Skip To Content

    40 Completely Normal Things Gen X'ers And Millennials Did When They Were Young That Would Seem Weird To Today's Kids

    Being able to go to the bathroom, grab a snack, and do a quick "what else is on TV" check all during a commercial break is a skill that is lost on today's kids.

    1. Having to plan your schedule around a TV show you wanted to watch — because if you weren't home, you'd have to wait until summertime for it be shown as a rerun:

    2. Also, while watching TV, timing bathroom breaks to commercials because there was no way to pause what you were watching:

    3. Being dropped off at the mall (pre-cellphone days) by your parents and them literally having no way to reach you:

    4. Using a pay phone any time you were out and needed to reach someone (who you hoped was home):

    A hand holding the receiver and putting a quarter into the payphone

    5. Having to wait for your local radio station to premiere a new song by a band or artist you liked:

    6. Having to wait — sometimes for hours — for MTV to play a music video that you loved:

    Britney Spears in the music video for "Baby One More Time"

    7. Having absolutely nothing to do on a car trip but stare out the window if you forgot to bring your portable CD player or books to read:

    8. Only (usually) being able to learn/see the correct lyrics to a song by reading them from the album's liner notes:

    A '90s kids lying on the floor listening to a CD from his portable CD player while he has a CD case opened in his hand and has a stack of CDs next to him

    9. And only being able to listen to special remixes or exclusive B-side songs if you bought pricey import CD singles:

    Opened CD import single for Britney Spears' "You Drive Me Crazy"

    10. Joining a fan club for an artist or fandom THROUGH THE MAIL and getting things like pins and newsletters mailed to you periodically:

    Janet Jackson Fan Club button

    11. Leaving the phone number for any friend's house you were going to so your parents could call you if they needed to:

    12. Being able to drop off or greet friends and family members (without any type of plane ticket) at their gate inside the airport:

    Ross and Rachel hugging at the airport on Friends

    13. Having to watch whatever movie was playing on your flight ('cause there were no on-demand movies or TV channels):

    14. Having to look up a direction in an atlas (that was always in the car) if you were helping one of your parents navigate while they drove:

    A 1995 Thomas Guide atlas for Los Angeles and Orange counties

    15. Or just going to the nearest gas station and hoping you remember everything (if your parents made you go inside and ask):

    #IRememberWhenYouHadTo run into a gas station to ask for directions when you got lost.

    Twitter: @nikkibloomsmith

    16. Having to get to the video store early if you wanted to rent a newly released movie, or else risk not being able to because all the copies were rented out:

    Exterior of Blockbuster at night

    17. Having to rewind a movie before you watched it because the last person to watch didn't rewind it:

    Blockbuster VHS tape with the sticker "Please remember to rewind" sticking out of the VCR

    18. Having to adjust the tracking on your VCR (sometimes even when you had auto-tracking) to make sure you had a clear picture:

    19. Knowing the phone numbers of family members and friends that you called often:

    20. And having an address book (or your parents having one) that listed the home addresses and phone numbers of family members and friends that you didn't call often:

    21. Having to bring out the phonebook to look up a phone number or address of a business:

    A finger pointing at a phone number in the Yellow Pages

    22. Having to go in person to buy concert or show tickets at the venue or at Ticketmaster (if you and your parents didn't want to take the gamble of doing it over the phone):

    A man holding two Bruce Springsteen concert tickets

    23. Calling MovieFone or your local theater to get movie time listings:

    24. Having the movie theater be the only place you could watch new trailers:

    The green screen before a movie trailer starts, text says, "The following preview has been approved for all audiences by the Motion Picture Association of America"

    25. And having to get to the theater extra early and wait in long lines in order to get a good seat whenever a blockbuster movie was released:

    People camped outside a movie theater in daylight

    26. Using a card catalog to find a book in the library:

    27. Having to research school assignments in encyclopedias and praying that there was enough of an explainer on the subject matter you were writing about:

    Several volumes of Encyclopedia Britannica on a shelf

    28. "Screening phone calls" by waiting to see who was leaving a message on the answering machine and then deciding whether to answer or not:

    29. Having to leave a voicemail on your friend's family's answering machine if they weren't home and you wanted them to call you back:

    Little girl talking on the phone in her kitchen

    30. Paging someone and having to sit around next to the phone until they called you back:

    31. Ordering clothes, toys, books, or other things from a catalog and waiting WEEKS for them to come:

    An L.L. Bean catalog opened to the PJs page

    32. Or ordering something from a TV commercial and waiting WEEKS for it to come:

    Woman holding a credit card while on the phone and watching TV

    33. Going to the store and having them not have what you needed and having them "special order" it for you (which also took forever to come):

    34. Talking to live operators any time you called anywhere:

    35. Looking through the Sunday circulars so you could find out what albums, movies, and video games were being released:

    Best Buy Sunday circular

    36. Getting up early to look at the paper to find out what the weather was going to be like...

    37. ...or turning on The Weather Channel and hoping the local forecast was on.

    38. Using a watch out of necessity just to know what time it was:

    Hand with with wrist watch on it

    39. Squinting and then "aiming" in order to take your pictures:

    Remember when you had to put a camera right up to your eye to see what you were going to take a picture of? #weird

    Twitter: @LizzyMace

    40. And lastly, taking dozens of pictures and having no idea how they came out until you get them developed: