Many of us tend to roll our eyes at “old-fashioned” ways or ideas. I know I certainly did, especially as a teen!
My grandmother saw no use for a computer or even a telephone answering machine. She never owned a VCR. My mother was computer savvy, but she never could get the hang of a cell phone (she kept waiting for the dial tone). So, in some ways, I understand that modern technology is very useful and, personally, I love little electronic gadgets!
But it is also true that some of those “old-timey” ways are invaluable, no matter how advanced we might become. The older I get, the more I realize this.
In this article, I will examine five old-school ways that can improve our modern way of life. No matter how old you are, no matter how young you are, no matter how much money you make, these still apply to you — and the benefits are enormous.
1. A sound mind in a healthy body.
We’ve all heard similar versions of this. It’s actually more about keeping your priorities straight. Too many of us are so caught up in this busy, modern world of ours that we completely neglect the things our bodies truly need, such as sleep, exercise, playtime and eating right. Especially sleeping and eating right. We eat in our cars, out of boxes or cans. We stay up too late watching the next season of “House of Cards,” eating takeout meals in bed.
Take a minute to look at how you are treating your body and mind. We all need down time, vacation time, family time, and time with friends. We need seven to nine hours of sleep and to eat at least one, if not two, reasonable, wholesome meals each day. We also need some exercise (a minimum of 30 minutes, most days of the week).
Planning can be both a priority and a habit. Fortunately, this is a habit I learned from my father at a very young age. I had age-appropriate chores from the time I was four. You see, there was nothing I loved more than to read by a nearby pond, or to go walking through the neighborhood fields, making friends with all the wildlife and local pets. I would put off my work until the very last minute. Even then, I never seemed to have enough time for everything! I was probably eight or nine when my father took me aside and explained that if I did all my work FIRST, then I would be free to do whatever I wanted with the rest of my day. I found out that he was right. I began doing my work first. As I got older, I learned to write out plans for the week, to be sure everything was finished on time or early, and I still had plenty of time to do what I wanted.
Someone once said that failure to plan is planning to fail. They were absolutely right.
3. Learning to focus.
In the old days, many people were happy to “lend” you their child as your apprentice for seven to 10 years, so that their child would learn a trade and be successful, or at least, self-sufficient. Although seven to 10 years seems like an exorbitant amount of time to us, old-timers knew that it took about that long to really become skilled and experienced at what you do.
So, why does it appear today that many people are inexperienced in their craft, even after 10 years of working at the same job? It’s a lack of focus. Modern-day life simply has thousands of distractions. Let’s face it — distractions are fun. Work? Not so much.
I’m not putting down Facebook or SNL. Laughing and distractions can be good things, if you don’t let them interfere with your life. Limit your distractions and watch how much you can accomplish if you only focus on the task at hand.
4. Save money.
I am well aware that many people struggle just to get by. However, my parents also struggled to get by, but they made it. And they saved. I, myself, several times in my life, found myself in terrible financial situations, but no matter what, I learned to save at least a little bit.
Once, I collected change everywhere I went – from the ground, from phone booth slots, from the floor of my car. I even turned in aluminum cans for a buck or two. All of that change went into a mayo jar until I had $5 or $10. I put it in a savings account. Yes, it took forever to save $100, but I felt good that I had at least a tiny bit of money that I could fall back on.
5. Community and family.
I hate to be the one to break it to you, but Facebook is not a substitution for community. In my grandmother’s day, being lonely and/or having no one to take care of you were not problems. Everyone had some type of family, even if it was only uncles or cousins, to help them if they needed it. In her last days, my grandmother was surrounded by neighbors and family members who did everything for her.
Not feeling socially connected can make you feel unloved. It even can lead to an early death. No one wants to live a life like that. Make real friends. Try making friends with a few neighbors. Stay in touch with family members whenever possible.
What would you add to our list? Share your ideas in the section below: