From the BlogSubscribe Now

35 Things My Son Will Never Experience


As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of technology. I’m always looking for a faster, easier way to do things and I embrace any opportunity to stay connected. When I hear the phrase “There’s an app for that,” I smile because it’s so true. And I get frustrated when there isn’t an app for something yet.

When I look back at the 15 years since I was my son’s age, I’m overwhelmed by how quickly things have changed. I just can’t help being amazed – we can do things today that I never dreamed were possible as a 13 year-old. And while I’m always a fan of those posts about what each year’s college freshmen don’t remember, I also think the writers of those posts focus too much on global issues or things that have been outdated for years.

I started thinking all the technological advances in the short time since I was a teenager, and the things that will continue to evolve before Jayden graduates high school in 2016. And because I’m a nerd, I made a list of 35 things he will never experience  (because there’s now an app for that, in most cases). Enjoy!

35 things Jayden (and every other current 13 year-old) will never experience:

1. Using cassette tapes or CDs to listen to music.

2. Waiting for a movie to rewind.

3. Saying, “I can’t wait to get home so I can call ____ and tell him/her what I did today!”

4. Writing a grocery list by hand. (And accidentally leaving it at home.)

5. Frantically scrolling the wheel on a disposable camera to take another picture.

6. Sending letters in the mail.

7. Using a phonebook to look up someone’s number.

8. Making a phone call to order pizza.

9. Waiting for a favorite song to come on the radio.

10. Waiting for a song to end, crossing fingers that the DJ will mention the artist and title.

11. Pulling over in the emergency lane to consult an atlas or map.

12. Using an encyclopedia to look up information.

13. Going to the bank in person.

14. Buying and mailing a birthday or Christmas card.

15. Prepaying with cash at the gas station.

16. Wondering “What ever happened to ___ from high school?” and having to call someone to ask.

17. Dropping off film to be developed (and laughing at the pictures where someone blinked).

18. Displaying a giant DVD tower beside the TV.

19. Taking a camera and camcorder on vacation.

20. Waiting in line for concert tickets to go on sale.

21. Watching the weather to find out what to wear.

22. Memorizing (or dialing) phone numbers.

23. Asking friends and family if a restaurant is any good.

24. Having 5 remote controls stacked up on the coffee table.

25. Tearing the house apart to find his keys.

26. Writing a check.

27. Buying a hard copy of the local newspaper.

28. Wearing a watch.

29. Buying an alarm clock.

30. Getting paid or paying someone in cash.

31. Driving to multiple stores to comparison shop.

32. Assembling shelves to hold a massive collection of books.

33. Having a kitchen drawer full of instruction manuals for various appliances.

34. Using a payphone or the phone in a hotel room.

35. Feeling utterly shocked to learn that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father, and that older generations saw the last three movies first.

What other things do we do now that our kids will never experience? Do you see this as a great thing or a tragedy?

About Andrea Whitmer

Andrea is a freelance web developer and mom trying to maintain a sense of humor in an otherwise chaotic world. She blogs in hopes of helping others avoid the same mistakes she made in the past. Join in the discussion here on So Over This, or connect on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or Google Plus. You can also subscribe to new posts via RSS so you never miss out!


  1. Awwww so much analogue nostalgia here! I still remember that wave of indignation I always felt whenever I hired a video from Blockbuster, only to find the previous guy hadn't rewound the tape.

    • Jayden used to cry when he wanted to watch a certain tape and had to wait for it to rewind. He was probably 1 1/2 or 2. He doesn’t remember that at all now, but I distinctly remember the frustration!

  2. I'm not sure all of those lost opportunities are bad things.   Some technological advancements make things easier, while other are just plain pointless.  Searching for a pay phone or waiting for a library book (or having the newspaper stolen) just sucked.  I actually like building things, so the bookshelf line kind of sucks for me!  Maybe he'll be lucky enough to never have to cook/clean and by the time 2016 comes, we'll have Jetson's-type food service available too

  3. #38. Dialing to "get online" (and getting a busy signal)

  4. Oh, I have to ask. Have YOU ever actually had to turn the knob to change TV channels?

    • Yep. Had a tv with a knob when I was little. Then we upgraded to one with a slider to go between all 10 channels. We got cool stuff because my dad worked for the cable company at the time. 🙂

  5. Hmmm… a bunch of these STILL apply to my life.  Especially the lost car keys!  Guess I am not as updated as I thought!

  6. Lol oh man. Frantically turning the wheel of a disposable camera for pictures, or my dad filming us on a camera that almost broke his back cuz it was so big. Hmm encyclopedia's, that was skill I spent hours learning how to master. Those were the days…

  7. And I thought I was part of the younger generation! I am guilty of most of these items. Rewinding tapes, encyclopedias, writing a report in lined paper (and using liquid paper)… good stuff.

  8. #28 – wearing a watch… I wear a watch, haha.  I must be an anachronism already.

  9. Gosh, I still do a lot of those things.  4,8,13,14,19, 25, 28,29,30,33.  

  10. I really like this! 

  11. This list gave me such a chuckle. Gosh some of this stuff brings back memories. I can't believe these things aren't common anymore. 

  12. Anonymous says:

    -Hearing a dial tone.
    -floppy disks
    -grocery shopping with out the UPC code
    -cars w/manual windows

    My kids do blow on ther Gameboy cartridges. And it still works just as well as it use to.

