Things people have always done

So much changed in the last 200 years of human history. Something that defines our lives today is how unmoored from the past our contemporary culture feels. All that change has uprooted most of us from traditional ways of living.

Some see this as a generally good thing when considering all the social and material gains that have come with it. Some think we need to reconnect and reground ourselves in those lost and waning traditions. Most people probably believe a mix of those things, depending on the specifics. In any case, almost everyone would agree that most of us live very different lives from those in the past.

Boys hanging out around a campfire, one cooking and another playing guitar
Image credit: Nancy Adkin

Even as our lives have changed in so many ways, humans across all times & places still share a lot in common. We eat, sleep, run, sneeze, laugh, cry, love, fear, mourn, and much more. These have all been going on since people were people, and probably before that as well.

I especially like to think about what activities people have always done together, that I still like to participate in today. Here’s a few things I like to do that people have probably done since prehistory:

When I’m enjoying doing one of these things, I like to remind myself of just how long people have been doing it. The past doesn’t feel like a distant, disconnected thing, but an unbroken chain forged by our common nature. I’m participating in one of the many beautiful, long-standing patterns of human life.

Do you feel connected to or distant from the past? Do you like to do the things listed? Does doing them make you feel more a part of the past? Let me know your thoughts at my Ctrl-C email: gome ​@ ​