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upworthy

world before events

Casette tapes, film cameras and landlines were a big part of the pre-2000 world.

There have been a few momentous changes since the dawn of the new millennium, creating an invisible line between those born before and after. The big events that forever changed culture are the creation of the smartphone, dawn of social media and terror attacks on 9/11.

People who were born in 1999 or later have, for the most part, lived in a world where they were either too young to know what life was like before these events or weren’t born yet.

That’s not to say that one era is better or worse. But, when an entire generation has no idea what it is like to go through a day without being connected to the internet, we’re bound to eventually lose any understanding of living IRL 24/7.


Those of us who haven’t lived in a world without intense security while traveling will be less inclined to return to a time when it was easier to move through the world without fear. People who live in a time where everything is available on demand have no idea how much they should appreciate the convenience. Back in the day, if you missed a show, you may not ever have a chance to see it again in your entire life.

A Reddit user named Haunting_Ad_1224 posed a question to the AskReddit forum that got a lot of Gen Xers and older generations, nostalgic for the days before Y2K. They asked the forum, “What's something that people under 25 will never understand?” and received nearly 2,000 responses. The commenters talked a lot about the benefits of being able to disconnect while also sharing their nostalgia for the days of landlines and cassette tapes.

Here are 15 things that people under 25 will never understand.

1. Taping songs off the radio

"Waiting for a song to come on the radio so you can tape it but completely forgetting until it comes on then making a mad dash to the radio." — Collieman 1123

"Or having the dj talk over the intro." — HorselRockit

2. The Time Lady

"Calling from a landline to get the current time." — Surround726

3. Calling for movie times

"Calling your local theater for show times." — Andushan

"Moviefone and a notepad and pencil." — PerpetualGazebo

"Or checking the newspaper for show times." — ieatboys999

4. Talking to parents

"Calling your friend’s house on the landline and making small talk with their parents when they were the ones who answered until your friend got to the phone." — McVinney512

"Calling a girl you have a crush on but her mom answers and you have a 20-minute conversation because she sounds just like said girl until you say something embarrassing and she realizes she is not talking to her brother." — GlyohedArchitect

5. Life before the internet

"I'm as addicted to my phone as the typical teenager, but I'm old enough to remember when I'd get off work at the end of the day and there was no expectation that I was reachable until I came back to work the following day. Good times, didn't appreciate it enough back then." — Moshethemean

"The idea that being asleep, having dinner, or watching a show was a perfectly good reason why no one answered the phone." — Reavenas

6. Privacy

"Privacy is rapidly going away. But the root cause is people not valuing it. If you told people in the '70s that people 50 years later would be happy to have open mics to multiple corporate headquarters in their living rooms they would freak out. There's no way you could convince someone from the '70s that people would actually want that and not value their privacy in any substantive manner. I can barely understand it myself." — Dcnblues

7. Boredom

"Went to use the bathroom the other day while my phone was charging, resorted back to the old days, and read the stuff on shampoo bottles." — Hairyemmie

8. Dial-up internet tone

"Trying to sneak online with dial-up when you're supposed to be asleep. There was no muting those dial-up tones." — XxVerdantFlamesX

9. Film cameras

"Taking pictures, then waiting for them to be developed to see if they turned out okay. YEAH, I am really old lol." — Ranjoko

"… resulting in a few dozen cherished memories you will keep as treasures in a box or on a wall. Not thousands of no-effort shots in the cloud no-one will ever look at except perhaps AI image scanners." — Moose2342

10. Life before 9/11

"You ever see movies where family or a friend is at the gate waiting for someone to get off the plane to hug them? Yeah that. ... People could often even accompany you on the airplane to see you off, and then they'd leave the plane before departure." — -DementedAvenger-

11. Being a free kid

"Being kicked out of the house for the day during the summer and riding your bicycles around town and buying candy with the 50 cents you have to your name. No phones, no tablets, just finding your friends at the or whatever. Having that become the best day ever." — CapricornMonk

12. Commercial breaks

"The mad dash to go to the bathroom or heat up food before the commercials ended and your show came back on." — Leokina114

"Alternatively, painstakingly programming the clock on your vcr, and setting it up to record the show on a blank tape." — Griffin Flash

13. The power of channel 3

"Using channel 3 as the source to play video games or use the VCR." — Substantial-Cream-93

"Also, when the reception went out, we had to go up to the attic to fiddle with the antenna. TV static is also different - went from fuzzy white noise to digital blips. We watched so many shows through static but when the pixels blip it's gone. Also now it seems we lose service way more often than when TV wasn't all digital." — Shewholaughslasts

14. Aging

"How quickly they will become 50." — Icy_Newspaper3739

"This is no joke. There’s a saying that the days are long but the years are short. Perhaps the most accurate phrases ever uttered." — Junior-Gorg

15. Disappearing

"Being able to just 'disappear' for a while. Before cell phones, there was a time when people couldn’t get ahold of you at all times for any reason." — Yikester

"This is something I love about flying, there's no way to contact me since I've never paid for WiFi. No calls, emails, Whatsapp, can't mindlessly scroll Reddit or watch YouTube, just completely disconnected." — Dr-Kipper