  13. I find myself trying to love and hate new technology. I feel like we can't interact as well in person as we used to, but at the same time it has opened a world of new possibilities. Love-hate relationship, I guess?

  14. Honestly, I don't think many of these things, like wearing a watch or using an encyclopedia, are a "tragedy." I think they're just different than they used to be. The only ones that bother me a bit are the ones where human relations suffer. I think social media, email, and texting have changed that in some good ways but also some negative ways. I'm not sure if there will be long-term effects, but only time will tell..

    I just hope my kids (who don't exist yet) still want to play outside and don't become addicted to TV or video games (and I'll do my best to prevent that).

    • It's tough. I always kept Jay outside (weather permitting) when he was younger, and I make a point to unplug and spend time outside myself. But now he'd rather be locked up in his room playing Halo or sitting in front of the computer. He has begged to have the computer in his room but I refuse – I'd never see him again! It's so hard to convince kids to go outside when there are so many compelling things going on inside.

  15. #36: Blowing into a game cartridge!

  16. Rounding up friends or having to go to a friend’s house to play vs. mode of a fighting or shooting game

  17. Oh the book and DVD shelves… I am still such a fan of paper books but you think of all the wasted resources for books that don't sell or languish in thrift stores or on people's shelves it's kind of sad!  

    ..and lol to VHS tapes.  We used to record off the TV so I'd be able to watch my favorite Care Bear movies again and again!

  18. Teinegurl says:

    I still do these things like writing down my grocery list, listening to the radio , paying cash for my gas and calling for pizza even though i haven't ordered pizza in ages cause it's cheaper to buy frozen and heat it up at home! Setting up my bookshelf , etc. i'm 25 hahah does that mean im getting old?

  19. I don't know how I feel! There are some things I wish my sister would know, like I remember getting our first computer and she's growing up with the thing… there are experiences I wish I could share. Like being heartbroken and listening to a cd on a discman, she probably won't even know what one of those looks like without googling it. *sigh*

  20. Change is the only thing that you can count on!

  21. Making a mix tape by hitting record when the song plays on the radio, then trying to hit stop before the dj comes back on.

    Watching a music video on MTV.

  22. I still have manual windows and doors in my truck.
    He won't ever make/have made for him a mix tape. Sad that he'll miss out on that.
    Floppy disks too. I remember doing a lot of school projects on a floppy.

  23. says:

    Typewriters!  We found my old college typewriter a few years ago and my kids had no idea what it was!  We had to explain that it was "kinda like a printer."

  24. Amanda L. Grossman says:

    Drats–tried to post to twitter but my work computer is not letting me. Neat article idea! I still do some of these things….actually I still do many of these things! Hahahahaha:). It's true, I am behind the times and am comfortable with that.

  25. I smile at this list:) A few years ago, my daughter saw a phone on tv that was corded, someone in an office was using it. She asked me why that person had such a weird phone. She'd never seen something like that. To kids now, phones are cell phones. Landlines are old fashioned to some, but corded phones are like dinosaurs.

    Another one – my daughter (we live in suburban Chicago) was talking about how tall the Sears Tower is and referred to it as the Willis Tower. Now, that building opened in 1974 I believe (or thereabouts) and has been known to a generation as the Sears Tower, the tallest building in the U.S. It's iconic, especially locally. Yet she calls it the Willis Tower, which it was renamed a few years ago in some sponsorship deal. Nobody I know who's an adult calls it that, but to the newer generation that's what it is!

  26. Love the list 🙂

    (Although there are some things on there that I still do…*eyes the stack of remotes*)

  27. Oh, the nostalgia! 🙂

    For the most part, I'm glad that these things are things of the past. But I'm still not giving up my bookshelf until Amazon releases a Pixel-Qi, Android-based e-reader. Just saying…

    Although, I really don't think Yelp and the others are really a replacement for asking friends and family about restaurants. Maybe just because I'm a total foodie. Don't get me wrong, I definitely read restaurant reviews online… that's how I find the majority of new restaurants I go to… but restaurants I've had recommended to me by friends are still my all time favorites.

  28. This is great! Actually, I still write grocery lists by hand. I use the back of envelopes or other random scrap paper, but I just haven't ever converted to doing it any other way. I also still go to the bank (there's a branch on campus, otherwise I doubt I would), wear a watch, and use an alarm clock in addition to my phone. And we own a lot of DVDs. But I am very glad that we've done away with some of these things, like comparison shopping and pulling over to look up directions, and encyclopedias. 

    Number 34 cracked me up, because I remember when I was a kid and we'd travel for dance competitions, we'd always carry around those little hotel paper pads so we could write down what room all of our teammates were in, and then we would all call each other on the hotel phones (often just to find out more people's room numbers I think, lol). Now I'm sure all those kids are texting each other…wow. And oh, the disposable cameras we used to go through…

  29. I was with a 6 year old recently who was asking me jokes from a puzzle book. "What sits in a corner and can go around the world?" The answer was a stamp. Her mother and I then tried to explain about stamps and mailing letters. She still looked puzzled. So the following week while on vacation I sent her a postcard!

  30. I posted a link to your post on my Facebook!

  31. Every time I pop by here I always get a good laugh. He still has a chance to catch a few stuff on that list before it is totally extinct but you are right, most people his age and younger will miss most of these things. It will be a good laugh going to the museum in a couple years and explaining what a VCR was.

Join the Discussion!