April 23, 2023

I'm That Many Years Old

I saw a post from Bored Panda today that had 50 memes about the Generation X-era and feeling old. I could relate to ALL of it! Having been born in 1982, I was right on the border of Gen X and Millennial. Some call it "Generation Xennial"--when born between 1977 and 1983. I definitely relate more to the Gen X characteristics than I do the Millennials.

Anyway, reading through those memes had me nodding my head, laughing, and saying "YESSSS" out loud more times than I can count. I won't post all the memes here (you can find them on this post at Bored Panda) but I thought I would write a little about a few of them that spoke to me...

• The card catalogue at the library. Not that long ago, I was in the library looking for a book and I asked the librarian if they had it. She pointed toward the back of the library and said I could check the card catalogue. (The library isn't very big and it's all on one floor.) I walked around where she'd told me, but I couldn't, for the life of me, find the card catalogue. I was too embarrassed to ask, because duh--a card catalogue is huge and how could I miss it? I never did find it! And I later learned that the "card catalogue" is now a computer. Why does this intimidate me but I would feel totally comfortable using an actual card catalogue?

• My kids have reminded me on more than one occasion that I was born in the 1900s.

• I used to have probably 20 phone numbers memorized when I was a teenager. (Interestingly--or not--I still remember the phone numbers of several childhood friends... and I don't even know the numbers of my kids' phones!)

• My brain automatically adjusts years to relate to the year 2000--I don't know why. If something was 20 years ago, I think 1980. The 1960s were 40 years ago. The 1990s were only 10 years ago. I absolutely cannot wrap my brain around the fact that 1982 (my birth year) is as far removed from today as the year 1941.

• The year I was born is when eight-tracks were phased out and replaced by cassette tapes. I've seen it go from cassettes to CD's to MP3's. I can still remember using blank cassette tapes to record my favorite songs from the radio. And on not one, but TWO occasions, someone broke into my car and stole the entire collection of my CD's (which I kept in a book).

• One of the memes is an elderly woman who said that the "internet used to come through the phone and it sounded like screaming robots". I can still remember EXACTLY what the dial up modem sounded like. And how frustrating it was when someone picked up the phone and it disconnected the internet! I can't remember when the last time I had to use dial up was, but a quick google search leads me to believe it was right around the time I started college in 2000.

• When my kids' school is canceled for something like a snow day, we get an e-mail, a text message, and a phone call at 5:00 in the morning or so. When I was younger, we had to sit and watch the bottom of the TV screen on the morning news to see if our school was closed. Likewise, we had to watch the TV Guide channel scroll through like 100 channels in order to see what was on. Or we had to look at the printed out TV guide. When you realized you missed the channel you were waiting for, it was the WORST.

• Being a huge Friends fan, my jaw dropped when I read a tweet that said the actors on Friends are now younger than the youngest "Golden Girl" was when that series started. 

• I really love the subreddit r/WhatIsThis. I nearly died when I saw that someone posted a picture of a phone jack on the wall and asked what it was. I feel a million years old after seeing that!

• Watching shows on TV and learning that the character is 30-something years old. It's crazy to me that I'm older than them! When I look at them, I think of them as being at least 15 years older than I. It's the same with sports--Jerry has the Tigers game on right now and the players are SO YOUNG. In my mind, they are still a couple of decades older than I.

• I can remember my sister used to play "travel agent" to plan trips when she was a teenager. She would take out a paper map, a phone book (yes, a book with thousands of phone numbers--they used to exist!), a notepad (actual paper), and the phone (that was connected to the wall, obviously). She would lie on the floor, call Northwest Airlines (now called Delta) and ask about destinations, ticket costs, and schedules. This is HOW IT WAS DONE before the internet! I was too young to plan my own trips, so I only remember booking travel online. But I can't imagine the patience you would need to be a ticket agent for an airline.

