors had permission to snatch your lil butt up if they caught you getting into trouble. It was a conspiracy of adults!

No microwaves- we used a gas stove – not even electric! No microwave popcorn, or quickly heating up leftover pizza, and other quickie snacks.

Need to get someplace? Ride the bus, ride your bike or use your feet. There was usually only one car and it was at work with your dad.

Listen to Your Elders

As I enumerated a few of these points to my lil darlings, I had a hard time keeping a straight face; the looks of confusion, horror and embarrassment were evident in their expressions.

I’m still trying to decide whether it was because they really understood that their lives are filled with wondrous and time saving things; or if they also realized, like I did, that oldness has crept into my thinking.

I’m going with the former. I AM NOT old!!! Just well seasoned! Now I have to go finish writing that letter to my mother…. if I can get them off the computer long enough to print it out!


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    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 6 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      This is a great hub. I am virtually a dinosaur who remembers the "olden" days of television which went off before dawn and having to get up to change the channels. I also remember 45s and old fashioned record players. I also remember watching television shows such as I LOVE LUCY, MY LITTLE MARGIE, and OZZIE AND HARRIET as a child. Oh well, I am old, old, old!

      I also remember Palisades Amusement Park in New Jersey and Freedomland in the upper part of the Bronx, New York before it became Coop City. I also remember Klein's Department Store on 14th Street in New York City. To conclude, I remember when subway rides were a dime.

    • The Old Firm profile image

      The Old Firm 8 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Yup ag, party lines, and one speed bicycles. Men's magazines where nudes were only back-on and showing a nipple was naughty.

      Dress codes Charlie and Nanny J.: We got in the crap at intermediate and high for not wearing caps or not having our socks pulled up. barefoot was definitely out. A whole generation now faces varicose veins because of those homemade elastic rings we had to wear to keep those damn' socks from slipping down.

      I was a teenager before the local city (about 50 miles away give or take) got it's first hamburger bar. And hey, I'm still a student!

      Cheers, TOF

    • profile image

      Cuz Tom 8 years ago

      Age is but a mile marker on the road of life.

    • Nanny J.O.A.T. profile image

      Nanny J.O.A.T. 9 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow

      I can still remember DOS and at least then you could learn computer language relatively easy - not like today - it's like the tower of babel!! Just remember age is an idea not a number!! I have convinced myself that I shall be eighteen forever!!!

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 9 years ago from Canada

      Oh, my but this brings back memories...except mine go even further back - perhaps it's just because my parents talked about their lives so much? No? Ok, darnit, I'm old, too...but I do remember learning to program on a mainframe that was pre wysiwyg (DOS was still king)

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 9 years ago from Australia

      Yeah I can remember when....... hmmm now what was that I could remember.

      I worked for a telephone company and used to go around repairing telephones that you had to crank the handle to ring the exchange.

      Fair dinkum !

    • Nanny J.O.A.T. profile image

      Nanny J.O.A.T. 9 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow

      I grew up in a major metropolis and I can still remember playing in the street until the street lights came on - running the neighborhood with all the kids in a pack and ice cream trucks that came every afternoon and we all lined up for our treats.

      I remember dress codes since I went to a catholic school - Jump rope songs and dodgeball wasn't banned but part of PE.

      We took the public bus to the public pool and never worried about perverts and kidnapping, we could go to the libraries, the museums and anywhere else on the bus for 10 cents and our parents could let us.

      I really miss those days....

      Thanks for all the reminders - keep em coming!

    • profile image

      C. C. Riter 9 years ago

      Oh those days. I remember them well. Remember party lines? ha Real Truant Officers? Dress codes? And paddles too, at home and school. Gum stck on yer nose cooties too. haha Oh my. And out houses in town yet. Then there was the proverbial wood shed which was real in my life. thanks for the memories

    • megs78 profile image

      megs78 9 years ago from quebec

      soooo true! Loved reading this, made me smile! thanks

    • Amy M profile image

      Amy M 9 years ago from Manzano Mountains

      Oh, the good old days. Life was simple then. I still have a gas stove. Thank God for the seasoned people. If the computer world ever crashes,and the lights go down we will rule.

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 9 years ago

      Ahh...nostalgia! Those were the days indeed! And hey, we're still using gas stoves in India! As for phones, I remember a time when there was a waiting list to get a phone connection from the one government owned phone company there was - how things have changed - people now have more phones than they can answer!


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