It happened very subtly - but it happened all the same. I have started to realise I am of a certain vintage - and I have begun to tell my children stories starting with “In my day it was different....”
They look at me - eyes wide with shock - when I tell them how different my childhood was to their own. “Three channels on the TV,” I usually start with, “And only an hour a day of children’s programmes.”
Having grown up with CBeebies and Disney Jnr on tap, they find this archaic - and that’s before I have even mentioned that you had to get up and walk to the TV to change the channel in the first place.
I follow the TV confessions (“the first TV I had myself was black and white and you turned the dial to find the channel”) with a series of revelations that even I find amazing.
We had no house phone when I was wee. If we watched a video it was when our neighbours went on holiday and loaned us their player. Most of the time we didn’t have a car - and when we did, well there would be four of us in the back seat of a Volkswagon Beetle with not a seatbelt between us. I remember the floor of the car being so rusted in placed that you could see the ground below.
There were no computers, no games consoles (bar an old Atari which was mostly little green dots moving about on a screen). no internet, no mobile phones.
If you didn’t know the answer to the question you couldn’t just turn to good old reliable Google. Your parents were the font of all knowledge, or you traipsed to the library book for a look through an encyclopaedia.
Even at university, which wasn’t all that long ago, access to computers was limited and access to the internet was scarce. Assignments were handed in hand-written or typed on my mother’s (admittedly electronic) typewriter.
When I started work in the Journal, just 15 years ago, we had no email or mobile phones. Facebook and Twitter were unheard of. On quieter days reporters were known to hover over the fax machine waiting for it to beep to life. My children do struggle to comprehend how things were so different - and then again I suppose I struggle a bit with it myself, especially now that I feel technology is leaving me behind.
If the world has changed so dramatically in the space of 30 years I wonder where we will find ourself in another 30 - when my children start their conversations with “it wasn’t like that in my day” and my grandchildren look on in horror at tales of how things were.