• When I was a kid, we used to ride in the back of my dad's pickup truck all the time and nobody batted an eye. I'm pretty sure social services would come knocking if we did that now.

• Whenever I would go to the Henry Ford Museum for my kids' field trips (I don't know why every teacher chose to go there once a year--I could probably give tours myself now!), I thought it was so interesting that several things I remembered from my childhood were on display IN A MUSEUM. The computers we used, the phones we had, toys we played with--it was only 20 years ago, you know--1980 can't be museum worthy, right? ;) 

• When I try to sell my kids on a movie, they don't know who the most popular actors are--you know, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Robin Williams, Nicolas Cage, Drew Barrymore, Matt Damon, Cameron Diaz, Kevin Bacon, Leonardo DiCaprio... my kids look lost when I drop names! And I honestly have NO idea who the popular actors--or celebrities in general--are these days. To me, they are still the names I listed above.

And finally... there is a thread on Reddit: "My old person trait is..." and people list things that they wish were like "the olden days". A few of my "old person traits" are:

*Missing the days when you didn't need an app to order food. I tried to get Taco Bell for Noah and Eli one day recently and I couldn't figure out the goddamn app! I finally just gave up and left. I also really don't like that you have to use a kiosk to order food at places like Panera. It takes so much longer than just actually speaking an order to an employee. I don't eat out, so I'm sure I'm further behind than most people.

*I miss the written/typed instructions for things--something like a board game (now you have to visit their YouTube videos to learn how to play). I *really* dislike videos for instructions--I much prefer to read a manual or even a website. I tried to troubleshoot my sewing machine a few days ago and every google search led me to nothing but YouTube videos. (YouTube was very helpful when I was DIY'ing the house renovation, but I still much prefer written instructions.)

*I REALLY miss the internet pre-social media. For a million reasons. And I do realize it's ironic, considering I'm a blogger.


*I refuse to use "the cloud" to save anything. I realize that my hard drive could fail at any moment and I could possibly lose 50,000 photos, but I just can't bring myself to save photos to... where? Outer space? (I do have a couple of back-up hard drives just in case one fails. I just hope I don't have to give up the hard drives someday when technology is too far gone for me.

I constantly find myself doing or saying things I *never* thought I would. Jerry and I always thought we would be the cool parents who kept up with modern times and never ask our kids for help using technology. But my kids have said that we are "five years ago cool"--hahahaha! And I've certainly asked for help with tech stuff.

But hey--what do I know? I was born in the 1900s. ;)


  1. Too funny. Oh and you had Beagles!! They are the best.

  2. Oh wow. I was born in 1961, tail end of the Boomers, and relate to most of these! Also, if it helps, remember that "the cloud" is just someone else's computer in a different location. And that their job is to keep the data on their computer safe. That's their expertise. You and a gazillion other people are paying them to keep that company (the one with the other computer) to keep that data very very very very safe because they don't want to get sued. When I realized that "the cloud" (someone else's computer) was probably much more safe than my own, I bought an automatic backup service. So now, my gazillion photos are on my own hard drive AND someone else's computer. It's not like printing your dissertation and putting it in the freezer (yes - I'm that many years old) but having duplicates of all those photos helps me sleep at night.

  3. This is funny because my husband was born in 1982 and is squarely Gen X, but I was born in 1984 and am totally Xennial/Millenial. He does not communicate through memes/gifs AT ALL ;)

  4. With my (fairly basic) knowledge, I think I can make you feel better about the cloud! It's not really outer space - it's really just another computer out there somewhere. As an example, if you upload a photo to Facebook, it's going to be stored somewhere on Facebook's server. If you uploaded your files/photos to another cloud service (like iCloud or Dropbox), they would be stored on the servers run by those companies. It's perfectly fine to have backups on your own external hard drives as an alternative. If you want to be extra safe, you could store at least one of the hard drives at a family member's house, just in case something ever happened to your own copies (like fire or water damage).

  5. That's just depressing about Friends!


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