“Going To The Movies Used To Be Simple And Spontaneous”: Older Adults Share Little But Meaningful Things That Modern Technology Has Made Obsolete, And It’s Pretty Poignant

Though it's true that modern-day technology has made life easier in many, many ways, there's no denying the special experiences that were forged from having the not-so-advanced gadgets and gizmos. Recently, the BuzzFeed Community reminisced over the small yet impactful moments younger generations might not be able to experience anymore thanks to modern technology. Here are some of the things people shared that, depending on your age, will have you feeling nostalgic or awestruck:

1."Going to the movies! I mean, we have some really nice theaters and amenities nowadays, but younger folks don't know how simple and spontaneous it used to be. To find out what was playing at what times, we either had to read the newspaper, call the theater, or just show up to the theater and see what was on."

People are in line to purchase tickets for the movie "JAWS"
Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

2."I miss people not expecting you to be available all the time. I kind of feel bad for the younger folks, because now that almost everyone has a smartphone, people expect you to be available at all times — whenever and wherever."


3."When I was 6 years old, I used to put my dolls in my stroller and take them for a walk around the block by myself — without an adult. This was in the '90s. Nowadays, kids can't go off on their own like that."

A little girl has two dolls in a stroller
Westend61 / Getty Images/Westend61

4."Flip phones were soo satisfying to slam shut after a particularly frustrating and infuriating phone call. The snap of metal against metal was ~delicious~ and cathartic."

A flip phone is being displayed
Koichi Kamoshida / Getty Images

5."I kind of miss entertainment being more 'rare.' You'd maybe see a movie or TV show once or twice, and that's what made it so fun to watch. Even with shows that had a specific time slot, you'd actually have to tune in instead of just getting to watch whenever. It made things seem more special, and I appreciated it more."


6."I remember coming home from school and hearing my dad blasting music from halfway up the street. Those heavy and bulky stereos from back in the day were no joke — the sound quality was absolutely incredible, and often, it would be used for communal listening. There was something so special about having to lug around a gigantic boombox."

Two men are walking down the street holding a boom box
Paul Harris / Getty Images

7."As someone who was bullied terribly in high school, I find that modern technology erased the 'knowing' that it was over at the end of the day. When I left school, I left the bullies there, too. Now, with kids on their phones every second of the day, it never stops. You don't get to 'leave the bullies at school.' They follow you home and bombard you online. I don't think I would have survived high school if I couldn't get away from those kids."


8."Cars used to be smaller and slower. It seems like walking, cycling, and crossing the street was a lot safer back in the day, and you didn't have to be so vigilant."


9."Paper maps. Don't get me wrong, I love GPS when I'm the one driving, but I always did think it was so fun and whimsical as a passenger being able to follow the route on a paper map while on a roadtrip."

A couple is pointing to a destination on a map
Chirayu / Getty Images

10."I grew up in Michigan, so we had snow days often. In the mornings before school, I'd sit right by the TV, bundled up in blankets, waiting to see if school was closed. God, that feeling was the best! Nowadays, notices are sent through email."

Three kids are enjoying a day in the snow
Jocelyn Michel / Getty Images/fStop

11."Going to Disneyland on a whim. Back then, you'd just show up whenever, go to the ticket booth, buy your pass, and go in. Disneyland wasn't super cheap, but at least the prices weren't so expensive it felt like you had to mortgage your house. There also used to be a lot more cast members and characters walking around, and they had a lot more freedom to be interactive. Now, there are all these different passes and tiers, and you have to book in advance."

Snow White and Grumpy characters at Disneyland are walking through the park
Dean Conger / Corbis via Getty Images

12."I miss having proper storm days. Where I live, they don't even let kids stay home and not do schoolwork during extreme storm days. The school was closed, but my kids were directed to just switch to online learning like how it was during the pandemic. I ended up just emailing the school from my phone and telling them our internet went out so that the kids and I could have a real storm day. Having those were some of my favorite memories growing up, and I wanted to share that with my kiddos and have them experience the same thing."


13."Camping out to get concert tickets was so much fun — so fun, it was almost ridiculous. We would call and order pizza from a pay phone, and the pizza delivery people would drive around just waiting to be flagged down by one of the campers."

A long line of people are waiting to purchase Rolling Stones tickets
Doug Griffin / Toronto Star via Getty Images

14."Analog controls in cars were awesome. I think digital in cars can be done well, but it often isn't. When my car is in reverse, I can't change the radio station or touch the AC because the entire touch screen shows the back-up camera. That's so dumb."


15."Gen X'er here. I remember when we had to dial '0' to get a phone operator on a line to help place collect calls. It used to be such a big deal back then!"


16."Not knowing what songs were playing was actually pretty fun. I was born in the '90s, but I still taped songs off the radio for a while. If I heard a song I absolutely loved, I'd wait for the DJ to say what it was and who sung it. When the DJ didn't, I'd wait days until they played it again. I'd tape the song, then play it for my older brother so that he could tell me what it was. (Fun fact: One of the songs was 'Take On Me.')"

A teenage girl is on her landline phone
Jena Ardell / Getty Images

17."Checking your answering machine when you got home. It just so unexpected because you didn't know whose call you missed, or who it could be leaving you a message."


18."Cities used to have a lot more open space, and places weren't saturated with all these franchises and other big businesses. You could just pack all your friends in the car and drive around, and you didn't have to worry about having to pay for anything to just hang out."

Two teenage girls are sitting in the back of a car eating snacks
Jena Ardell / Getty Images

19."I really do miss the older days sometimes. You had more time to just sit and listen to those around you, especially to older folks. Nowadays, everything moves so fast, people have short attention spans, and it's all about how productive you can be and how much money you can make. It's a fast-paced world now, and sometimes it sucks."


20.Lastly: "One time, a younger person asked me what we used to do back in the day, before we had cellphones and video games. I just told them, 'Nothing. Sometimes we just sat and did nothing.' And it's true. Sometimes we would walk around together, other times we would ride our bikes. We'd find rocks to sit on and talk, and sometimes we just wandered. Back then, it was okay to just be bored. I feel like now, so many people expect to be entertained all the time. It seems like modern technology has literally changed the way we think."

Two friends are sitting on a park bench, talking
Johner Images / Getty Images/Johner RF

I personally find it disheartening that teens these days will never be able to experience MySpace or 2010s Tumblr. What are some things or experiences you sometimes find yourself missing before technology took over? Let me know in the comments!

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and clarity, and some are from this Reddit thread because points were certainly made.