View Full Version : 7 Ways life was better 40 years ago

Randy Harris
08-29-2018, 06:02 AM

Seven Ways Life Was Better 40 Years Ago

https://static.pjmedia.com/lifestyle/user-content/36/files/2016/01/jeff-sanders.sized-50x50xf.jpg BY JEFF SANDERS (https://pjmedia.com/columnist/jeff-sanders/) AUGUST 24, 2018
CHAT COMMENTS (https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/7-ways-life-was-better-40-years-ago/?utm_source=PJMCoffeeBreak&utm_medium=email&utm_term=August2018#comments)

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Before you start calling me a crotchety old codger, I am going to follow up this article with another one listing seven things that are better now than they were all those years ago. I've been thinking for some time about how my world has changed so dramatically. I have many fond memories of the place where I grew up (Savannah, Georgia), and here is my take on how life was better (in some ways) when I was kid ... way back then.
1. Kids played outside

When was the last time you saw a bunch of kids playing outside? Maybe you have; I haven't seen that in ages. When was the last time you saw kids play a pickup game of baseball or football? I haven't seen that in years.
6 Lessons on Raising Boys to Become Men (https://pjmedia.com/parenting/2017/03/12/6-lessons-on-raising-boys-to-become-men/)

Some of my favorite memories are getting all the neighborhood kids together and playing two-hand touch football, or even tackle football (without any protective equipment). Yeah, that was dangerous, but man was it fun! Nobody went to the hospital, thank God. I think moms were tougher back then because I know our moms would tell us, "don't come inside unless you're bleeding or on fire." And nobody would go inside until the street lights came on.
I could get on my bike and ride for miles, or go exploring in the woods near the marsh (hunting for snakes and lizards and turtles, oh my!) and no one would bother us. We were completely safe. Those were the days.

2. Education was better

In the 1970s, I was actually taught phonics as a separate class in my school, from the second to the fifth grade. In the 1990s, Bill Clinton said a goal of his Department of Education was that every child would be able to read by the fourth grade. Heck, everyone in my school could read at the end of the first grade! (Do they even teach phonics anymore? It probably went the way of cursive handwriting, I suppose.)
When I was in the fourth grade, every boy and girl knew the names of every major leader in the American Civil War, when the war took place, what colors each side wore, and the names of the major battles. Most of the high school students I've talked to recently don't know any of that information.
We actually learned American history... crazy stuff like the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. We read classical literature (I think that is still taught), and I remember in my public high school we had as electives two Bible classes (Old Testament and New Testament) as English literature. Those classes were two of the most popular classes in my public high school.
There was no political correctness. You could pray (shock! horror!). We had Christmas trees and menorahs... and no one was offended! We had Christmas concerts and Easter break! Again, no one was offended (and yes, we had people of other faiths... they acted like adults and were not offended).
Before I graduated, we had a baccalaureate service that was entirely voluntary and it met in the school cafeteria. A local pastor gave the speech and we all prayed. No one was harmed in the making of that service.
Four Ways Parents Can 'Fill in the Blanks' When Schools Fail to Teach History (https://pjmedia.com/parenting/2017/06/16/four-ways-parents-can-fill-in-the-blanks-when-schools-fail-to-teach-history/)

Here is a great video poking fun at the political correctness that has overtaken modern education:

We had no school massacres, although there were students who brought their shotguns to school, loaded up in the gun racks of their pickup trucks. What changed?
When I was in college, I minored in political science. We debated all sorts of things... politely! Sure, it was vigorous debate, but as adults, we could handle people who disagreed with us. No big deal. Today, however, if you are not politically correct, you are not only shunned, you might even be expelled. Or you might be physically harassed right out of the school.
Just look at how the "tolerant," "diverse," multicultural mob handles really mean people like Ben Shapiro, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Ann Coulter. Their very lives were threatened, and all they wanted to do was talk!

