People Imagine What Society Will Be Most Nostalgic For In 40 Years

Nostalgia is a funny thing. It can make us think back fondly on things that, at the time you hated. It can make things precious to you when, at the time, you totally took them for granted.

With our current lives being as bonkers as they are in 2020, the question of nostalgia becomes a bit more complicated. One reddit user asked:

In 40 years what will people be nostalgic for?

And we'll be honest, some of this seems like romanticizing inconvenience (looking at you, "flipping channels" response.) but some of this really got us thinking. Will we miss some of the ripple effects of this pandemic? Will there be a time when stars are harder to see? In 40 yrs will Trump be looked back on as a wacky old grandpa?

Here are some of the more popular responses.


I think YouTube. Like how us 80/90s babies miss early Nickelodeon and Saturday morning cartoons I think future generations will miss the unlimited content.

- StonerLB

Yeah, I don't dislike the stuff that's on there now [well, other than the obligatory ads], but there was definitely a DIY quality to a lot of the older YouTube videos. Now they all seem like professional productions, which again isn't bad, but it's just different.

- chewytime

I already miss the early days of YouTube where you had friends instead of followers and you rated videos out of 5 stars and you could directly reply to vids with other vids sigh the good ol' days

Oh and the algorithm was actually good! God knows why they messed with that, I used to spend hours on there stuck in a tunnel, now I watch 1 vid and I'm done.

- Artaxxx

Privacy Please

black and white goodbye GIF by FilmStruckGiphy


If the governments do it "right", they'll slowly erode people's privacy rights, and few if any will notice or complain.

In fact, it's already working. Congress renewed the Patriot Act last November, and the Senate voted this year to allow the CIA and FBI the ability to view US citizen browser history without a warrant. Do you remember either event being seriously covered in major media outlets, and do you remember any mass public outcry? Me neither.

Many people are repeatedly bringing up private data collection by companies. This is also a serious issue, and it's not mutually exclusive. Both problems need to be fixed.

- EndoShota

Gaming Through The Years

"Back in my days we used videogames with controllers!"

- AmaterasuWolf21

I was talking to my sons the other day, they asked me about my first job.

I was telling them how fun it was working at McDonald's in high school and a friend that I made.

"We would finish our shift then go to the mall and play games at the arcade"

At that instant I realized I might as well said "We would get a root beer float at the soda shop then go to the sock hop to meet some girls in our hot rods"

Crazy how fast things change

- 4mygirljs

Stealing A Simple Joy

Poppable bubble wrap.

- armyofmoose9

In case you haven't seen, there is now bubble wrap that will not pop. All the bubbles are connected and have plenty of free space. It's bad.

- markhasnodad

I hate that bubble wrap that the air just moves to the next bubble when you try to pop it. That stuff should be illegal.

- mynextthrowaway

From somebody who likes to pop bubble wrap,

what. In the fcking hell. Did you just say?

- thoseepicpokemons

If you are taking about what I think you are taking about, it is technically more effective because it is cushioned but doesn't pop. But I found out that you can pop it by bunching up one row of them and squeezing. It honestly just as satisfying if not more, in my opinion, once you learn how to do it. Safer transport and better popping

- AndyWR10

High Quality Guns

High quality nerf blasters

- NyeGuyTheBillNye

Nerf no longer makes anything worth buying unless you think it looks nice in my opinion. If you are not already, buy all your blasters and darts from Dart Zone!

- got-milk74

Kind of related... what happened to good super soakers?

When I was a kid we had super soakers that you pumped up and they stored air pressure in a tank, then you could shoot a consistent water stream.

Now when I see kids play with "super soakers", the guns don't seem to have a pressure tank. The gun fires on every pump. It doesn't store pressure.

What the hell. That's obviously a downgrade.

I think I saw something once that said it was related to a patent dispute or something?

- redditor1983

This is so true. They used to be the sh!t, and now they are just ... sh!t. They literally glue their blasters now, and use plastic springs instead of actual springs!


