September 19 , 2019 /


As an 82-year-old, I have a perspective on living conditions then and now because how I lived then is different from how I live now. I appreciate the differences.

Then there were no digital devices on which to rely for communication, storage or photos, etc. Now there is a plethora of computers, chips and bytes, etc. which the designers and engineers assured us would make our lives easier and better.  Life is both better and worse now, so take that for what it is.

Then there was no television, only telegraph and telephone.  Then I listened to the radio and read newspapers to discover what was happening both locally and in the larger world.  Now it’s in my face and my ears all the time, unless I choose otherwise,

Then there were no electric cars, no microwave ovens, fast food franchises, big box stores or online shopping.  We shopped in places owned by people whom we knew and who knew us.  Now those shops and grocery stores are gone for the most part. Now appliances, automobiles, smart phones and computers have built in obsolescence. Refrigerators are built to last 10 years, smart phones and computers even less.

Then travel was by car, bus, train and piston airplanes.  Now travel is faster and at any given time there are 3 million people traveling by air around the world and 87,000 flights in the air every day in the United States.   Now cars and trucks clog most urban and suburban highways. And the interstate highway system is under constant construction for replacement and repair.

Then a visit to the doctor was paid most often out of pocket although some early health insurance plans for hospital and medical expense were introduced as early as the1920s. Individual hospitals and employers offered pre-paid plans to help cover the cost of medical expenses starting in 1929.

Now, Medicare, which began in 1965, was designed with the idea that the vast majority of Americans would eventually receive a uniform level of coverage and care once they became eligible. As a recipient I receive a basic level of care, but that basic level is riddled with coverage gaps.  Now it is so complicated, expensive and cumbersome that it’s close to being incomprehensible.

Then I had few concerns about my physical and mental well-being. Now I am more conscious about how to take care of myself and aware of specific ways to do that.

Then I lived in a 2 story, 3 bedroom, 1 bath house with my family of origin, then a 4 bedroom, 2 bath house with my nuclear family. Now I live in a 2 bedroom, 2 bath casita with my wife and no kids. They are scattered coast to coast.

Then I worked full time, loved my work and felt challenged and rewarded.  Now I work part time, love my work and feel challenged and rewarded.

Then I absorbed learning, new adventures and relationships with keen interest and enjoyment.

Now I absorb learning, new adventures and relationships with keen interest and enjoyment.

I am grateful for then and for now as well as knowing that I have changed and not changed.


Comments (2)

  1. Love this! I’m younger than you, but have my share of Thens and Nows. My daughter can’t believe we had one phone line and the phones were attached to the walls. No text, no constant video, and online games were pushing a ball that was more of a dot back and forth. Neither of my children understand that 15 years ago I couldn’t live in one of the most remote towns on earth and blogged and had a business. Appreciate your reflection not only on the differences but also the growth and what continues… the learning, adventures and relationships. I’m so grateful we’ve connected.


    1. We once called it “the generation gap” but I like to think of bridges, not gaps, including the so-called gap year and even wrote a blog about that. As long as we and they and you and they and you and I (that’s 3 generations and my wife has a mother who is 105,106 in Jan 2020 which adds up to 4 generations) keep communication alive and well, we can all learn from each other. As you know I am all about learning, growing and changing, regardless of age. We find common ground and stand together and I am blessed to count you among those standing with me. Take care, best all ways to you and your family.

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