Many life skills have fallen out of fashion in modern society. Vintage skills seem to be following the fate of the dinosaur, but what we can do to fix it?
This is a question that gets asked a lot, but have you ever noticed just how much things have changed?
Since we’re not exactly heading to the grocery store by horse and buggy, there are some changes in society that literally can’t be missed.
As a species, we’ve accomplished a lot.
We’ve gone from record players to 8-tracks to mp3s. We’ve successfully launched astronauts into outer space. You could be in England right now and speaking to a friend in Indiana.
You know what else seems different nowadays? People.
People haven’t just changed in the “good conversations at the grocery store” sense of the term.
There’s also a general lack of appreciation for vintage skills.
Why Has This Happened?
1. People Prefer Taking The Path Of Least Resistance
Here’s the harsh truth: people are fundamentally lazy by nature. It’s like Newton’s law about how objects at rest prefer to stay at rest but about people. Back in the time of the pioneers, people didn’t have the luxury of not knowing having vintage skills. Not knowing how to cook, garden, or knit to a proficient level literally meant that you’d starve.
Fast forward to the present and we’re surrounded by enough technology to do either do it all or find the people and places that can get us what we want quickly. For those who have grown up in a world where food is always just a phone call away and sweaters can be bought on the Internet, the incentive for learning and developing vintage skills simply isn’t as strong as it used to be.
Why learn how to cook when you can find a tutorial on the web? Why take up gardening when the produce section is just a short drive away?
Of course, folks don’t sit around doing this type of analysis, but sometimes not acting is easier than going out of your way to work hard at something you don’t have a special interest in.
2. Specialization Is King
In Economics there’s a concept called specialization. Basically, specialization is a catch-all term that describes what happens when individuals (or countries) decide to limit the number of goods and services they produce. As city life has become more dominant, people have become more inclined to specialize.
After all, if you’re working a standard 9 to 5 do you really have the time to sew your own wardrobe too? Do you want to?
The truth is, very few people in society are currently even close to self-sufficient. Most people buy their chicken at the grocery store and pick up their pasteurized milk in the same aisle as the eggs.The sheer hassle of butchering your own cow for steak would almost be enough to put a dent in the summer barbecue schedule.
In all seriousness, not a lot of people “do it all” as far as vintage skills go and even less people want to. What this means, for the purposes of developing vintage skills, is that very few people are going to be self-sufficient in light of the way society is currently set up.
3. It’s All About Instant Gratification
“What Have You Done For Me Lately?” isn’t just the title of a Janet Jackson song. It also speaks to the mentality that a lot of people have in this current culture. It’s all about the latest trend, the hottest new song, and the most recent fashion line.
Besides the obvious tendency to gravitate towards what’s cool, the other side of a society that has a “what’s in it if me” approach to learning new things is that people often don’t want to acquire skills that they can’t see an immediate use for. Look no further than the “You won’t use algebra after you graduate” mentality that’s often referenced in films.
As a result of the need for instant gratification, it becomes that much harder to sell people on acquiring vintage skills.
Vintage Skills That Are Ready For A Comeback
So with all of that being said, these are our picks for vintage skills that could use a revival.
1. Outdoor Survival Skills
Learning how to survive outdoors used to be called “life”, then it was an opportunity to bond on a trip with others. Now a trip in the wild usually includes a half dozen 4G devices and a few hundred selfies.
Nowadays there are people around who could barely handle a camping trip with pre-packaged meals. A homestead, for many of this type, would be completely out of the question and a lot of it ties back to not knowing how to live in the outdoors.
If you ask us, basic skillsets like open-fire cooking, navigating by the stars, and the basics of building a lean-to are vintage skills that everybody should have. Even if people never plan to spend the night outside, GPS can fail you and matches can get wet. A general understanding of how to make your way is a solid basic foundation.
2. Basic Emergency First Aid
It can be hard for some people to get excited about emergency medical care because, let’s face it, we’re used to seeing the human body in a particular way. As such, broken bones, heavy bleeding, and deep cuts can be uncomfortable to witness and it’s even worse when the victim is you.
So naturally, nobody expects a top-flight surgeon or a nurse necessarily, but being able to provide basic treatment at the point of injury can go a long way towards recovery. On that note,whether you intend to have an extended stay in the woods or not, first aid is a “vintage” skill that never goes out of style.
3. General Life and Home Skills
A mere 20 years ago, it was rare to find an individual who lived alone without knowing how to cook. These days, even if a person has their own apartment you still have to ask whether or not they can make a meal. It’s not unusual to find out that the same individual also doesn’t know how to write checks or sew.
While many seem to see sewing and knitting as something primarily of the past, being able to mend clothes is a skill that comes in handy more often than not. These are skills that it’s a good idea to have when you’re planning to homestead. However, even if your plans don’t involve a cabin in the woods, you never know when a few stitches can extend the life of that trusty pair of jeans.
What society in general needs to understand is that just because a vintage skill has been deemed unfashionable by society, that doesn’t mean that it’s not a skill with practical applications. Take first aid for example. Sure it might be a do-or-die vintage skill to a homesteader, but anyone who doesn’t live next to a hospital could stand to benefit from it.
Unfortunately, due to a number of cultural factors and the reality of the day to day grind, it’s getting harder and harder to find people with vintage skills. Although all of this points to the inescapable conclusion that vintage skills are getting phased out, as long as people are continuing to acquire and develop these skills, they’ll never be truly extinct.