Things have changed a lot over the last 100 years due to society and the way we act, think and feel in general.
Some major differences between the way we live now and the lifestyle just a century ago include the way we relate to one another, the education we get, the way we take care of ourselves, and the way we use technology.
Even love and money has a very different meaning today than it did back then. So, how was life different back then compared to today?
1. Love & Relationships.
Love a hundred years ago was very conservative, and it was rarely spoken about openly. Marriage and romantic relationships were also handled with a certain amount of formality. Being in a relationship used to be seen as a prelude to marriage. And marriage itself had a certain sanctity that was protected by society in general.
At present, because of the changing culture and the Internet, we handle love and relationships much more casually. Men and women spend time together without being married or even being in a dating relationship. And it is not seen as weird or improper!
Living with someone to decide whether they have marriage potential or not has also become quite common.
2. Health & Personal Care.
In years past, people had a pretty good chance of dying by their 50th birthday.
According to medical historians and health care professionals, hospital experiences included lengthy stays, severe blind spots in prevention and a lack of patient respect. It might be hard to believe, but marijuana, heroin and morphine were all available over the counter at local drug stores.
People didn’t make too much of a big deal about personal hygiene either.
Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub; and most women only washed their hair once a month using Borax or egg yolks as their shampoo.
Today, we are taller; but we’re also fatter than ever. We also live longer than before. These gains have not been universal; but the average life expectancy in the world’s least developed countries is still about 61. Thanks to technological advances, the length of hospital stays for recovery from procedures has declined substantially.
The emergence of the nurse practitioner has also lifted a great deal of burden from the responsibilities of doctors – like prescribing medications, diagnosing diseases, and initiating treatment. In our present time, we are totally obsessed with hygiene and personal care.
We shower daily, brush our teeth twice a day, remove unwanted hair; and wouldn’t dare to leave the house without deodorant. People these days make a stink – literally, if they smell the dreaded B.O. In today’s society nobody wants to be around someone who hasn’t showered in a while.
A century ago, children were lucky to be able go to school, and they loved it because it was either school, or work.
School clothes, teachers, classrooms, learning and homework were much stricter and harder. However, only about 10 percent of high school students actually graduated.
Most students ended up leaving school between the ages of 12-14, and started working in order to help support their families. Nowadays graduating high school is more of an expectation, rather than a privilege. And society tends to view higher education more as a commodity to purchase and list on a résumé.
Students learn from their teachers, each other, the Internet, books, movies, and from people in other countries.
They ask questions, wonder, explore, experiment and investigate new ideas. They make online global connections and learn about faraway places directly from people who live in them!
A hundred years ago money was important, but it wasn’t the cornerstone of everyone’s life. You could get a handful of candy for a penny, a pound of sugar for 4 cents, and a dozen eggs for about 14 cents.
In the past, people spent about half of their money on food and clothes. But, they also stored basic items, and had more access to fresh foods and raw materials – so that they could make things work without having to hire professionals or pay inflated rates at every turn.
Over the century, inflation has definitely taken its toll. If every year it feels like everything is costing a little more while portions are getting smaller, it isn’t your imagination!
Nowadays there is so much more profit being made on everything, and people are dependent on manufactured products now more than ever. Today, most of us end up spending more than half of our income on housing and transportation alone!
5. Women’s Rights.
Back in the early 1900s, having a career as a woman was almost unheard of.
Women were expected to stay at home, take care of the children and let their husbands bring home the paycheck.
Most of them were dominated by the man of the house; providing whatever the man dictated: Women were also seen as the weaker sex. However, during the war, women stepped up to fill men’s vacant jobs. Of course, they were expected to return to their domestic roles when the men returned from the war, but the cause was already underway.
One thing women 100 years ago and women today have in common is the need for independence. And women have made a lot of progress towards equality in the workplace as well as advocating for higher education.
Women these days are not necessarily staying home; most of them are out earning money or have a successful career. Today’s women are just as career-driven as their male counterparts, and have just as many opinions to voice about society.
