HomerandomHow did we make it this far?

How did we make it this far?

 Was at a group meeting a few months back and an older gentleman shared an email he received from a friend. The email read….

How Did We Make It this Far?

Looking back, it’s hard to believe that we have lived as long as we have…

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

Our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paint.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors, or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets. (Not to mention hitchhiking to town as a young kid!)

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then rode down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into
the bushes a few times we learned to solve the problem.

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. No cell phones. Unthinkable.

We played dodgeball and sometimes the ball would really hurt. We got cut and broke bones and broke teeth and there were no law suits from these
accidents. They were accidents. No one was to blame but us. Remember accidents?

We had fights and punched each other and got black and blue and learned to get over it.

We ate cupcakes, bread and butter, and drank sugar soda but we were never overweight … we were always outside playing.

We shared one grape soda with four friends, from one bottle and no one died from this.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo 64, X Boxes, video games at all, 99 channels on cable, video tape movies, surround sound, personal cellular phones, Personal Computers, internet chat rooms. Instead we had friends.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s home and knocked on the door, or rung the bell or just walked in and talked to them.

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate worms and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes, nor did
the worms live inside us forever.

We ate penny candy, swallowed bubblegum, and our intestines did not stick together because of it.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t, had to learn to deal with disappointment.

Some students weren’t as smart as others so they failed a grade and were held back to repeat the same grade. Tests were not adjusted
for any reason.

Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected. No one to hide behind. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever. The past 50 years has been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

Obviously as a twenty something I can’t relate to everything in this letter, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t certain things that stood out to me (I bolded the things I liked).

I mean think about cell phones. Twenty years ago no one had cell phones and people managed to get by just fine. Now, if I reach down to grab my phone and it’s not in front of me, I have a mild panic attack. Funny how priorities change.

What were some of the things in the letter that rubbed ya the wrong way? What were some that resonated with you?

Any other 20-somethings out there willing to admit we are probably the laziest generation to have ever existed? Would love to hear from the 40+ crowd today and get your insights on how you’ve seen things change over the years!

p.s. if Facebook is the biggest “accomplishment” of our generation I’m going to cry.





  1. I agree with the letter’s “not everyone always wins” mentality. I’m not a fan of every kid always winning these days. When I was growing up, losing or not being chosen or straight-up failing was just part of the process. I think learning to deal with disappointment from an early age is an important aspect of maturing and will serve you well as an adult. I sound super-crotchety, but I’m only 30! I’m old at heart, I think.

  2. So totally agree with this email. I grew up in a small town in Puerto Rico and I’m in my 30’s. I look back at my childhood and can say that I truly enjoyed it without any electronics. We had to try out for sports. Even as a parent now, I see most of them removing anything that causes any kids of disappointment. Letting them win when they play game boards. Handing them a cellphone to play so they can behave and won’t bother mom or dad. The list can go on.

  3. How about the endless activities? I know parents who put their children in dance, sports, music, etc. Whatever happened to just being a kid?

  4. I am 47 and when I started working after College, there were no PCs. There was a pool of secretaries and electronic typewriters. There was only one central fax machine in a company of 2000 people. We used telex machines and I am sure none of the 20somethings have ever seen one. And despite all these, work still got done.

  5. I am in the over forty crowd. A few years ago I was making a 200 mile trip to see family during the holidays. My cell phone died irrevocably the night before I was leaving. I panicked slightly knowing I would not have time to replace it before leaving on my trip. I worried about what would happen if I had an emergency on the road. I even considered delaying the trip. And then I remembered that duh, I have made that trip dozens and dozens of times without a cell phone. There are still call boxes! There are helpful motorists! There is freeway service patrol whose sole job is to help distressed motorists! It would be fine. And it was.

  6. Sixty years young here!

    I was outside playing, too; just not a sportster, and forbidden to ride a bike (except a stationary one) probably because I hadn’t taken well to training wheels. Ate those things that were mentioned (though not a fan of butter). Had some large bit of fat in the belly. I don’t know who he’s talking about.

    Those are suburban kids, who don’t exactly fall off of bikes onto hard pavement.

  7. WAY over 40 here and been there, done that – ALL of it. Do I think your generation is lazy? ABSOLUTELY NOT! You’ve been raised in a different environment. Spoiled by our terms, yes. But lazy – NOT. You guys are facing an entirely different world than we faced. I see people of your generation busting their asses and God love ya! It’s just another time, another game and your generation will do exceedingly well. I know. I’ve seen way more of your generation than I ever wanted to fight the mid-east. And I’ve seen your generation fight thru and survive a complete and crappy presidential b.s. ride in the name of socialism. And still, you guys don’t give up! Good for you! READ and STUDY HISTORY! It’s ALL about FREEDOM!

  8. I’m 39, but a fogey at heart. The list made me laugh because, yeah, I knocked out my 4 front teeth in a go-kart with messed up brakes! I’m trying to raise my kids a lot like I was raised – they bike outside, they’ve broken fingers playing basketball at the park, knock on their friends door to see if they can play, and have learned to suck it up in the face of disappointment. They have boundaries in our neighborhood and I always know where they are, but no, they don’t have cell phones yet. At 9 and 11 I trust them more than most 15 year olds I know because they have been given responsibilities and proven themselves trustworthy. That said, they do wear helmets and seat belts, and I confess that they also have a lot of electronic entertainment.

  9. He he, here our parents used to leave us at home, when going to work. Most people my age, who didn’t have a grandma or grandpa close, would just have the key and have to feed/take care of themselves. Yes, even as small as 7 years old. No one had nannies. The traffic was almost inexistent on most streets, so we’d play there. Now you can’t play anywhere because of all the cars being parked.

