20 Things We Rely On Today That Didn’t Even Exist 20 Years Ago

Those old enough to remember what life was like 20 years ago sound like they lived in the Stone Age. Imagine watching music videos on… TV! What? Why? When you can just hop on YouTube? It’s insane to think of all we have today and all the things that didn’t exist 20 years ago.

Back then we also met people IRL instead of swiping, had to call for food delivery, and we only got cupcakes on birthdays. Times, they have changed. Let’s take a look at all the things that didn’t exist 20 years ago that we’d basically ~die~ without today. A little overdramatic, but you get what we’re saying. Calling instead of texting. Okay, grandma.

1. iPhones

iPhone may have “phone” in its name but we all know that’s just a facade. We barely use that function. Instead, it’s the device that holds our lives in its addicting glow. iPhones have become more like our BFFs that keep us connected to the world, help us take selfies for Instagram, help us get home, and so much more. 20 years ago, only the very luckiest had cell phones — and they didn’t even invent Snake until 1998. Like, what was even the point?

2. Spotify

There are maybe 10 physical CDs I had to keep during spring cleaning. When I say “had to keep” I mean they are under my bed because…memories. I’m sure most of you are the same way. Why have actual albums in hand when just about every song under the sun is on Spotify? Exactly. Music streaming most definitely tore down the music industry in many ways, but it made it way convenient to listen. Also, even ten years ago we were paying 99 cents per song. Seems like madness…

3. Kardashian Drama

Two decades ago Kim Kardashian and the others were still just the family of the man who helped O.J. Simpson walk free. We like to think we would have been okay with it staying like that. We’d be lying. Even when you say you don’t care, you care. You click articles with their name’s because for some sick reason… YOU HAVE TO KNOW! We get it, girl. We do the same thing. Oo, Kylie Jenner is preggers?! Let me read these five articles about it. We’ve been there.

4. Social Media

Even though social media can feel like the worst when your aunt is posting inspirational quotes or when someone goes on about some political rant that’s tempting you to engage, it’s pretty crazy to think that even MySpace wasn’t around 20 years ago. As annoying as social media can get sometimes, we all live for it. It keeps us connected to others while keeping us up to date about what’s going on in the world. In 1997, we had to read newspapers and print magazines to learn stuff about the world. How old-school is that?

5. Tinder

Seriously, HOW did people date in the ’90s? Nights out trying to “get some” is a thing of the past. Meeting someone in real life before you date them is as antique as your grandma’s creepy doll collection. Swiping through countless people on dating apps like Tinder… and Bumble… and Hinge… and OkCupid… and Coffee Meets Bagel… is the future. (Seriously, why are there so many? Wouldn’t it be better for us to have it all in one place?) It’s not the most authentic way to meet someone and is basically to blame for the existence of catfishing, but online dating is here in a BIG WAY and it’s what we’re doing right now.

6. Pinterest

Huh?! We thought we were crafty back in the day, then in walked the world of Pinterest. That site is the DIY Mecca. Now there is not a project that comes about without a quick look at Pinterest for inspiration. With Pinterest, the children’s birthday parties, Halloween costumes, and weddings were transformed into the most aesthetic events ever.

7. A Marvel Movie Every Five Seconds

Once upon a time, a movie was a movie and that was that. Sometimes there was a sequel but we kind of just let them stand alone. Marvel felt the need to take over the box office with an expansive movie universe. Each movie connects with another in some way. Just when you think they don’t, in walks another character to set up the next five movies. Today, we’re not surprised to hear that there are a dozen Marvel movies coming out the next year. In fact, we just expect it.

8. Podcasts

We’re not sure how people survived long drives and office jobs without podcasts. In all honesty, we don’t want to think about that being a reality again. With a million and one things people can and will talk about, there are triple that many podcasts out there.

9. Netflix

HA! Just thinking about watching ONE episode of a new show and walking away. At this point, it seems nightmare-ish. Netflix transformed the way people take in TV. The idea of binge-watching was born with it. Since then we’ve watched Netflix grow to be a constant in all of our lives. Plus, without it, we wouldn’t have Stranger Things and that, too, is something we admittingly rely on.

