20 Reasons Why ‘The Good Old Days’ Were So Much Better Than Today

Every decade brings a new generation, as well as inevitable changes that we all have to get used to.

While the cultural and societal gaps between older and younger generations can be extremely noticeable, boomers and the remaining silent-gen folks often find themselves perplexed by Gen-Z’s reluctance to believe the following 20 ‘back in my day’ things.

Tech Freedom

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Anyone who was born post-2000 is tech-reliant. There’s no doubt about it. Everything – and we mean everything – is accessible at the click of a button, and older folks have a hard time embracing this, much to the chagrin of younger generations.

Cash Money

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“CASH IS KING,” screams the boomer at the mere mention of a cashless society. Gone are the days when a week’s groceries were paid for with notes and change and larger goods were purchased by way of a check – and older generations can’t let up on their distrust of cash apps and contactless payment cards.

Lack of ‘Wokeness’

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‘Back in the day’ people weren’t quite so PC. An off-mark (or downright bigoted) joke was not only perfectly acceptable in society, but it could be used in advertising. Flyers and billboards from the 1950s would have most millennials and gen-z’ers seething with rage!

Lighting Up Everywhere

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Until the latter part of the 20th century, it was perfectly legal and acceptable to spark up everywhere – and we mean everywhere – including restaurants, offices, movie theatres, waiting rooms, and even airplanes!

Draft Lottery

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Those old enough to remember the Vietnam War will remember the horror of the draft lottery, which saw birthdates being pulled at random and young men being sent off to fight in a war. Refusal to go would result in penalization and being regarded as a disgrace by peers.

Old-School Research

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The internet, for all its flaws and downsides, is a researcher’s haven, and kids will never know the painstaking methods their parents used to extract information. This included going to libraries and spending hours poring over encyclopedias.

TV Guides

African American Streaming And Watching Movie On TV Screen
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A paper TV guide is a staple on any older person’s grocery list, which today’s youth, with their Netflix apps and Prime Video accounts, can’t wrap their heads around. Older folks love nothing more than scouring a TV guide over a nice cup of hot tea.


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While radios still exist, their longevity is of much debate. Once the older generations die out, they may well take their beloved wirelesses with them. Gen-z, etc., is all about the streaming services and podcasts.

Movie Rental Stores

woman in a movie rental store
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Perusing the aisles of your local Blockbuster was the best part of many people’s Friday up until the chain went kaput in 2014. 

Nothing would beat the joy of selecting a new release you’d been waiting months for, grabbing a big bag of popcorn, and throwing in a tub of your favorite ice cream. Kids today will never know how good that was!

The Expression ‘Hang Up the Phone’

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Cell phone-dependent youngsters often use the expression ‘hang up the phone’ without having the faintest idea what it means. 

How can you ‘hang up’ an iPhone 15? Older movies will reveal to them that house phones were often attached to the walls of people’s kitchens. Hence the expression.

Getting Away With Stuff

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Any wrong move or drunken shenanigan today could wind up as a viral video on all the platforms and potentially secure a young person’s red-faced legacy. 

Not for older folk! They could (and did) get up to all manner of antics – without a single shred of evidence!

5 TV Channels

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For the TV-loving kid of today, the idea of a measly 5 channels might seem like some sort of bizarre punishment, but for elder millennials, gen-x, and boomers it was all there was up until the invention of multiple channels in the 1990s. 

And you could guarantee at least 2 of them were dominated by the news.

Cheap Gas

petrol station showing fuel prices
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With the ever-extortionate gas prices of the 21st century, getting around isn’t as cheap as it used to be. 

So much so, that it’s a sore subject for older generations, who all but go into cardiac arrest whenever they hear the latest petrol price inflation.

Lead Paint

lead poisoning
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Skim the lines of any internet debate about how ‘stupid’ boomers are and you’ll likely see the words ‘lead poisoning’ lurking somewhere. Although boomers are, of course, not intrinsically stupid, they did inhale a whole lotta lead paint fumes.

Fast-forward circa 40 years and laws are in place about how much lead can legally be present in paint (0.06%), but back then it was willy-nilly, which was extremely hazardous.

Lack of Childproofing

Baby playing with ball behind safety gates
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Unfortunately, with many things, it takes tragedy to breed innovation.

Most modern homes are childproofed within an inch of their lives to prevent our wee whippersnappers from putting themselves at risk, but back in our grandparents’ heyday, they seemed a little more ‘YOLO’ about these things.

Playing With Fire Hydrants

kids playing with fire hydrant
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We’ve all seen movies or photographs of yester-year’s kids cooling off under the spray of a fire hydrant on a hot summer day, as it was perfectly acceptable to set them off and play in them. 

Nowadays, such an act of vandalism would come with a fine and a slap on the wrist.

Long Walks to School

Teacher taking attendance at school
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There seems to be an unspoken competition between anyone over the age of 50 as to who walked the farthest to school. 

In today’s era, if you expected a kid to walk 6 miles to school in all weather conditions, they’d laugh in your face.

No Safety Belts

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Despite being something of a ‘no-brainer’ item, seat belts in vehicles weren’t made mandatory in the US until 1968, meaning many of today’s boomers were flying about all over the place in their parent’s car, as well as being at serious risk in the event of a collision.

Agreeing Over Bodily Fluids

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Perhaps we should elaborate more. Back in the day, kids would agree on things or swear to lifelong friendship over blood or saliva. 

Sound disgusting? Well, it was, but that didn’t stop boomer kids from becoming ‘blood brothers’ by cutting their hands and shaking or spitting into their palms to seal an agreement. Some traditions are best left in the past….

Drinking Hose Water

man drinking from hose
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People weren’t fussy when it came to keeping hydrated in older folks’ eras. Filters, bottled water, and SodaStreams were yet to be invented, so a quick nip from the hose was a great way to top up the H20 levels on a hot day.

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