The evolution of fashion is rather fascinating. A hundred years ago, men’s trousers were worn cuffed to ankle-length and creased.
Skirts rose from floor length to well above the ankle, and women began to bob their hair, and they wore shoes with heels that featured a slight curve.
While our garments, footwear and hairstyles have changed quite a bit over the century, certain styles have remained. Such as the All Star Non Skid classic converse shoe. It hit the markets in 1917, and has remained essentially unchanged. It’s still a very popular choice for many teenagers and young adults alike.
Besides wearing converse shoes, we have much more choices and freedom in the way we dress today than folks in the past. We are able to create our own unique individual styles with the clothes, shoes and hairstyles we choose to wear.
Whether we prefer a classic look, business attire, sporty or casual outfits, an alternative style, or fearlessly rock that hipster look! The possibilities are nearly endless.
In the early 1900s people loved music and dancing, just as much as we do today. Every household that could afford a piano, had one; and the daughters of the house would learn to play and sing so they could entertain family and friends.
The theatre was popular, as was the circus and the music hall, where different acts would perform. Including singers, comedians, dancers, acrobats and more.
Ballet and Opera were also admired, but would have been more expensive and probably appealed more to the upper classes. Both sexes enjoyed riding bicycles, and automobiles were also gaining popularity among those who could afford them.
Playing games like tennis and golf were common ways to pass time. And of course, football and baseball were popular with men just like they are now. Today we get to play high tech video games, enjoy virtual reality and video chat. We can go skydiving, paragliding and bungee jumping.
We go to bars, nightclubs, music festivals, and casinos, and we get to travel the world. We have a ton of contacts on Social Media and we particularly like meeting peopleonline. We have entertainment and information available at our fingertips; we read books and magazines on our tablets.
We binge-watch movies and our favourite shows on Netflix, and get to entertain each other on platforms like YouTube. We can also shop online around the clock.
8. Technology & Invention.
A hundred years ago for the first time, a human voice was successfully transmitted by radio from a plane in flight to an operator on the ground. The first two-color (red and green) system – Technicolor, was incorporated to develop and commercialize color motion pictures.
And the major tech invention in 1917 was the toggle light switch! Since then, we not only put about 2300 satellites in space, but we also landed on the moon and put robots on Mars.
We fly drones and we’re making strides in artificial intelligence, robotics, sensors, networks, synthetic biology, materials science, genome editing, space exploration and much more every day. We also get to enjoy the Internet, use smartphones and tablets; and we can easily communicate by sending emails and texts anywhere, anytime.
Farms used to be small, and they were often remote and isolated. The families of the farmers took care of the land and lived off of their farm. The crops were diverse and monocultures were nowhere to be found.
Farms raised pigs, sheep, cows and chickens knowing that these animals were vital to the success of their crops. The rise of machine labor just started to make its impact on local farms. Farmers often faced the perils of drought, crop failure and diseases.
These factors were prevalent in all farms, and every farmer knew that some loss was inevitable. As a result of plant science and other innovations, agriculture has progressed tremendously over the past 100 years. However, farms are becoming more like factories: tightly controlled operations for turning out reliable products, immune as far as possible from the vagaries of nature.
Due to better understanding of DNA, the plants and animals raised on a farm are also tightly controlled. Precise genetic manipulation, known as “genome editing technology”, makes it possible to change a crop or stock animal’s genome.
These technological improvements promise to boost farmers’ profits, by cutting costs and increasing yield, and ultimately benefit consumers in the form of lower prices. Yet concerns have also been voiced about the use of genome editing in agriculture.
One worry is that this technology may put increasing power in the hands of giant agribusiness companies primarily concerned with maximizing short-term profit – and not about long-term effects on human health, animal welfare, or the environment.
Between now and 2050 the planet’s population is likely to rise from 7.5 to 9.7 billion. Those people will need to eat, however they will probably want to eat better than we do now…
What do YOU think? Are people happier with life today vs 100 years ago? And how will humans 100 years from now live?