3. Our health was better (almost)

This one could go both ways. In some ways, our health options have improved vastly over the years, but in this article, I am specifically talking about obesity. My wife and I often comment on this. When we were kids, there was usually just one overweight boy and one overweight girl in our class. How about today? Today, try to find kids who are NOT overweight. Our nation certainly has a childhood obesity problem. Our adult population is drowning in obesity as well.
Whenever you go to the grocery store or the department store, count the number of people you see under the age of 50 scooting around on one of those scooters... and not because they have a broken leg. I am amazed every time I see two or three or four people far younger than me (I am 56) scooting around because they are so obese. It is sad. It's tragic. Something has changed in our diet and lifestyle... and it's not good.
5 Ways You Can Keep Your Kids From Getting Fat (https://pjmedia.com/parenting/2017/06/08/5-ways-you-can-keep-your-kids-from-getting-fat/)

4. Sports were not politicized

I used to be an NFL junkie. I was an Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins fan forever (I actually met Don Shula when I was a kid!). I met my wife and was forced to "convert" to being a Cleveland Browns fan (I know, I know... it hurt to cheer for the Browns).
I cannot watch professional sports anymore. It seems to me that all of it has become politicized. From the players who are taking a knee during the national anthem to whatever the latest "star" thinks about the latest president to the gay football player or the gay cheerleader... I am just really turned off by all of this infecting something that used to be an escape for millions of Americans. Can't we just watch a ball game without politics being injected into EVERYTHING?

5. People dressed better

I'm sure I'll get some hate mail on this one. I clearly remember going to the grocery store or the mall in the 1970s and seeing people take some pride in how they dressed. Yes, I know the 70s were known for some disgusting fashions like leisure suits, platform shoes, and bell bottoms. But we still took pride in good grooming and wearing clean clothes.
Is it just me? Every time I go to a certain department store these days I am treated to people wearing their pants down to their knees, or wearing pajamas that are falling down. I am really sick of seeing people's butt cracks, folks. I also do not want to see people's bellies hanging out. If you want tattoos and piercings everywhere, fine, go for it. But I see people who apparently have enough money for gobs of tattoos and an armory of metal going through their face, but not enough money for a belt to pull up their pants.
Can we bring good taste and pride in our grooming back? I'm all for it! Here are a couple of good videos from some gentlemen who are trying to bring it back:

Vanishing Social Skills We Need to Bring Back (https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/vanishing-social-skills-we-need-to-bring-back/)

6. We had a better work ethic

To be honest, I don't have any statistical data to back this up. All I have are personal stories from employers I talk to on a regular basis. I am a chaplain for a food service company and a steel galvanizing plant and I also talk to plenty of employers in other businesses, and they all say the same thing: it is amazing how people (especially young people under the age of 40) simply quit on the job without any warning.
Time and time again I hear the same story about a young person who does not give two weeks' notice before they move on to another job. They simply quit! Many times they give no notice they don't even show up! I was stunned when I heard this!
My father and mother would have killed me if I ever did such a thing. They drilled it into my head that I was to do my job and half of someone else's. I was to make myself indispensable! If I had to quit, I was to give my employer two weeks' notice. Sadly, from what I hear, this has not been taught to recent generations.

7. We had fewer distractions

We had a television set with three channels. That's it. If you got to see the show, great. If not, you'd have to wait for the reruns later in the year. I know, we have much greater variety in our media these days, and that can be a great blessing (especially when it comes to getting alternative sources of news).
However, I think these days we live in a "distracted age." My cell phone is constantly going off. Sales calls, messages that can wait, alarms. We have 24/7 cable news that tries to hook us on the latest crisis (the crisis usually lasts only 72 hours). We have texting (which some of us think we can do while we drive), Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and video games even on our phones to vie for our attention. Our cell phones practically run our lives, it seems, and they track us wherever we go.
Can't we just go someplace without our phone? Can't we go a whole day or week without Facebook? Can't we wait to answer that text until we have parked the car?
I remember a world in which the phone and TV set did not dominate us. I try to set limits today on how much modern media and technology dominate me today I often silence my phone or even drive around without one on me. My world, for just a short period of time, is much more tranquil. I am able to focus better and I am reminded of a world I used to know, some forty years ago.
Is It Time to Pull Your Child Out of Public School? 5 Problems With the Schools to Consider (https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/time-pull-child-public-school-5-problems-schools-consider/)

Randy Harris
08-29-2018, 06:03 AM
Saw that article this morning and thought I'd share it. For our more seasoned warriors who were around 40 years ago what do you think?

