Any good historian should have as his/her motto, "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."
I was sitting here with a cup of coffee, playing Flow and thinking about thinking. SO often on facebook my friends and relatives post nostalgic stuff. "'Like' if you remember _____." "What the world needs is more 'Mayberry' and less 'Honey Boo-boo.'" "When I was young [or when we were growing up], _______."
No less of a philosopher than Socrates railed about the degeneration of young people. There's probably an expression like "the world is going to hell in a hand-basket" in every language our earth has ever known. The stoopid shit about our society's ills that we're bombarded with, daily, could for all intents and purposes be an echo of a statement of frustration thousands of years old, bouncing off rock after rock, going 'round and 'round and 'round....
There's very little new under the sun. Not "nothing new" as the old saying goes, but certainly little in the sense of selfish and greedy behavior by humans -- it's all been done before. The world is a playground for ambition and cupidity, and has been since the dawn of time.
If you think "the world" was a simpler place and at a "better time" when you were younger (or your grandparents, etc, were), you might want to read more things that were written DURING the time in question. Those times were just as perilous and frightening to the people living then as our current times are to us. Looking back on them -- knowing NOW how things turned out -- it's very tempting to see the risks as less risky (American Revolution, anyone?), and the questionable as a duh-situation (stock market crash of '29), but when you're in the middle of it, there's a whole different perspective coloring your opinion.
The world wasn't less complicated when we were children -- ordinary people were just less aware of what went on behind closed conference-room doors. If you want to enjoy again the innocence of the environment you knew, all you have to do is turn off the television and radio, unplug the internet, and refuse to listen to the gossip around you. Cultivate the zen-beginner-mind you had before you started school. Brainwash yourself. Innocence is attainable, but at the cost of knowledge and wisdom.
Everything depends on your point of view. There never WAS a golden age. "If ignorance is bliss, then 'tis folly to be wise." Choose. But don't try to convince yourself that stress and frustration didn't exist in the 1950s, or any other time in history for that matter.