You know, when I was growing up, I never imagined I would ever really be an adult. Like Peter Pan, I had a hunch that maybe it was optional.
Of course, now that I’m here, looking back on that time, I can’t help but think (as all adults eventually do) that youth is wasted on the young.
Certainly, I didn’t take full advantage of it when I had the chance. And now it seems like every kid and young adult I see has his or her face buried in a smartphone—even this mom confessed to her addiction.
I think it’s about time we looked into our past for a few lessons on how to live a happier and more fulfilling life. It’s not just nostalgia; if we returned to a time with fewer distractions, more time spent with the ones we love, and simpler pleasures, I think we would all reap the benefits.
Here’s how we did things, back in my day…
1. Trusted Our Neighbors
These days, lots of folks hardly know their neighbors at all, and don’t make much of an effort.
Time was, you moved into a new neighborhood, and someone would be at your door before the day was out, bringing by a casserole or a cake to welcome you to the neighborhood.
As time went on, they might have an emergency key to your house, watch your pets while you were away, and stop by regularly for a chat and a cup of coffee!
2. Respected Our Elders
“Kids these days” might be a bit of a cliche, but it’s a cliche for a reason.
Young people just don’t know how to show respect to their elders, even though older people laid the groundwork for everything they have.
We were raised to always greet older folks politely, to hold doors and offer seats, and to listen respectfully when they spoke.
3. Weren’t In A Rush
When we were growing up, people knew how to take their time and really enjoy a moment.
Instead of rushing off to separate corners of the house as soon as possible, families spent their spare time in each other’s company.
People knew the value of just sitting quietly on the porch with a loved one, without any agenda or big plan for the evening.
4. Spent Time Together
It feels like family dinner is a lost art these days, with people either eating separately or being distracted the whole time by the TV or a smartphone.
We remember eating dinner as a family every single night, and having an enjoyable, well-balanced meal full of great food and great conversation.
It’s a busy world, but don’t we owe it to ourselves to carve out a nice old-fashioned family dinner at least once a week?
5. Knew What Romance Was
“Romance” is such a loaded word in this age of dating apps and casual flings.
People don’t know the power of taking things slowly and conducting a courtship thoughtfully the way they used to.
Young men and women used to really date before they took any other steps, and their relationships were happier and more fulfilled as a result.
6. Valued The Past
Here’s the biggest problem with the world today: Nobody is out on the back porch, listening to Grandma tell a story and helping her shell peas for supper.
It might seem like such an insignificant thing, but it’s easy to underestimate the power of really paying attention to tradition and to the wisdom of those who came before you.
We all ought to take this opportunity to slow down, take a seat, and give Grandma the floor—she knows what she’s talking about.