08-29-2018, 06:15 AM

chad newton
08-29-2018, 07:23 AM
My house is in Coweta county and I’m telling you, nowbody goes outside there. :)

08-29-2018, 07:54 AM
Not sure about the work ethic. I feel like people are putting in the hours, at least in the professional occupations. And considering the corporate penchant for layoffs, outsourcing and offshoring, maintaining loyalty to a company seems silly. Better to be a pirate. Maintain your skills, and go where you're most wanted. I'd still give two weeks' notice, of course. It's the polite thing to do. You might want to work with those guys again.

08-29-2018, 08:15 AM
The world is a different place these days. In many ways the old ways things went don't apply.

Brent Yamamoto
08-29-2018, 08:25 AM
Some things were better then. Some things are better now.

I will say that I'm happy I grew up the way I did, and I feel bad for kids that don't have the same opportunities today. But, it has always been so...we're not all equally blessed.

Taken altogether, I don't know that you can say it was better then or better now. It's just different. And in the final analysis, what difference does it make? The world is what it is, and you should be doing your damndest to make your piece of it as excellent as possible.

Gabriel Suarez
08-29-2018, 08:37 AM
Well..I was 18 40 years ago. That was 1978.

I didn't play outside, I chased girls...but ten years earlier..I did the same that my own kids did...play outside when the wearher was good and watched TV when it wasn't. And when TV was boring, I read books. My kids did the same because they were not raised by the state, I paid them to read the books I chose for them and was not reliant on anyone else telling them "the truth" at school...like my over worked parents did. That is something that anyone can do at any age.

My own kids have had opportunities that I did not have 40 and 50 years ago. They are learning sciences that did not exist and as a result, will make in their first year on the job, what took me ten years to earn. Education wasn;t better back then, it was limited. They still taught selective history rather than true history. I learned that the civil war was fought to free slaves...fifty years ago...not the real reasons my kids learned. Education in some areas is more politicized today, but not in others. Today there are choices for the slackers and losers that were not available 40 years ago.

Forty years ago we knew nothing about diet and the importance of exercise. And there were plenty of fat people around. A man of sixty would have been sitting in the park serenely enjoying a game of checkers in the Codger League rather than at the gym working on his abs. A man of seventy would have been speaking with funeral directors rather than asking his doc to increase the testosterone dosage in his next shot. People died from things that are outpatient surgeries today. The slothful, slovenly, and gluttonous have always been around.

Sports have always been politicized. Have we forgotten Smith and Carlos' raised fist salute at the 1968 Olympics? What we have today is a media method where an event can spread like herpes at a Roman Orgy. But that can be good or bad depending on the information. That media allowed Trump's election rather than the state media (which has always been in place) helping Hillary. It also spread the kneelers at the NFL. Me personally, I have no use for NFL or NBA...I find then loud, boring, and an example of everything I dislike. But if we leave that, we have seen advances in every sport due to the application of medical and human science. I suspect that many here are Olympic level in their skills compared with athletes of the 1960s.

People dressed better? Maybe...if you are one of those Friday casual types. I see people feeling comfortable in more casual attire today. Women feel more comfortable showing off their femininity. Forty years ago, both men and women's fashions were intended to hide their physicality...maybe because people were not as fit as some are today. I was at Whole Foods yesterday and there were a few women shopping fresh from Yoga class. Forty years ago that would not have happened, and I enjoyed the scenery. Unless you are a christian taliban member, there is nothing wrong with that. I would not enjoy living where I could not wear shorts and t-shirts when I chose to dress that way, nor wher women had to cover up lest someone gaze at their asses.

