List love: things that don’t happen anymore

Since we’ve hit the technological revolution of mobile phones and the Internet has pervaded almost every inch of our lives, there are a few things that we simply no longer need to do. If you were born before 1985, you might remember a few of these activities that have almost been lost in time.

5. Writing letters

When I was in school, I had a pen pal in New Zealand with whom I exchanged many hand-written letters, postcards, photos and little presents. I remember that it was so exciting to find an international airmail envelope in the letterbox, and I would be eager to read all about what music she had been listening to, the boys that she fancied, and the driving holidays she’d had with her family, all in her neat cursive handwriting. Now we just email or Facebook each other, and that charm of a letter just doesn’t really exist anymore.

4. Remembering phone numbers

Long before the age of mobile phones that could store all 300 of our contacts, one had to write down phone numbers in a a quaint little address book or memorise those few key phone numbers. I can still recall the digits of all my school friends’ home numbers as a result of manually punching them into my phone every night. Nowadays it’s a struggle to remember the mobile numbers of even your spouse or parents.

businessman talking on mobile phone

3. Printing photos

Before the instant gratification of digital camera playback and downloading onto computers, you were only able to view your pictures after picking them up from the photo processing shop. You’d get your stack of prints in the paper envelope and flip through them to find the few good shots worth framing. Nowadays we barely even print out our photos, preferring to post them on Facebook and perhaps emailing them to our non-Facebooking parents.

2. Going to the library

When you were a student, or just someone with a bit of curiosity, the library was probably one of your favored hangouts. There were shelves and shelves of knowledge just waiting to be uncovered and plagiarized into assignments and essays. These days there is no subject matter that Google or Wikipedia cannot point you to, all from the comfort of your own home without the need to get out of your pajamas.

1. Making plans in advance

In the days when people only had one telephone and it was the one hanging on their kitchen wall, arranging to meet someone was an exercise in punctuality and precise location planning. You didn’t have a mobile phone to call someone after they had a already left their house – “I got caught up at the hairdressers so I’m actually going to be 15 minutes late!” or “I’m standing at the fountain now – are you outside Burger King or KFC?” or “my kid just suddenly came down with a fever so I’m going to have to cancel!”. These days plans are tentatively made around a estimated time and a vague location, and then one calls the other on their mobiles to determine precise meeting points closer to the time. In today’s world, we should be impressed when the trains run on time.

What other things do you find that you no longer do due to technological advances?

* Image courtesy of stock.xchng


7 thoughts on “List love: things that don’t happen anymore

  1. I am thinking, but honestly can’t come up with anything other then the ones already mentioned. And it makes me smile that others also stumble over that kind of thing. And it really is strange how easily life has been adapted to how things are today, being that we still know a different way of life.

    • I agree! I think we’ve become lazier too as a result. Everything is at our fingertips – not having to leave the house to get photos printed, or send a letter at the post office. I’ve definitely adapted to being lazy….going to the post office is such a chore!

      • Oh yes, without a doubt lazy. Something I discovered today which made me laugh and think of you post.
        Only a very recent thing – but now in our age of smartphones:
        I am having a pay as you go – phone. And I need to top up once a month (at least) to have my internet and e-mail access. I was a bit late this time and they’ve cut it early this morning. Which then left me with having to check my e-mail “manually”. A sigh of annoyance slipped me then I panicked. How are people going to reach me??! There are job applications out there! I expect an answer from this person! Etc. Then I realized who stupid it was to being annoyed or panicked. The phone works, I can be called, I can receive texts and otherwise – well I just have to go into each e-mail account and check. No biggie.

  2. Great post. I still write handwritten letters to my friends.. coincidentally, they live in New Zealand. Even if I know everything from Facebook, it is lovely to receive news in handwriting. There should be more penpals in the world!

    • That’s so cool that you still hand write letters! I love the idea of doing that but I find that I’m so accustomed to typing now that if I have to write more than a paragraph that my hand cramps up!! Do you get that too? I remember at high school and university writing pages and pages of essays and not having a problem!

  3. I still write letters, print photos and go to the library. That’s because I love getting mail (and to receive, one must give), don’t trust myself not to wipe a memory card, and am too cheap to pay for books.

    One thing I really notice is that I stay in touch less because of sites like facebook & twitter. I somehow feel that I know what’s going on in someone’s life simply because they’re tweeting their hangover rather than actually picking up the phone or dropping them an email.

    • I agree! With my close friends I still make a huge effort to keep in touch properly by catching up in person, or phone and emails, but for a lot of the “friend periphery” I definitely think the quality of my relationships have gone down due to the status update nature Facebook!

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