In today’s digital age, it’s easy to get somewhat addicted to the benefits of technology. We can access information whenever we need it, stream music with ease, and contact hundreds of friends in a matter of minutes.
Yet while our pre-digital lives weren’t blessed with such immediacy, most would agree that it was a time when things felt… simpler.
From physical photo albums to leather-bound notebooks, there’s plenty to miss from the days when “facetime” meant seeing someone in person and “tweets” were the sounds birds make.
Well, your nostalgia needn’t be in vain. Everything that existed back in the day still exists now — and it’s fairly easy to reintroduce most of the greatest pre-digital relics into your daily life.
Let’s look at a few of our favorites:
Not mini-laptops… we’re talking old-school writing pads, journals, diaries – the real OGs of the notebook world.
Although many of us still use these handy little thought-logs for work-related admin, it’s more common today to jot down any reminders, lists or other pieces of information into the ‘notes’ app on our phones.
And while there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, it’s worth remembering that a good, old-fashioned notebook could do the trick just as well – if not better.
The process of writing down important information is an excellent way to focus, and internalize what you’re writing. And it’s a far more considered method than quickly typing notes as you go.
2) Alarm Clocks
Remember a time when you didn’t go to bed with your phone sitting by your side? Our cellphones have become an extension of ourselves, and without them – and their all-too-convenient alarm clock apps – most of us would probably turn up late to work each day.
But beyond the morning alarm, a phone at your bedside can become a real distraction. It’s often difficult to get to sleep when your phone is tempting you with social media, addictive games and constantly-refreshing news feeds.
The best way to beat this temptation is to remove it. If you manage to regain control of your sleep, keep your phone downstairs and replace it with a stand-alone alarm clock – it might just work wonders for your overall energy levels when you get out of bed.
3) Photo albums
There was once a time — not so long ago — when a photo album would be handed down, generation to generation, as a precious heirloom. These cherished time capsules were bursting at the seams (sometimes literally) with birthday shots, holiday snaps and family memories.
Although we probably take more photos than ever before today – we don’t store them in such a keepsake fashion. Instead, the highlight reel of our lives tends to exist only on our phones, in the cloud and scattered all over social media.
And social media feeds don’t conjure up that pleasant nostalgia you used to experience with photo albums. By turning back the clock, and keeping your memories safe in a classic physical album, you can recapture that feeling.
Ok, so CDs aren’t exactly “pre-digital”… but you don’t really need to go all the way back to record players to capture the joy of physically “seeing” the music you’re about to play.
If you were born in the nineties, you might be a member of the last generation for whom CD purchases were an ordinary experience. Albums are still sold in an increasingly rare number of stores — but most people nowadays simply stream their favorite artist’s latest release on the go.
While this has undeniable benefits, there’s a lot to miss about collecting physical albums from musicians we love. To have a drawer, shelf or cabinet filled with an artist’s entire discography is the pinnacle of fandom – and it’s a real time-loop through our ever-changing music tastes, too.
The convenience of streaming is undeniable — but if you really want a pop-culture memento from the past, why not invest in a physical copy of your favorite album, this year?
In time, it’ll become a meaningful reminder of a certain phase in your life — just like all your CDs from the 90s.
In the same vein as the above, there’s nothing quite like turning the pages of one of your favorite, long-remembered books.
There’s something captivating about the feel, smell and authenticity of each turning page, as you delve into a world that isn’t your own. And that little bit of storytelling magic has become something of an endangered relic in our digital times.
That’s sad, because physical books are keepsake reminders of stories we love, and contain precious thoughts, feelings and emotions in each crinkled page. They’re also one of the best ways to support your favorite authors, as well as independent bookshop owners.
As with a family photo album, books – over time – can become family mementos, passed down from one generation to the next.
So, buck the trend and buy the book you’ve always wanted to own. You won’t regret it!
6) Life without screens
This isn’t really a physical relic so much as a behavioral one — but life without screens is something most of us probably look back on fairly fondly.
From phones to laptops, TVs to tablets – it’s hard to escape the constant stream of content that our screens provide.
Whether it’s to relax and switch off, to escape the news, or simply give our eyes a much-needed rest: we could all do with a bit of genuine downtime away from pixels.
But with our lives ever-dependent on the technology they house, will we ever – truly – be screen-free, again?
Well: if you set aside a few minutes per day – gradually increasing, week-by-week – there are a number of ways you can free yourself from today’s technology-obsessed culture. (We wrote more about that here.)
Time to turn back time?
From notepads to books, clocks to photo albums – perhaps it’s time to rewind the decades, and reintroduce these six pre-digital relics to your lives.
For their simplicity, tradition and keepsake value, we think there’s a lot to be said for dialing down the tech and going old-school.
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