Work ethic? I don't know. Maybe. I do know that the younger generation tends more to sloth than industry. I have a great crew now, but it took a long time to get there. The new gen wants to make more than the CEO their first year and have a company car issued to them. But guys like that will not make it because industry will not allow it. Teaching work ethic is a matter for parents, and to be honest...mine have a better work ethic at their age than I did. Today, because of technology, we can work smart rather than hard. In the early years I ran my business from the road...something I could never have done 40 years ago. I recall locking in a contract for training on my cell phone, on the beach on Oahu. I am working out of the house today, on a computer that is smaller than the newspaper my father read for timely information forty years ago.

Are we more distracted today? That is true. The masses can't hold a thought for longer than a minute. They do not read and their attention span is ridiculously short. But again, that is a matter of parents raising their kids and teaching them discipline. My brother grew up with computer games. Today he is an executive for the Call Of Duty game and probably makes more money than I do. (Incidentally...all those guys in the game are modeled after SI staff). The meek are not going to get sh*t...it is the self-disciplined that will inherit the earth. And that is taught by self-disciplined fathers and mothers.

So would I want to live 40 years ago as a 58 year old dude? Hell no. I like it here.

Gabriel Suarez
08-29-2018, 08:39 AM
Stop Looking Back, You Are Not Going There.

Old Norse Saying

08-29-2018, 08:58 AM
Not sure about the work ethic. I feel like people are putting in the hours, at least in the professional occupations. And considering the corporate penchant for layoffs, outsourcing and offshoring, maintaining loyalty to a company seems silly. Better to be a pirate. Maintain your skills, and go where you're most wanted. I'd still give two weeks' notice, of course. It's the polite thing to do. You might want to work with those guys again.

The world is a different place these days. In many ways the old ways things went don't apply.

My thoughts exactly. And IMHO, poor management/administration does not deserve a two weeks notice. You work for a properly run ship and that's not a problem. The problem comes when the ship starts looking like the Titanic.

08-29-2018, 09:17 AM
You can not go back in time. Look to the past for its lessons and one can try to use these lessons to deal with present and future since what has happened is done with.

Heraclitus, change, and flow
Heraclitus of Ephesus (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heraclitus) (Ἡράκλειτος, Herakleitos; c. 535 BC (https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/535_BC) – 475 BC (https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/475_BC)) was a Greek philosopher, known for his doctrine of change being central to the universe, and for establishing the term Logos (λόγος) (https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Logos) in Western philosophy as meaning both the source and fundamental order of the Cosmos (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmos).

Heraclitus’ vision of life is clear in his epigram on the river of flux:

‘We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not’ (B49a).

One interpretation of this passage is that Heraclitus is saying we can’t step into the same river twice. This is because the river is constantly changing. If I stroll down the banks of the Danube, the water before my eyes is not the same water from moment to moment. If the river is this water (which is a debatable point – the river could be its banks, the scar it carves in the landscape, but let’s leave this aside), it follows that the Danube is not the same river from moment to moment. We step into the Danube; we step out of it again. When we step into it a second time, we step into different water and thus a different river.

Randy Harris
08-29-2018, 03:39 PM
Gabe's comments were really more specific to his family. My comments are more observations of society at large...

1. Most kids don't play outside because in the last 40 years the media has made the helicopter parents afraid to let their kids out of the house. Combine that with the phenomena of nosy neighbors calling the cops on any gaggle of 3 kids or more and you rarely see the "Sandlot" kids running the streets in the summer.

2. I'm not sure why they changed the way math is taught and I'm not sure why kids just seem dumber....they can find Pokeman but can't find Indonesia ...or Iowa on a map. But on the other hand the internet has made availability of info more abundant. You can read books online. You can learn how to do a zillion things watching You Tube videos. So the ones who WANT to learn have opportunities we never had.

