People Reflect On The Most Defining Moments Of Their Generation
Photo by Dale de Vera on Unsplash

What have we lived through? Millennials, one of the most controversial generations coming of age in the early part of the 2000s, have been through quite a bit. Two major financial crises, a pandemic, a race war, among several other major traumatic events have defined the lifetimes of the first 21st-century generation.

Every generation, though, lives through its traumas and its times for celebration. These things fully shape and define the generation, as they take the scars and the resources given to them by the times.

It becomes a part of their story personally, as well as on the world stage.


Redditor incrementaler asked:

"What is something your generation got to experience that no other generation will be able to experience?"

Here were some of those answers.

The Time Before Flight Danger

"Going up in the cockpit to meet the pilots. Thanks terrorist, ruined it for everyone." -faceeatingleopard

"When I was a child, I got to see the cockpit and meet the pilot. I inadvertently left my stuffed toy there. He got to go on a world tour in the cockpit before coming back here and being mailed back to us."

"I still have this world-travelled toy today, in a closet somewhere. It was such a different time..." -Astillius

Hiding In The Age Of Public Life

"I volunteered with the detectives at a police substation around the beginning of 2011 when many people still had public profiles and checking in to locations was still pretty new."

"I was able to find a number of suspects they had been searching for when those individuals checked in to different places."

"I get that criminals are dumb, but 'Hey everyone, I'm here,' was a special kind of dumb."- Xannin

We've Become Afraid

"80s kid here. Leaving the house at sunrise to wander around aimlessly wherever I pleased coming back for lunch, and then doing the same thing until it gets dark."

"That will never happen again in the United States, not on any large scale at least." -humorous_anecdote

"I'm really, really jealous of this. I wasn't allowed to wander at all growing up. I didn't learn to ride a bike till about 17. I'm confused about this though - is it truly that much more dangerous these days, or did people not shelter children as much?"

"As it is, I was pretty much raised on the internet (born early 2000s). I'm sad I never got to experience a time without social media and mobile phones and the expectation of being always contactable." -Ginngerly

It was a time that we will probably never see again--at least, not in the same ways.

90s Kids Only

"Growing up along with the internet evolving. When I was a kid there was no social media and basically no internet. Around my late middle school/early high school years AOL became a thing."

"So we experienced the anonymous internet. Everything was through user names. You connected with people on themed message boards."

"Then came the personal but still a little anonymous part. Programs that let you connect with people you know but still in a semi private way. Things like ICQ, AIM, Xanga, LiveJournal, etc."

"About halfway through high school came the first modern social media: MySpace. Learned a lot about connecting with people, music, etc. It was opening the door to the internet that was connected to your actual person. And all the top 8 drama that went with it."

"When I went to college my first semester I couldn't get on Facebook because my college had not registered with them yet. Spring semester they had. It was a great way to connect with others in my college and stay in touch with friends at other schools."

"Then we got to watch it all grow and become more sinister and become the influencer culture with Instagram and TikTok. Also all the data collection and lack of privacy that seems unimaginable when I think of the early days of anonymity."

"It seriously feels like I grew up along with the internet and got to go through all its phases too. It's been a unique perspective being on both sides of the internet revolution." -dont_blink_angels

Young & Carefree

"Coordinating whose house to hang out at after school over our short time at lunch, defining where you'll meet, how you'll let your parents know, and hoping they wait long enough for you when you get stuck doing something right after your last class."

"Also, living just far away enough from school that walking isn't feasible, yet your parents forgot to get you after your after school activity, but you don't want to head over to your friend's house in case your parent shows up in between the time you head out and when you're able to call."

"So you wait for 2 1/2 hours and then dad shows up and says, 'sorry, forgot.' That's how I got my first cell phone." -FlappyCervix

A Time Before Contact

"Having to schedule things with your friends that either A, was well planned out in advance with very agreed-upon meeting times, or B, waiting around the house to get a phone to call to set up the aforementioned plans."

"Also knowing all of your friends and family phone numbers in your head so you could call from payphones."--febreeze_it_away

Skin Mags At Random

"We were on a weekend Scouting trip and were hiking uphill on a paved road. We were fortunate that the Scoutmaster was up ahead and out of sight because I spotted something over the hill behind a tree."

"We went down to check it out and discovered porn and pints of Iron City beer. Some of us ended up having an especially fun time that weekend. I suppose that we violated several tenants of The Scout Law." -NagromTrebloc

Even though those times in our generation might be over, there are so many exciting new prospects on the horizon.

Odd & Disturbing Moments

"Being left to our own devices as kids. Generation x was weird. Previously there were stay-at-home moms and people in the neighborhood looking out for each other after it was helicopter parenting and play dates."

"For gen x it was like 'good luck doesn't die.' My ex came home when she was 7 and they'd been robbed, she called her mom at work to ask 'where the TV went.'" -friendlessboob

Fascinating To Watch

"Hi, I'm one of the first of Generation Z. I downloaded Minecraft before you could put torches on fences after I played the alpha-version browser demo."

"I was there when YouTube started gaining traction, watching the first viral videos go from a few thousand views to hundreds of thousands around 2009-2012."

"I was a sad kid, developing parasocial relationships to fill the void as I watched my favorite YouTubers go from Machinima to independent content creation."

"I got to see the rise of YouTube legends like Nigahiga, Markiplier, the Yogscast, TotalBiscuit, Jacksepticeye, Captain Sparklez, and SkyDoesMinecraft in real-time." -VergeThySinus

When You Aren't Straight This Never Happens

"Learning about what excites you sexually from books, movies, and actual face-to-face encounters rather than porn and social media."

"The fact that when people have sex now they immediately go to reenacting some emotionally detached pleasure-driven act witnessed in porn rather than exploring each other's bodies and minds and getting to know their sexual identities organically, without the influence of blatant perversion."

"The lack of connection between sexual partners now is sickening, people just use each other and brag about it. Romance died while the perverse thrived and it breaks my heart." -Alternative_Being255

Little relics of time gone by, all captured in the words of people who lived through them. Do you remember any of these times for yourself, or are you of a different generation completely?

On the other side of this, some things have changed for the better. Technology keeps us all connected more often these days, despite the negative side effects. We have a lot more resources at our disposal to keep ourselves and each other safe.

And though the future seems a little freaky, we will get through it together.

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