10 Things I Do That My Children Never Will


Last week a weird thing happened, so I did what I do with all weird things I took it to Facebook: I made three errands this morning resulting in three purchases on my debit card. For each of these purchases, I did what I’ve done since I was 16 years old — I recorded each entry into my check register in real time. (Yes, I carry a check register.) Each time I did this, the respective store clerk asked, “What are you doing?” So I told them.

Clerk one replied, “What’s a check register?”

Clerk two replied, “You are the only person I’ve ever seen do that, I think. Wait, no, definitely.”

Clerk three replied, “Oh, that’s one of those things responsible people do.”

REALLY?! Am I the only person who does this? And if I am, how much billions of monies does everyone have that I don’t?

“Responsible person”

To my surprise, nearly everyone my junior mentioned there were apps for such things, how they never, ever write checks, and how completely out of touch I was with modern living. OK, so maybe that last part wasn’t true, but the 20+ comments made it clear that times have changed.

As someone who’s nearing 40, I sometimes find myself doing things the old school way. It’s not that I’m afraid of change or intimidated by the digital age, it’s just that much of what I do is so deeply ingrained in my person, I almost don’t know how not to do them. The more I thought about the times that are a-changin’, the more I realized check registers were only the beginning.

Take a look at 10 things I do that my kids probably never will:

1. Write letters

Admittedly, I only have one pen pal my grandma. Do I think letter writing is a charming lost art form? Yes. Are there times I wish my grandma was active on email instead? You bet, but there’s something oddly inspiring about putting pen to paper and waiting weeks for a reply. All sorts of interesting and worthwhile things happen within that time frame! Who knew? My grandma and I aren’t sharing vapid tidbits via social or text; we’re corresponding by hand and heart about things that matter.

2. Use a cookbook

A few weeks ago, I was tearing my kitchen apart for a specific breakfast casserole recipe. Was it in Nigella’s cookbook or Rachael’s? Wolfgang’s or Julia’s? I thought I knew what the dish was called, but I wasn’t exactly sure. Increasingly frustrated, my teenage son poked his head in and asked, “Did you Google it?” I hadn’t, but I should have, because in .07 seconds I was looking right at it.

3. Write checks

If my Facebook status update taught me anything, it’s that people don’t write checks anymore. And I don’t really either, but there are still those occasional checks to the school PTA or the repair person who fixes my fridge. I’m sure by the time my kids are old enough to pay for these types of services, they’ll just telepathically transfer funds and call it a transaction.

4. Send a fax

You might think no one sends faxes anymore, but you’d be wrong. Suppose you have a moody scanner like I do, what then? Do you drive to a friend’s house or dust off the trusty fax machine? You probably drive to a friend’s house, but I don’t.

5. Save instruction manuals

I wasn’t worried when the self-clean button on my coffee maker started blinking. I knew I had the instruction manual … somewhere. As I rummaged through a mountain of instruction manuals on everything from an old barbecue we no longer have to a broken first generation iPod, I emerged victorious with my Cuisinart manual from 2009. Proud and purposeful, I self-cleaned like a boss according to manufacturer’s instructions. “Good thing I saved this!” I boasted to my husband. “Yeah, a quick search on the Cuisinart website would have been so much harder,” he replied.

6. Save paper receipts

I know most retailers can search for a transaction by method of payment. I also know other retailers even email you receipts, but what if you pay by cash? What then, huh? (Next you’ll be asking why anyone would ever pay in cash.)

7. Have boxes and boxes (and boxes) of photos

I bought my very first digital camera in 2002, a week before I gave birth. While I may have saved every image digitally in the 14 since, the 26+ years prior involved developing film into photos that were haphazardly stored in dusty boxes I need a step stool to reach.

8. Keep a baby book

I recently read that baby books were an outdated concept due to the advent of social networks, digital scrapbooks, and personal blogs. Is that true? Because if it is, wherever do you put the envelope containing snippets of baby’s first haircut?

9. Lose contact with someone

While I’d be willing to bet that about 85 percent of everyone I know can be found through social media, there’s still that elusive 15 percent I can’t seem to track down without paying for a public record search. Think our kids will ever lose track of someone? I bet they couldn’t if they tried.

10. Buy stamps

Yes, I pay my bills online, but I still need stamps from time to time. Remember my pen pal grandma? At the risk of sounding just like her, have you seen the fun collections of stamps available these days?


  1. Yes, you might be the last person on earth to use a check register! We have our utility bills directly debited from our checking account and don’t use credit cards at all — we pay for nearly everything else in cash. I check on my checking account online to see if their debits match mine. Life is good.

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