3. I'm going to agree that kids were healthier then. For Pete's sake how are there so many kids with peanut allergies and all the other allergies and any number of other illnesses we never knew existed back then ? How are there so many obese and otherwise unhealthy kids now? Sedentary lifestyles and video games I suppose. A little more of that whole "playing outside" thing more might have a positive effect on those things...

4. As to sports , yes they have always been used by some as a platform for political commentary but not pushed to the point that it is now . Now it is THE focus by the network airing the game . And that is why people are abandoning the NFL in droves.

5. Dressing better? I'm frankly tired of seeing people in pajamas on airplanes....and everywhere else. When did it become OK to wear pajamas like they are clothes meant for anywhere other than bed?

Now do I wear a suit to the mall? Not unless I'm also going somewhere else that a suit is appropriate. But I also don't run around looking like a homeless guy or a college student hanging out in the dorm after a late night of drinking. There's a difference between nice shorts and a polo shirt and gym shorts and a tank top. Gym shorts are for the gym.... not a job interview....

6. Work ethic? I hear that all the time from people who own businesses who are hiring people saying that the work ethic they expect is just not there in the millennials. The younger generation wants to be off all the time , they come in late, leave early and act like work is almost an imposition. Having said that, there is also a fine line between doing an honest days work and being a workaholic. As I tell our sales manager..."I've never seen a tombstone that said "I really wish I'd spent more time at work and spent less time with my family".... Of course I'm pretty sure I like my wife more than he likes his....

The thing is though that we play the hand we are dealt. Things are what they are now and I don't see it returning to those times. I'm glad I was a kid in the 70s and not now but I'm pretty much stuck with being an adult now and as Gabe says there are plenty of things we have now that they did not have then. And besides....do you REALLY want to have to go back to carrying a 1911 or a revolver? :dunno: :grin:

Randy Harris
08-30-2018, 06:22 AM
Way easier to invest and make money if you are disciplined.

No doubt.

08-30-2018, 08:46 PM
Let's see. 1978. Second year of law school, living in a converted cinder block garage, driving a Honda Civic, firing one box of .38 or one box of .45 reloads a week, picking up all my brass to get a buck fifty off on a box of 50. Working for an outfit that made corn spreaders on the side. Let's just say it was bittersweet and leave it at that.

Benjamin Liu
08-30-2018, 09:35 PM
These types of threads seem to pop up on forums from time to time.

From my perspective, almost all the things better about the present are related to advances in science and technology, and almost everything worse about the present are related to political and social changes.

08-30-2018, 11:32 PM
I agree with BigEd63 - many (if not most) employers today don't deserve a 2 week notice. Especially in places like Illinois where it's an "at will" situation (you can be fired at any time for any reason or no reason at all without notice). I do my job and I do it damned well (better than pretty much everyone else there) out of pride alone, because I'm underpaid. But the employer has no loyalty to me, so I have none for them. If something works out tomorrow an hour before I start, I quit with an hour's notice.

But overall, work ethic sucks these days, as does management. We had a guard sleeping on the job every day, in the middle of the day, and he lasted 9 months. Had I been in charge, he wouldn't have lasted 9 minutes. Those in charge simply don't want to be bothered to deal with serious problems...say, for example, security cameras not working in a Bio-Safety Level 3 facility. :huh: For two months! :headache:

We raced bicycles without helmets - and lived! Entertainment was better. I still have a lot of the comics I grew up with in the 60s and 70s. Still love 'em! Modern comics...I've peeked at them. Nothing but sex and gratuitous violence and depravity. No entertainment value at all. Same with a lot of movies and tv especially.

Health-wise there is no argument - people are fatter and sicker than ever. I was challenged once on the subject of school shootings so I had to school someone and show them how there were more school shootings in the 90s decade than there were in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. COMBINED! If I had a time machine, would I go back? Hell yeah. It's one of my best fantasies!

09-11-2018, 12:27 AM
the ones who WANT to learn have opportunities we never had.

the intellectually curious always have the advantage

09-11-2018, 06:30 AM
These types of threads seem to pop up on forums from time to time.

