Millennials were born during a technological revolution. From Walkmans and VHS tapes to iPhones and Bitcoin, they’ve seen it all. Here are some things Millennials got to enjoy that younger generations missed out on.
1. 2000 Channels And Nothing Is On
Things have changed since the advent of streaming services took over from television. While TV was king, you could passively wait for a show you wanted to watch—no more.
A Millennial mourned the loss of “watching ‘whatever was on,’” and added, “Everything is always on now. You don’t stumble into an enjoyable (or awful) show because it’s the only mildly interesting thing on TV.”
2. Make It A Blockbuster Night
The video store is a casualty of the rise of cable TV, on-demand TV, and streaming services, but some Millennials think of those days fondly. Forum members reminisced about picking up movies with their families at the chain store.
For some, it was a treat they got every few weeks or once a month. The fond memories continued with people discussing browsing the aisles, checking out forbidden movies in the horror and foreign film sections, the candy and popcorn the store sold and renting and selling movies. In a way, it replaced going out to the movie theater for an entire generation.
3. Wait, What?
The knowledge of what a landline phone used to look like and how it operated is another thing that is likely to go when the Millennials no longer roam the earth. It might seem incredible, but one Millennial tried to explain the concept to their younger relatives to hilarious results.
He tried to explain once to his then-six-year-old niece that phones used to be connected to the wall through a phone jack. As a ten-year-old, cell phones are all she has known in her life. She guessed why they were “tied” to walls: To stop people from stealing them.
4. Making A Mixtape
One of the more romantic notions listed is also one of the options that confuse Gen Z the most—the esoteric art of taping songs off the radio. The next question they might have is, what is radio?
The fun was recording on a cassette tape and then burning your mix of songs on a rewritable CD. The tenacity required to sit by the radio and wait for hours to hear that one song that you wanted for your mix so you could record it.
Tragically, many of these recordings were ruined at the last second by a DJ talking over the song’s ending and eliciting a groan from the avid mix CD maker. But that was part of the process that made it valuable.
Another tricky part about recording a song this way is all the ambient noise in the house. Cue a frustrated voice yelling out of the basement or their room, “I AM TRYING TO RECORD A TAPE!”
5. How Does This Work?
The age of smartphones has ironically made Gen Z less knowledgeable about the basic knowledge of your average computer. No, seriously.
Many commenters had stories about how esoteric computer operating systems are to Gen Z. This knowledge will likely follow Millennials and Gen X out the door.
While talking to a coworker, this forum member contemplated that the general population, not those in computer science classes, is mostly younger and older people who need to understand more about computers. Most Gen Z-ers need help figuring out how to access anything on a computer if it’s not an app.
One forum member related a story about a coworker who couldn’t add a printer to their computer and who was asking, “Where’s the app?” This coworker was only a few years younger but had no idea how to use their laptop in this basic manner. He stared into the distance in disbelief and did it for the coworker, feeling discouraged by this discovery.
A digital tech teacher verified this astonishing fact: “I completely agree. I had this same conversation with a coworker after realizing I had to teach first-year high school students how to turn on a computer and save a document not connected to a cloud service. I wish I were exaggerating.”
6. Don’t Make Eye Contact
Will we miss people awkwardly trying not to look at each other in a waiting room? That’s an excellent question. Much like the uncomfortable space inside an elevator, a waiting room is another place where people used to desperately try not to make eye contact with each other. Nowadays, people are so glued to their phones that it relieves a lot of social anxiety that people used to feel.
Someone who might be Gen X retorted, “They’ve had newspapers and magazines for that since long before cell phones.”
Multiplayer games have taken a quantum leap in graphics and speed, but a gamer Millennial can’t help but miss the old style of multiplayer gaming.
Unless LAN parties make a comeback for some unknowable reason, they will be lost in the rearview mirror of time. Group gaming has a component of fun that you can’t get with online multiplayer or through a chat program.
The gamer reminisced about some of the most fun things about LAN parties, one of which was hearing a scream of outrage from another room after you killed someone in the game while you were playing Halo. There’s nothing quite like it.
8. Bury Me Not
Perhaps it’s not the cheeriest subject, but that time will come for us all eventually. What ritual could be interred with the Millennial generation? Burials. There is a movement born and nurtured by alternative morticians to find a more Earth-friendly and less costly way to dispose of people’s remains.
It has grown over the years since the mid-aughts. It seeks to bring back traditional forms of burial with green funerals and home funerals to avoid using harsh embalming chemicals and staging expensive public ceremonies.
On a lighter note, or maybe not, this Millennial stated, “When I’m dead, throw me in the trash.” A different user groaned, “Great, now I need a subscription for death.”
9. Is A House A Home?
Casually mentioning that you belong to House Stark or House Targaryen has happened recently, but the fear here is that claiming to be a member of a fictional house might stop when Millennials have shuffled off this mortal coil.
For example, an adult Harry Potter fan said, “I saw a kid wearing a Ravenclaw t-shirt, and I almost went, ‘Oh heck yeah, Ravenclaw!’ Then I remembered I was thirty and didn’t need to talk to random children.”
10. On A More Serious Note
The 9/11 Attack was one of the most tragic events in US history, but it happened over 20 years ago. Unfortunately, many users commenting on the thread were children when it happened or were born after the tragedy and have no memory of their own about it.
The particularly terrible memory that comes with having lived through the event and watching it on TV isn’t something that Gen Z understands. To them, it happened to other people, and they don’t feel as strongly as older generations.
Some forum members were children when the attacks occurred and shared memories of watching the Towers fall live on television or from rooftops in New Jersey. Others shared memories of family members they worried about or who assisted victims and city dwellers on that day and didn’t come home for a while.
Contrast the Millennial reaction with one from Gen Z, where Covid is a more recent tragedy.
“At least for me, 9/11 is such a blip in the history of bad things that have happened during my life that it’s hard for me to care about it anymore, but around four thousand people died. More people died from Covid in a single day many times in the last couple of years, and over a million have been killed in the US overall.”