Even though we live in a modern world with technology that our ancestors could only dream of, it’s not always a sign of progress. There are certain areas that we used to excel in, but have since forgotten about or dismissed because of our blind faith in “modernization. An online community looked into these areas and they found 11 aspects of life that our ancestors used to do better over a century ago.
If you think recycling is a modern invention, think again! Over a hundred years ago, people in the Mediterranean region were masters at repurposing broken glass into new items. Similarly, ancient Romans astutely converted their bronze coins into ornaments. They didn’t have disposables like us, but they sure knew the value of recycling. In fact, their recycling game was arguably better than ours, with one knowledgeable forum commenter even noting, “Mainly because they didn’t have disposable things, compost was a fact of life, and people would use things until they absolutely couldn’t.”
2. Repairing Clothes
“Repairing clothes instead of just buying new ones,” recalls someone who must have lived back then. Nowadays, we are more likely to throw a damaged item out, which is shameful behavior. “Fast Fashion is helping ruin the environment faster than we ever imagined,” adds a skeptic.
3. Making Furniture
“I’m still using some tools that my grandpa gave me,” shares a furniture-making hobbyist. He was 94 when he passed last year, and some of these tools belonged to his father. Maybe this is why older furniture was better.
4. Electrical Goods
“My parents’ microwave lasted 34 years,” says a contributor. “I bought them the same style microwave in 2013, and it lasted two years.” Okay, maybe not quite 100 hundred years, but not far off!
5. Learning Social Skills
Sometimes, we Gen-Xers would just call up a friend for the sake of it — just to say hello! Mobile phones became commonplace in the late ’90s, and the dreaded text message came with them. This morphed into social media, and now young people are losing the ability to talk. It is no wonder social and emotional intelligence is declining.
6. Minding Our Own Business!
I read a post recently that decries how his children will never know what it feels like to live in the ’90s — the “apex of Western civilization,” according to the post. The worst thing about living today is people’s shameless curiosity about those with whom they disagree. I believe political polarization is to blame, among other factors.
7. Air Travel
Yes, we can fly to another city for a fraction of what it used to cost. However, when you read the description of Britain’s first commercial flights, it sounds so romantic. Imperial Airways in the U.K. had “short empire flying boats” that would take off from the sea at Southampton and whisk travelers off to the corners of the British Commonwealth.
8. Children’s Playtime
Life before digital technology for children meant they had hours of time on their little hands, hours that needed filling. Boredom was never a problem for kids back then. The community was stronger; kids could play outside with the neighborhood looking out for them. I feel sorry for some children today, especially those living in cities without access to safe outdoor spaces.
9. Writing Letters
Email killed this beautiful art form finally in the early ’90s. However, for many hundreds of years, the letter remained the only way to communicate with anybody. Moreover, letter writing encouraged neat handwriting and improved English skills. Furthermore, the feeling of receiving a handwritten letter was wonderful.
I lived in London for three years, and my favorite aspect of being a Londoner was long walks through historical districts such as Bank, Pimlico, and Southwark. “Comparing things like cathedrals and palaces to the stuff we build today,” agrees another architecture fan. “Modern stuff isn’t even close.”
The ratio of book readers to non-readers is shrinking every year. Reduced attention spans and overwhelming distractions are part of the problem. Moreover, some people believe our reading skills are declining. “It’s surprising how many people can “read” but not understand what a text is saying,” laments one bookworm in the thread.
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