From my perspective, almost all the things better about the present are related to advances in science and technology, and almost everything worse about the present are related to political and social changes.

Agreed. My son will never know a world without smartphones, ipads, instant access to information, or the ability to connect with anyone, anytime. And that's not so bad. I keep nearly all my info on Dropbox, and if I'm on site and someone has a question I can pull up the info right there, or call/text the person who knows.

I grew up in the 80's and even then there were kids who played Nintendo all day. Blame the parents, not the kids. Fortunately I liked playing sports and reading, so I didn't have to be encouraged to do either one. Although I did like Nintendo too.

I've since gone on, by the grace of God, to be not wealthy, but certainly comfortable. The American Dream, right? Work hard and be successful. Too many kids want to skip the "work hard" part, and they've got a voice and honestly an advantage by being proficient in social media. Then they argue that the Baby Boomers kicked the bill down the road, which may be true, but a the same time they ask for more social programs, free healthcare, free college, etc. I don't know what they learned in school but it wasn't math.

Regardless of who or what to blame for that, America's still the best deal going and there'll be plenty of folks who do what it takes to rise to the top. 2018's not such a bad time to be an American.

Gabriel Suarez
09-11-2018, 08:33 AM
Technology and advances in science and medicine are the tools of man and man either uses them or is consumed by them.

Today, a 70 year old man can be muscular and fit and have a girl half his age if he wants. How? By using the knowledge we have now in nutrition, performance engineered drugs (yes, these can work in your favor), and medical advances. I was working drills last night with 5th dan that was at least 15 years older tan I and he was strong and fast. Forty years ago, a man of seventy was visiting funeral dudes and then shuffling off to the senior center for a rousing game of checkers and complaining. Not to say all 70 somethings are like that today, but you have more choices about how to live your life today than 40 years ago.

Today, I can wake up and have a cup of coffee imported from central america and send a text to South Africa and another to Belgium...and by the time my cup is gone, I have replies. I am sitting here on my patio typing on a Spectre tablet that is smaller than most of my college textbooks. And with a push of a button see how HQ is doing and how my investments have developed this week...this month...this year. Back 40 years ago...not so much. Maybe Folgers, postal mail and rotary dial black phone.

Society? I don't give three shits and haven't in forty years. Everything we have today we had then. We had noble warriors and we had pedophile priests...we had great business leaders...and we had communist politicians (the second communist president was in that era...Jimmy Carter). The only thing we have today is the ability to selectively see the info we want to see and anyone can broadcast their views to like minded people. Would we care about dudes marching with plastic cocks, or even know about it without Facebook?

One thing is certain and that is that because of all these things, the nation (notice i did not say "WE") is far more divided than ever. Divided along ideological lines. The left and the right...those who want to win at life and those who want to be tended to...those desiring freedom and those desiring safety. And we are at a crux where no compromise is possible because compromising means giving up too much for each side.

I think this is a good thing because man is not intended to live a compromised collective. And every time one has happened in history, it has had to be implemented by force and eventually breaks down. See the various empires, Roman, British, Spanish, Soviet, Brexit (the EU), and inevitably, the USA. That is a possibility in our age primariliy due to the advancements in communication. It would not have been likely in 1980. And no, I don't see it being a violent thing (preppers, threepers, and all those other pers to the contrary). For people collectively to find group mind, a hive of ecstasis in violence they have to lose so much, feel so much anger and emotion that I do not believe will ever happen in the USA. Moreover, communication would prevent the uncontested birthing of a violent movement in the USA...either by LE, or by those on the other side of the fence whose properties are the prize.

No, I expect a political/economic division that will lead to an actual divorce of regions. A wonderful time for those who can profit from such things.

I like 2018 much more than 1978. Now if I could go back into my 18 year old self knowing what I know today...well that is another matter altogether.

09-11-2018, 09:07 AM
And if you choose carefully, and have the discipline, you can have the best of any and all decades.