As I sit here watching reruns of TV sitcoms, I start to reminisce about how life seemed simpler. We lived in the moment and things just seemed uncomplicated. I remember hopping on my bike pedaling to the local convenient store to grab my mom a pack of smokes. I was fourteen. It was no big deal and by doing these errands it did not encourage me to smoke. I really gave no thought to it. I was feeling the independence. As an adolescent, I also knew this was a good way to score points. The “R” rated scary movie I wanted to see was well within my grasp.
I paid no attention to the politics around me, nor the social battles of equality. That is the beauty of innocence. My life revolved around MTV, boys, acne, and wishing certain parts of my body would grow. Rubik’s cube was the mental challenge I only dared to take on, and PAC Man was my nemesis. My fashion sense consisted of hiking my bangs sky scraper high, lip gloss and any outfit I deemed “cool”. Of course, eyeliner was a must. Those rock stars really knew how to make a statement. I had no idea about the swoop, cat’s eye, or smudged look. Just put it on and “voila”. My wardrobe didn’t parade name brands but rather the style of the 80’s. Jeans that spent many hours under a lawn mower giving me that ripped up- torn up look. Those cooler than cool jeans made a statement. Man, I was IN style. Of course, there was a softer side to me however, I made sure to put a little “rock” into every outfit.
Movies always made a big impression. “The Breakfast Club”, “Sixteen Candles”, “St. Emo’s Fire,” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” really defined how we approached our pubescence struggles. “Back to the Future” just had us wishing for things we could never gain back. The local hangouts of roller rinks, arcades, and the moon tower seemed to occupy most of my time. The guys act cool and us girls act as if we weren’t interested. Madonna bragged for being “like a virgin” while Bryan Adams sang about “Heaven”. Aerosmith reminded us what rock n’ roll was really about and of course, Whitesnake pumped up our egos with “Here I go again”. We were ready to conquer the world.
But what did we really conquer and what did we sacrifice to gain that better world? We all know the struggles of today but let’s look at “back then”-
Families had dinner together and discussed their day. As a teenager, I loathed the daily question- ” How was school?” There was no way around that question. My parents would just sit and look at me until I answered. There was no way I was getting away with the answer of “fine”. They wanted details. Don’t parents realize they have no clue what I am going through? The most popular boy in school doesn’t even know I exist and the popular girl hates my guts. This is serious people. How will I ever get through the torture chambers of high school? Oh and not to mention I had to team up with the most obnoxious boy for lab in chemistry. UGH! the horror. However, my parents required an acceptable answer. Screwing up the courage to lie straight-faced to my parents I gave them the most common answer any teenager knows. “It was good just busy with…….”. The trick is to give any answer involving an extracurricular activity. This throws their spidey senses off and you are In. the. clear.
However, I miss those days. Dinner was about communicating face to face. Being involved. Afterwards, my brother and I fought who was going to wash and who to dry those pile of dishes. I always secretly assumed my parents dirtied as many pots and pans as they could. It occupied a lot of our time. As I sit here thinking about it I am sure they had that planned all along. They took full advantage of that hour or two just to have a moment to themselves. I can’t say what went on behind closed doors but they seem happier as they emerged from their room. Of course, we thought nothing of it just that our parents were just that -our parents.
Back then times were harder in some areas. With the courage of those men and women, we have made such great progress yet why did we have to sacrifice good old family values, decent human morals, and just appreciate the things that cannot be purchased for any amount of money?
Growing up I was oblivious to anything that didn’t personally affect me. Youth is very conceded that way. As horrible as that sounds, we have all been there whether it is in our youth or still doing that now. Yet family time was family time without the interruption of Snapchats, Instagram and Facebook. Sorry, I almost forgot – Twitter! What the hell? Twitter? After first hearing of it, I thought it was some form of a bird club.
Anyway moving on, in those years we lived in the moment rather than viewing memories through a phone lens on the off chance we may look at later. Why is it so important to “check in” or be forced to “share” anything? I am tired of being threatened “bad luck” or some horrible demise if I don’t “share”. Whatever happened to just living in the moment? Being in the moment? We get so wrapped up to capture “the moment,” we lost “the moment” completely. Our minds are always on the next picture/posting moment.
Every generation thinks the generations before were easier times. In some ways they were and others not. Many have marched on, fought on, declared on and sacrificed their lives just to gain the same human rights we ALL take for granted. I am guilty too. There is a solider on a battlefield missing his family, yet still has not been with a lover who is fighting for my right, your right to freely listen to your favourite music, speak without consequences, worship any god or perhaps the lack thereof, and free to live in a democracy rather than a dictatorship. I thank you to every single man and woman for their sacrifice and bravery. They see the bigger picture.
According to the smart people, history repeats itself. I pray more good than bad. However, with that thought hopefully we can repeat that part of history when we did sit as a family for dinner, we took active roles in each other lives, we live in the moment and the only status we worry about updating is single or married.
I do recognize that I am using social media for this rant- as the saying goes can’t beat ’em join ’em. However, as we move along in our technological world always remember to “live in that moment” and always try to sit as a family for dinner and engage with each other. You may just learn a thing or two……………….