Growing up as a child of the '80's
I was born in the late '60's. My grade school years were the '70's, but I define my "growing up" years as the '80's. In the '80's I had my first girlfriend, found out Darth Vader was Luke's father, learned to drive, discovered that I had a favorite music, had my first job, got my first car, had a crush on Molly Ringwald, saw Haley's Comet (sort of), bleached a streak in my hair, watched the space shuttle explode during science class, received the right to vote, registered for Selective Service, bought really stupid looking clothes, went to college, learned to "twist and shout" with Ferris Beuller, met my wife, got married, had my first child.
My generation is kind of the "undefined" generation. We're too young to be Baby Boomers and too old to be Generation X. We started the whole piercing thing, but only our ears (guys usually just one - left meant you were cool right meant you were "gay", girls had multiple piercings, but still just the ears.) We had our own music and started the "alternative" genre (usually defined as something totally bizzare that would have remained unknown if they didn't have a video on MTV.)
With the advent of cable, we were the first generation to be "media connected". While our parents had TV and radio, their main connection to the world was through the local stations. With cable we had access to movies, music, and who knows what else. Fashion trends and fads that used to take weeks and months to filter across the country were now piped into our living rooms. The influence of media allowed trends and tastes to change very rapidly, often resulting in weird and wild combinations that we still can't explain.
Movies and TV shows defined the life of the '80's teenager as metropolitan. Big city, big school, big parties. Growing up in a small town, the fashions and trends
were really out of place, but we didn't care, it was cool. We saw "The Breakfast Club" and "Pretty in Pink" and dressed and talked like they did anyway. We longed to go to the mall because that was the cool place to hang out.
But small town life was different than what we saw in the John Hughes movies. We wanted to "party like it's 1999", but we were poor, isolated, and would get caught because everybody knew who we were. So we settled for our small town parties.
There is much about my "wonder years" that is unpleasant, but for the most part I have fond memories of my school, my friends, my life. I could spend pages and pages describing small town life, and probably will over the life of this blog, but I will spare you the romanticization in this posting. Being 40, I'm sure there is much that I am not remembering correctly and even more that I have assigned more significance to than it actually deserves. That being said, it's probably a good thing I remember things the way I do, dwelling on the bad would just be depressing.
I'm not sure how to wrap this up. While there is much more to my life, my experiences have made me who I am and the '80's are 25% of my life. I thank you for allowing me this road trip into nostalgia.