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A word for 'A simpler time', or 'sadly fond of or amused by', (but not melancholy) I'm trying to describe the naivety of seeing the internet referred to in a newspaper article from the mid 90's as the 'world wide web' and how silly that sounds now, and how different perhaps in a positive way it was a then.

  • And now I'm fondly, yet sadly remembering the angry protestations back then that the "World Wide Web" was a proper subset of "the Internet"... – user888379 Feb 27 at 19:08
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I'd recommend nostalgic, which Merriam-Webster defines as:

longing for or thinking fondly of a past time or condition

  • I agree, that would be the obvious choice, but it doesn't quite cover the emotion I'm after. Humorous naivety in some way, maybe childlike would work... – user338092 Feb 27 at 18:28
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If you don't like nostalgic (which actually sounds like a good fit to me), how about pensive?

Merriam-Webster defines it as:

"musingly or dreamily thoughtful" and "suggestive of sad thoughtfulness."

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You can use 'yearning for the past'.

The yearning meaning is: -A feeling of intense longing for something.

See these videos about it: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=yearning+for+the+past

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Would "optimistic anticipation" or "naïve optimism" be ideas that capture the sense in the right direction? Looking back, these short phrases seem "young" simplistic but true, yet also somehow "sad". I would suggest "quaint" to capture it in a single word.

https://www.thefreedictionary.com/quaint

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