Aww, A Wholesome Answer

We just spent 5 months with family. Having dinners together, watching TV together, playing games, just being a family. Kids are going to grow up remembering the time they had with their parents and siblings. There will be good memories.

Adults forget how resilient kids are. I can guarantee most of the adults complaining about getting "back to normal" would love to go back and have just 1 month with there dad playing catch or watching TV.

- LTJoe86


40 years ago was 1980. I was a teenager.

If that question had been asked then, some very similar answers would have been given:

  • clean air, clean water, clean earth
  • non-radioactive land (between Three Mile Island and the getting hot Cold War, we thought there was a pretty good chance of some kind of nuclear apocalypse)
  • various species of animals (neither the California Condor nor the American Buffalo, among others, were looking too good)
  • there was some general fear about computers and what they could/would do (see films like 1983's Wargames)

And yet, here we are. A little better in some aspects and a little worse than others. 2020 is quite a downer of a year, but human beings are endlessly optimistic and adaptable.

I predict in 40 years we'll look back on some of our fears today like 80's folks look back on things like Genesis' "Land of Confusion" video - a little nostalgic, a little embarrassed and a little humbled by both how much and how little has changed.

- pcnauta

Adventures On Internet

The Internet.

Hell, I'm nostalgic for it now. Not the final form that the internet has taken over the past decade or so, but those wild west days before youtube, facebook, social media, reddit. Finding weird sites, geocities pages, looking up cheat codes for GTA, hanging out on forums, seeing something go truly grassroots viral and not just because it's trending on instagram or something. Those days when no company knew what the hell the internet was or how to market on it, it was just left to the nerds and the kids who were making up the rules as they went along.

I miss when the internet felt like a little adventure rather than a timesink or utilitarian tool to get the day to day done.

- shawnisboring

Physical Media

Movie DVDs. With everything going digital, I think production houses will soon stop making DVDs and just start streaming the movies in either their respective streaming platforms or sell them to other platforms like Netflix.

- a_guy_named_guy

I like physical Movies, CDs, Books, and Video games. I'm 16. Sure digital is more convenient. But some reason i like to HOLD my possessions. Plus being able to save movies/cds to my computer and "lending them" to my pals.

- FlamngVikavolt

Sea Snacks

Sea Jesus GIF by Nate MakuchGiphy

Seafood. There won't be anything left in 40 years

I get that there will be some sort of sea life clinging on to eat. My point is nobody will be eating halibut and tuna on the regular because we killed 90% of them

- qpv

Factory farming fish's calling, they want you to quit your bs! Jokes aside, we'll always have fish. They're the easiest animal to farm that way, and they're ecological, too. You can even hook them up to hydroponics.

The future is, if not lab grown meat, fish and chips.

- Lorenzo_BR

Flipping Aimlessly

Flipping through cable aimlessly not really sure what will be on any channel and just going til you hit something decent. The place I'm at now has free cable included and sometimes I'll waste hours just flipping through. It feels just like the early 2000s again and is a crazy throwback feeling to watching TV before everything was on apps and on demand. You kinda forget you used to watch TV by finding the channel, and how you felt like you just found five bucks if you happen to catch a good episode rerun of one of your favorite sitcoms late at night when most of the channels were doing late night infomercials.

Or how if you couldn't find anything good so you'd just sit there and watch an infomercial about bowflexes for half an hour. And watching the news air on TV instead of getting news through YouTube videos or posts on social media. If you wanted to know whether it was gonna rain that weekend you had to wait til the news cycled back to the weatherman every 20 minutes or so.

Having to plan bathroom sprints around commercial breaks so you didn't miss a big play during a big championship game. The experience of watching porn by cinemax late at night when everyone else in the house was asleep. Planning your whole afternoon around getting all your errands done by dinnertime so you could catch Jeopordy or Judge Judy. Watching cooking shows in your underwear and trying to write down a recipe and getting mad because you missed a step and its live so you cant rewind it like you can now with DVR or on demand.

