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We are the children of the Eighties

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I came to a startling realization this morning in the shower, when it dawned on me that those who will be turning 30 this year were born in a year I actually remember. This is an extremely frightening concept for someone like me who (in my brain) still thinks of herself as 25 years old. The sheer fact that this year will mark a decade of where I mentally think of myself as just made a few more gray hairs pop out.

This New Year, 2014, will hopefully bring as much into my life as 1984 did. That year brought a lot into fruition for my family in my young life. It marked my first year of school, as well as the year my parents bought my childhood home. Having an idyllic memory I can actually see in my mind’s eye the day we moved into that home. As I traveled the road of nostalgia today, I also remembered something I had put up on my Facebook ages ago that is as true today as it was 5 years ago when I originally posted it as a note. Being a child of the late 70’s early 80’s my generation is often classified as a “lost generation” but in all honesty—that statement could not be further from the truth. I do not know who originally wrote this, it was floating around the internet in the early 90’s and for some reason; it always stuck in my mind, enough of it anyway to leave an obvious profound impression on me for me to have remembered this much of it:

“We are not the first "lost generation" nor today's lost generation; in fact we think we know just where we stand—or are discovering it as we speak.

We are the ones who played with Lego Building Blocks when they really were just building blocks, and gave Malibu Barbie crew-cuts with safety scissors that never really cut. We collected Garbage Pail Kids and Cabbage Patch Kids, My Little Ponies and Hot-Wheels, He-Man action figures and thought She-Ra looked just a bit like I would when I became a woman. Big Wheels and bicycles with streamers were the way to go; sidewalk chalk was all you needed to build a city—imagination was the key. It made the Ewok Tree house big enough for you to be Luke and the kitchen table with an old sheet dark enough to be a tent in the forest.

With your pink portable tape player, Debbie Gibson sang back up to you and everyone wanted a skirt like the Material Girl or a glove like Michael Jackson's. Today, we are the ones that sing along with Bruce Springsteen and The Bangles perfectly and have no idea why. We recite lines with the Ghostbusters and still look to the Goonies for a great adventure.

We flip through T.V. stations and stop at the A-team, Knight Ride, Fame and laugh with the Cosby Show, Family Ties, Punky Brewster and 'What you talkin bout Willis'? We hold strong affections for the Muppets and the Gummy Bears and WHY did they take the Smurfs off the air? After school specials were only about cigarettes and step-families, the Pokka Dot Door was nothing like Barney, and aren't the Power Rangers just Voltron reincarnated?

We are the ones who still read Nancy Drew, the Hardy boys, the Bobbsey Twins, Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, Richard Scary and the Electric Company. Didn't you always wish you'd went to Sweet Valley High?

Friendship bracelets were ties you couldn't break and friendship pins went on shoes—preferably high-top Velcro Reeboks and pegged jeans were in. As were unit belts and layered socks, jean jackets and hams, charm necklaces and side pony tails and just tails. Rave was a girl's best friend; braces with colored rubber-bands made you cool, the backdoor was always open and Mom served only red Kool Aid to the neighborhood kids—we never drank new Coke.

Entertainment was cheap and lasted for hours. All you needed to be a princess was a pair of high heels and an apron. The Sit-n-Spin always made you dizzy but never made you stop, Pogoballs were dangerous weapons, and Chinese Jump Ropes never made you fail to trip someone. In your underoos you were Wonder Woman, or Spiderman, or R2D2, and in your tree house you were king.

As a child in the Eighties we never knew things were so wrong. Did you even know the President had been shot? Did you ever play in bomb shelter? Did you fear international terrorism? Did you see the Challenger explode or feed a homeless person? We forgot Vietnam and watched Tiananmen Square on CNN and bought pieces of the Berlin Wall at a store. AIDS was not the number one killer in the United States.

We didn't start the fire, Billy Joel. In the Eighties, we redefined the American Dream, and those years defined us. We are the generation in between strife and facing strife and not turning our backs. The Eighties may have made us idealistic, but it's that idealism that will push us and be passed on to our children—the first children of the twenty-first century.”



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