10. Crowdfunding

There’s a crowdfunding site for pretty much everything now. Kickstarter has helped companies launch while MedGift helps many with medical assistance and GoFundMe for pretty much any financial need you could think of. I guess crowdfunding was a thing in the past… except it was in the form of bake sales and raffle nights at the local community center, or going door-to-door (which, hello — dangerous!). Now, it’s all virtual (and much less awkward). We like our new way better.

11. Airbnb

Staying at a stranger’s house was cool in the ’60s and ’70s. Then came the ’80s and ’90s and it was confirmed not a good idea. It was actually considered really freaking weird. We suspect America’s Most Wanted and Unsolved Mysteries had a lot to do with that. Now? Having a stranger stay in your home brings in the bacon! Airbnb is the cheaper alternative to shelling out way too much to stay in a hotel and risk picking up bed bugs. Plus, you know it’s safe from all the other AirBnb’rs reviews.

12. Yelp

There used to be a time when you’d just ask your friends if a restaurant was worth checking out. Today we rely on strangers for that information. It’s no longer just for recommendations on where to grab dinner, either. People review any and everything on Yelp. I once read a man’s review of a local strip mall. Bottom line, we don’t go anywhere without checking Yelp first. 20 years ago? You were going in blind to restaurants!

13. YouTube

Video killed the radio star, and YouTube killed the video star. Karma, it’s not the kindest thing in the world. We can’t really put all the blame on YouTube though. MTV was already turning its back on music before the video platform took absolute control. Now YouTube isn’t just music or a dramatic chipmunk. It’s where we watch movie trailers, TV clips, news reports and more.

14. WiFi

WiFi was actually introduced to consumers 20 years ago but it wasn’t anything like it is today. Today it’s EVERYWHERE. From our homes to our jobs to our gyms and coffee shops. Thank goodness for that, though, because if you had to grow up with dial-up, you know the struggle. You survived a rough patch in regards to technology. That sound of dial-up still haunts those of us who know the horror of slow internet connections.

15. Cupcake Shops

This may come to a shock for some, but cupcake shops weren’t always the norm. Yes, there were bakeries but a store dedicated to only one type of deserts? Weird. That all changed when Sprinkles Cupcakes opened its doors in 2005. It proved that people would wait in very long lines to have a pricey dessert. After that, shops started popping up all over the place.

16. Google Maps

If you can fold a paper map, we may assume you’re some kind of wizard. Even those who lived before the internet have a hard time with that. MapQuest definitely was a miracle when it came to be, but you still had to print out the dang directions. Paper was fully tossed aside with Google Maps. Directions are now just a click away.

17. Ride Shares

If you said you had a “side hustle” 20 years ago you may have wound up in jail. Now? We all assume you work an array of odd jobs, Uber/Lyft included. While we feel horrible that cab drivers started to lose business, we love how affordable getting around without a car is now because of ride sharing. Also, the fact that you don’t have to worry about assigning one of your BFFs as the designated driver before a night out is pretty dang convenient.

18. Beyoncé

Yes, we understand that Beyoncé Knowles was alive in 1997, but she wasn’t the Queen for a while. Heck, Destiny’s Child didn’t even make noise in our world on a grand level until 1998. Now? The group is no more (forever in our hearts) but we have something even better; Beyoncé. Imagine our world without the grace and prowess of that woman. It’d be a catastrophe. We need Queen Bey in our lives for fashion, music, female empowerment, and so much more. We’d be lost without her.

19. Adulting

When you were an adult and didn’t know how to change a car tire back then, you were just inept. Now? You’re just bad at “adulting.” That term has come to encompass things we should know how to do as grown-ups, but are somehow clueless about. We rely on the cute sound of “adulting” to excuse ourselves from remaining somewhat clueless.

20. Unlimited Texting

Back in the day, texting was a luxury. No, for real. Remember when texts cost money to send? And you could go over your limits? We lived in a world where you couldn’t send your friends a barrage of messages filled with emojis without facing a horrific bill at the end of the month. Picture messages even cost extra as recently as the late-2000s. Thus, 20 years ago people would just call their friends to talk. On a landline. Now we don’t even think about that horror as just about every provider has done away with the texting limit.

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