- sushi_and_wrestling

Having A Social Life

Playing physical games with friends.

Going to friends' houses to play basketball/soccer and a few video games, and then have a sleep over.

Socializing to the extend even the youngest here have experienced.

- semeon_

Why wouldn't they do that! Human contact will never go old. We are saying that kids today are always on their phones etc, but we are, too, and kids today are still playing on the streets and with sticks and riding bicycles and everything. We tend to be cynical about "kids today", like every generation.

- [reddit]

At The Mall

Honestly probably malls. I feel like a lot of them are going out of business and getting torn down. Well at least the old mall experience.

- BalakayyTheGoat

I loved going to Hot Topic and Claire's and Spencer's as a kid and going to the food court for an Orange Julius but today if I go to a mall I just see a bunch of overpriced stuff that I don't want to spend money on. It's a lot easier when you're 13 and spending your parents money lol.

- w1nd0wpane

You might have something like the World Showcase at Epcot. There could be a era-specific mall-themed recreation, a disco-themed recreation, a blockbuster video...

- TemperPeeDick


The night sky.

By that time, Musk, Bezos, and god knows who else, will have hundreds of thousands of satellites in orbit. Our cities will have doubled in size, and urban sprawl will cause further light pollution. Stargazing will be something future generations will only hear stories about...

- iron40

For me, the night sky has always been black with white dots. I was mesmerized by just how many dots there were when i was out on the lake i mentioned with my grandfather, on his boat. It was, what, 40km out, at the end of a bay? Something like that. But it was still just... black with white dots. Yet, i must've spent 20-30 minutes just looking up on that folding chair... i felt like a kid, stargazing again!

I've seen the pictures of how it's meant to look like, they're everywhere, the ones that look like you're just looking out in space, y'know? But I've never seen it in person. I wonder how far away from cities i'd have to go... clearly further out.

- Lorenzo_BR

Strawberries and Vanilla

Strawberry & cream or vanilla bean Starbucks Frappuccino's. I made soooo many in college for hordes of teens. It will be the pop tarts and eggs waffles of 2010.

- mtbbebe


I don't wanna live in the world where someone says "Don't you miss 2020, it was simpler time"

- Franka035

Or the reality in my state, which is people being laid off, going on 5 months now, and not receiving ANY unemployment benefits they are qualified for this whole time, Because Oregon.

Or the essential workers like me, some of whom might have had temporary wage bumps, but in my case, I made the same hourly wage while having my hours cut for about 4 months. Now my hours are closer to normal, but it's because we somehow have a staffing shortage, so I'm doing twice the work, again, for the same wage. And I'm just a bank janitor; I have it real easy compared to most.

I'm just glad I'm not in a customer-facing position, so I don't have to deal with all the ratlickers throwing public tantrums over masks, and I'm not in healthcare, so I don't have to watch a dozen people die every day.

No, I don't think grocery workers and nurses and teachers are going to look back at this time and miss it much.


The Movies

A small local theatre near me just shut down for good, and I can't express how disappointed I'd be if the movie theater industry just never pops back up after this pandemic. Some of my best childhood memories are from the the movie theaters.

- DoctorDonut0

The Golden Hour

Privacy and the ability to go somewhere without seeing 75 cameras all the time.

Went to the beach today and no one was in the water except for me and my friend. Everyone else was waiting for "golden hour" in their dry beachwear so they could get good selfies.

- BarryWeasley

An Expensive Hobby

Combustion cars being mainstream. I'm a petrol head who isn't rich, so storing away an assortment of petrol motors isn't viable.

- HowHardCanItBeReally

A Vampire's Perspective 

The harpsichord ...hell I already am but I'm a vampire so I guess that makes sense... don't know what I do without my spooky Jams playlist.

- AdventurousSelf471

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