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In this day and age, we have a lot of life luxuries at our fingertips. Want to talk to your family on the other side of the world? Pick up the phone and give them a call or send them a text message. It wasn’t too long ago that things like instant messaging or even the telephone didn’t exist. Here are some of the most popular everyday problems from hundreds or thousands of years ago that most people don’t know about today.

1. Food Preservation

Salted meats hanging from a rack
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Hundreds of years ago, you couldn’t purchase food that was already preserved through commercial methods like canning. If you wanted to be able to preserve food to last you through the winter, you had to have the skills to do it yourself. People would salt meats to cure them, can and pickle fruits and vegetables, as well as take advantage of cold cellars for storing certain vegetables like potatoes and onions that could tolerate those conditions. Those skills are lost to the vast majority of people today.

2. Seeing After Sundown

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Have you ever considered that what we know as nightlife wasn’t a thing prior to the 1800s? That’s because people didn’t leave their homes after dark until gas lamps were invented in the 1800s. People didn’t dare venture out at night if they couldn’t see where they were going, so instead they chose to stay at home. Most of us only vaguely learned what that was like during the COVID-19 pandemic when we were forced to stay at home.

3. Land Borders

Tablet with a map laying on paper maps of land borders
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During the Middle Ages, land borders changed constantly. Usually, only the elite would have some sense of this change, but peasants were kept in the dark. That meant that they could be living in one county or country one day and another the next day. They might also be forced to pay taxes for multiple places in a year.

4. Treated Water

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Before modern water treatment methods were developed, access to clean and safe drinking water was a major challenge for many people. This led to a higher incidence of waterborne illnesses and diseases, such as Cholera, Typhoid Fever, and Hepatitis A. Some of these diseases became epidemics, with outbreaks leading to death for hundreds of people.

5. Alarm Clocks

Alarm clock sitting on a nightstand
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Alarm clocks are an invention that no one in today’s society would think twice about, especially when you consider we can now set alarms on our cell phones! Before alarm clocks existed, some people were paid to wake people up at a certain time. They usually did this by hitting the window of the person’s bedroom with a large stick, and they wouldn’t stop until the person came to the window.

6. Cavities

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You might be surprised to know that dental cavities can and will kill you. The difference between now and hundreds of years ago is that we have much better dental hygiene now; dental care is now considered proactive – we try to take care of our teeth so that we don’t get cavities to begin with. Now that we have routine dental care, cavities only become a risk to someone’s health if they truly refuse to see a dentist.

7. Communication

Woman drinking coffee and talking on a cell phone
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Communication is a big one that we take for granted. Almost every person you know has a cell phone and can be reached at any given moment. We can send emails instead of waiting weeks for letters to reach people. The advancements in communication have also improved emergency response, which has saved a lot of lives. Many of us have never stopped to think about what life was like without being able to reach our friends and families at the touch of a button.

8. Drowning

Woman struggling to swim in ocean
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Before running water existed, people had to fetch water regularly, and falling in was a risky possibility. Clothing during medieval times often consisted of multiple layers of natural fabrics, which get incredibly heavy when wet. Even if one could swim, that kind of weight could drag a person down quickly, causing them to drown.

9. Childbirth

Woman in childbirth with father holding her hand
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Childbirth used to be considered high-risk and life-threatening a lot of the time for the woman and the baby. There were multiple reasons for this, including a lack of medical knowledge about childbirth, and poor hygiene that increased infection risk. This was one of the drivers for the introduction of the Cesarean section surgery, so that certain birth complications were no longer considered immediate death sentences for mom and/or baby.

10. Modern Medicine

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Before the invention of antibiotics, a common infection of a wound or cut could and very often did kill you. On a related note, the invention of reliable anesthetics for surgeries and dental work is a fairly new thing. Modern medical advancements have increased survival from many diseases that were once considered life-threatening, and that work continues even in today’s society.

11. News

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We have information at our fingertips these days, with access to the latest breaking information on our cell phones. But back in the old days, it took ages for news to travel around the world; all of that information had to be shared through physical newspapers, and even then, news was reported regionally. There weren’t global channels reporting information, so information was only shared globally through letters in the mail.

12. Clothing

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Purchasing clothes? That’s another modern luxury most people don’t think twice about. In the olden days, people made their own clothes from scratch. And that’s not all – they even had to spin the thread and weave the fabric first. Some historians say that the majority of household labor was spent just making clothes.

13. Washing Clothing

Woman hand washing clothing
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Washing clothes and dishes used to be so labor-intensive before the modern invention of washing machines. In some times and places, being a “washer” was a whole profession. In addition to being back-breaking work, it was also a health hazard. Back then, various caustic chemicals such as lye were used to whiten, release stains, and soften cloth.

14. Car Repairs

Man changing the oil in a car
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When the automobile was first invented, if you were wealthy enough to own one, if it broke down, there were only two options for repair. The first was to perform the repairs yourself, but this was much more complicated back then without the modern-day DIY resources we have access to. The second was to take it back to the factory to be repaired, though this was quite costly since you had to pay not just for the repairs, but to have the vehicle taken to the factory as well.

15. Traveling

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Travel is another luxury that is overlooked by today’s society. With enough money, you can travel to any part of the world in about 24 hours. This is mostly thanks to the invention of high-speed travel methods by planes and trains. Back in the day, traveling to another state could take weeks or months, let alone another country.

16. Food Variety

Person holding a basket of fresh picked food
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Certain foods were only available at certain times of the year. These days we can eat whatever, whenever we want. Back in the day, you could only eat things that were able to be harvested locally at that time of year. Now, produce is imported from all over the world, where things can grow year-round in certain climates, making them available to us throughout the year.

10 Things People Have Done To Create a Better Version of Themself

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Sometimes it can be hard to know what next step you can take to best further your personal growth. One person asked on a popular online forum if others would share what things they either changed or started to do that helped them become better versions of themselves. Here are some of the best answers.

10 Things People Have Done To Create a Better Version of Themself

10 Things Millenials Love That Women Refuse To Get Into

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There are some things that get so popular in society it feels as though everyone is partaking. And, of course, social media spreads awareness so quickly it can feel like you’re the only one who doesn’t like the newest craze, viral product, or TV show.

10 Things Millennials Love That Most Women Refuse To Get Into

10 “Kid Things” That Adults Admit They Still Love

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When we are young, often all we are focused on is how things will be when we are older, on the freedom and coolness of being an adult. But as adults, we can look back on the years of our childhood with a better appreciation for how much fun kids have.

10 “Kid Things” That Adults Admit They Still Love

10 Cold Hard Facts Older People Have Learned Over the Years

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One of the best places on the internet is the SubReddit r/askoldpeople—people who are Gen-X (1980) and older answer today’s youth. Someone asked, “What are some cold hard facts you have learned over the years?” Here are the top-voted cold hard facts of life.

10 Cold Hard Facts Older People Have Learned Over the Years

17 Ways To Master the Art of Self-Care Without Draining Your Wallet

Young woman sitting on her bed using skincare products
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It’s normal to get so caught up in life that you forget to take care of yourself. Amidst taking care of the people around you, it’s important to prioritize your own physical and mental health. But constant trips to the salon and spa can quickly bust your budget.

17 Ways To Master the Art of Self-Care Without Draining Your Wallet

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