Life as we know it has changed drastically in the last decade alone. Just think about how far cell phones and technology have come since 2007.

Adapting to how the times have changed can be a challenge at any age. Even millennials have a tendency to cling to 1990’s nostalgia and what they perceive as simpler times. (Ha.)

When progression accelerates at alarming rates, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and lose track of how far we’ve come just in the past half century.


How times have changed over the last 50 years

From communication to housing, lots of things have changed over time and they show no signs of stopping.


1. Communication and technology

With social media, it’s easier than ever to stay connected with friends, family members, and key people of interest from anywhere in the world.

Thanks to smartphones, people now have access to news from multiple sources and viewpoints in the palm of their hand. People have never had more options for communicating with others and getting their voices heard.


2. Expression

People don’t feel the need to bottle up their feelings any longer. It’s common place now for folks to say exactly what’s bothering them or speak out when they feel hurt.

To people from earlier generations, this assertiveness can come off as lashing out and creates quite a generational culture gap.


3. Mental health

Just over 50 years ago, mental health treatment included invasive methods like lobotomies and inpatient treatment facilities.

Now, people can speak up about depression and anxiety without fear of social stigma or drastic consequences. Counseling and therapy have become readily accessible for people dealing with mental health issues.


4. Globalization

Economies and politics function as one big global entity – every country is interconnected with one another.

Countries rely on each other for labor, materials, manufacturing, and markets. No one is isolated from the global economy. If something happens in one country, it has a ripple effect around the rest of the world.


5. Labor change over time

Despite the workforce doubling in the past 50 years, union membership and labor organizing is at an all-time low. In the 50’s, about one third of the labor force belonged to a union. Now, less than 11% of workers have representation.

The rise of the gig economy and employee status as independent contractors haven’t made workplace organizing any easier. Today, most unionized workers belong to government positions in healthcare and social services rather than traditional blue-collar jobs.


6. The workplace

Workplaces have become more fluid and flexible. Instead of soul-sucking cubicles, employees can spend their time in open air spaces with natural light. Lots of employees are able to work remotely and sometimes rent shared workspaces in urban areas.

Unfortunately, the blue-collar sector hasn’t seen as many changes to improve workplace comfort that flourishes throughout the tech and white-collar sector.


7. Financing and investments

After the 2008 recession, people are looking for new ways to invest and secure their money outside the standard banking system.

Will cryptocurrencies like bitcoin shake the USD? That remains to be seen. But these new currencies are very real (as much as they can be) and probably won’t go away anytime soon even if their dollar value decreases.


8. Living situations

Owning a home simply isn’t an option for people struggling to pay off student loans and rent in urban areas has skyrocketed. Many people instead choose to rent affordable housing or share living spaces with roommates.

People no longer want to feel tied down in one location stuck with a home they may not be able to sell for a fair price. Folks now opt for flexibility and versatility when it comes to housing. Some people even opt to move off the grid entirely.


9. Marriage and children

People are waiting longer to have children – if they decide to at all.  Marriage and children are major life changing commitments.

Instead of jumping into marriage straight out of college or high school, people are waiting until they have stable incomes and are fully mentally prepared to become parents.

10. Music and culture

Of all the things that have changed over time, music continues to change on nearly a daily basis and shows no signs of slowing down.

The digital revolution has completely changed music and culture in a very short period of time. You’ll be hard pressed to find music that doesn’t involve electronic distortions or creations. As for culture? Well, it’s all about the memes.


Dealing with progression and change over time

Looking back at things that have changed over time, it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed. You can’t change progression. Instead, just go with the flow.

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