  10. I’ve seen this email several times and while I do agree with some of it, some I do not. As much as I do enjoy ignorance, there are times when it can be harmful. One of my biggest problems these days is a lack of respect, not only for others but also for self. Combined with just plain, stupid people, I feel life is only more dangerous now than in the past. In fact, I do wonder how people can survive nowadays…

  11. I like the list… climbing trees wasn’t included, but I know I lived in trees as a kid. These days NO ONE lets their kids climb trees – might fall and get hurt, might hurt the tree or break a branch – oh man, how sad… I have 3 kids but only one is super adventurous. She climbs trees whenever she can and I whole-heartedly support her in that, as long as the owner of the tree has given approval because kids get yelled at for breezing past other people’s property and things these days – often quite inappropriately in my opinion… Let kids climb!!! If given a chance, they quickly learn how to climb safely!

    • Speaking as an urban dweller, though. the urban equivalent; which would be rough terrain in public parks, has been reined off and paved over with trendy playground areas; or the non-groomed areas have become too crime-ridden. So, if tomboys and more athletic kids need resilience training, they would have to have well-heeled parents who pay through the nose at kids’ (supervised) junkyard survivalist/roughhousing/resilience/risk training workshops–concept which started across the pond:

  12. I am 32 years old. I stayed home alone at 9, played outside all day, and climbed trees…pretty much did most of the stuff in the letter. I loved it and wish my kids had/have the same experiences. BUT – just like a previous poster said – now that I have my kids I am over-protective in a lot of areas. They are 5 and 9 and I couldn’t imagine letting my 9 year old go outside to play and just expected to be home by dark. I did just start letting them be home alone for a couple of hours. That was a big step! LOL
    However, I am a ‘keep it real’ type of parent. I do not always side with my kids. If they are in the wrong they will have consequences. I am a coach so I experience the ‘my kid does no wrong’ all of the time. I will never be that way.

  13. At 35 years old, I am of the generation that spans the life before electronics and that after electronics. As a member of the first real generation of cellphone users, I can honestly tell you this is the hardest invention to get used to. The sense of immediacy that comes with literally being able to call/text/bbm/facebook someone and get a reply literally minutes later (or seconds) and then we get so self-conscious about why we DON’T hear back immediately is horrible for our development, stress, and life.

    Atari was the thing of my early days, and not everyone had one, as it was a mark of wealth in my days. The fact that people now line up for days to get the latest iPhone, even when there is nothing wrong with their 8 month old one, is absolutely preposterous. There are weekends when I go unplugged on purpose. You cannot enjoy the beauty of a nature hike when you head is down texting everyone on your friends list about how lame something is….because you’ve quite literally missed the lame part – YOU! Taking selfies every five seconds to post your “accomplishments” in life is absolutely ridiculous.

    I’m not above technology, as I do have a cell phone, and I facebook and have a blog. All of which wouldn’t be possible when I was 15. However, I don’t spend every waking second on these items. I don’t literally think the world is ending if the power goes out and my phone battery dies. I light candles, crank up my emergency power-is-out safety radio and have a dance party! Or read by candle light. Or have a romantic evening with my fiance. Or, enjoy a glass of wine. I have an imagination still. I am not technologically advanced and socially inept.

    I remember doing a lot of the items in the body of the email you mention, because I am old enough to have done so. I am also young enough to know how the world changed when technology boomed and to think that the kids these days are missing huge portions of development because of this “no kid left behind” style in schools these days.

    It does not hurt a kid to learn that you can’t always get what you want when you want it,be the best at everything, or receive a false sense of accomplishment purely because the school system has changed to “help you”. In fact, I think we are doing far more damage to kids these days because the consequence of action has been removed from very nearly everything. Parents do not take the time to learn about their children, spend time with their children, and understand who their children are anymore. This is why they rail against teachers that bring it to their attention, rail against the penal/justice system for treating them like human beings because they did something worth punishment, and rail against the authority figures of every single activity, sport, scholastic institution and all manner of government purely because they, as parents, are no longer doing their own jobs.

    The kids these days have the air of entitlement that they feel gives them carte blanche to behave atrociously at the best of times. An employer should not be the first person to tell a teen/young adult, that they are under performing. At this stage, social media bullying and shaming of this employer kicks in and thousands jump on the band wagon, tarnishing good reputations purely because someone was upset they were told truthfully their faults and haven’t yet learned how to handle that. It is beyond ridiculous that this happens in the world today. And, unfortunately, it is coming from the generation of 20-somethings and younger.

    The hardest part about all of this, is that many don’t see it, don’t understand it, and don’t get why this is a huge deal and why it will be the downfall of [an] entire generation(s) of people to come. Even worse – it is parents of my own generation that are perpetuating this. I do not blame the children for this. I put more of that blame on parents eager to please children instead of parenting children.

    Alas, this is a societal issue. It is one that we need to correct soon.

  14. I am 62 years old, and this email describes my wonderful, carefree, happy childhood. I lived in a university city where we could get anywhere on our own by city bus, walking, or our bikes. When our parents called us in for dinner, we hated leaving our play to eat. In the summers, all children played outside with their friends. We did not play in one another’s homes or apartments. We had bicycle parades, roller skate parades, games of chase and hide and seek. We walked to the city parks, beaches and ice skating rinks by ourselves. We had a grade for “conduct” on our report card, and it had to be good or we would hear from our parents. The 50’s and 60’s were a different era, though. Today, I would not expect that my own grandchildren would ever be allowed to be as independent as we were. However, I do feel that children today are not encouraged to just play and occupy themselves as we did back then.

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