The Way We Were

I miss the 80s.  But not for the obvious reasons: high hair, heavy makeup, and wigwams.  Of course I loved all those fantastic fashion trends, but that’s not the crux of why I miss the era.  Many may not agree with my reasons for why, but I’m going to share… Because its important. To me anyway.  I think in the process of learning and achieving so much in recent years, a great many of us don’t realize what we’ve actually lost along the way…

First and foremost, I miss human to human communication, the true-ness of emotion that is lost with texts and the internet.  Texting definitely serves a purpose and is an excellent quick communicator, but it has overtaken normal human contact. Interpreting the meaning of a text that wasn’t followed with a proper exclamation point or emoji, through a sentence full of acronyms, is just too much work.  When given the opportunity for verbal contact, particularly with the up and coming generation, I’m often greeted with awkwardness and hesitancy bordering on complete disinterest in what they perceive as our antiquated way of communicating. Text persona has become reality, its bizarre and a little cold.  As humans we need more interaction, this self-imposed isolation just isn’t healthy.

I know times have changed, and in a lot of respects you have to change with the times to keep up, but I also miss our youth having more choices, rather than an expectation of one path. Having the fortitude to know that spending thousands of dollars isn’t the right choice for yourself is actually pretty commendable and frugal. There are many young adults graduating college and struggling to find work solely so that they can start paying their astronomical student loans.  For some, the path to perfect, is the path less traveled…  In the 80s the question when graduating high school was “What are you going to do?” as opposed to today’s question which is “Where are you going to college?” I am in no way knocking college, of course many careers need the education and associated degree, but I do question the ‘just get a degree mentality’… Unfortunately for many, it winds up being nothing more than a fortune paid to delay adulthood. How about a trade school or a few years spent in the working world before jumping in cold?  Find a job; experiment in a couple of fields; find your passion and THEN go to school with a mission if that’s where your path legitimately leads you.  Yes, I understand that college can help you figure out what it is that you love, and that is a valid argument, but again it should not and does not have to be the only option for success. Especially when we keep in mind that monetary value is not a measure of true success; honest living, leading a kind and decent life with good family values is the true bar we should set for ourselves.

Which leads me to what I miss the most, and what I think is missing in today’s sci-fi feeling world.  I miss society as a whole being more faithful. I still cringe at the anti-religious sentiment that has become commonplace today. In the 80s we didn’t constantly talk about our faith, but it was an underlying given that it was there.  It was comforting and it gave peace to an otherwise scary world, because we knew there was accountability and reward.  I’m not wholly convinced that a good deal of people today feel that they are accountable to anyone, or more importantly, that God even exists. Life is hard and we’ve all had those moments where we question why, or how could this be allowed to happen?  I don’t have all the answers, but I find it immensely comforting that a higher power does and that someday it will all be clear to me, and more importantly it will all be okay.

In the meantime, remember back in the day when we could talk without someone crying foul over every little word? I’m not looking to walk around hurling insults, but for goodness sake, when did we forget how to laugh at ourselves?  There is no greater humor than self-deprecation.  We all need to lighten up a bit, embrace our differences and learn to laugh at the comedy of life. But at the same time, yes, we need to get back to everyday respect. Respect for authority, the elderly, and differences of opinion. Must we pound our fists every time we do not get what we want, or can we get back to a respect for the rules whether or not we agree with them? Respect and tolerance only exist if you offer it to those who do not share your viewpoint; you can’t champion the tolerance cause by shutting down those who feel differently than you. It’s contradictory, counterproductive and hypocritical.

Finally, I miss the respect that woman used to be given simply because they were women.  There, I said it and I own it and I am still a strong and independent woman. I’m all for equal pay, and the rights of all to be treated with dignity and kindness, but I am still foremost a woman, and I miss the level of respect we were inherently shown in earlier years.  I see chivalry completely going out of style, and it saddens me.  I miss young men going out of their way to hold a door open for a woman and watching their language when in their company.  These men still exist, but they are few and far between. Personally, I don’t want to be treated like a man.  I think at this point men are actually confused, they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Keep it simple, respect me as a fellow human being while keeping true to the values of the quintessential gentleman.  I realize there are women who will argue this with me, and that is their right to speak up for their personal preferences, but it is also my right to speak my beliefs.  It has gotten so bad, that men are afraid to give a simple compliment to a woman.  This over zealousness to be treated exactly the same has taken away some of our individuality and our wonderful God given obvious differences. (*Note: I began writing this article before the explosion of sexual harassment, abuse and misconduct charges took over the airways. NO ONE should be harassed or attacked in any way, especially in the work place, but that said – an inappropriate comment made and successfully thwarted is not harassment, it simply is an inappropriate comment, a lack of social skills, or poor judgement. We’ve all had an unwarranted one-liner thrown at us, both men and women. I’d venture to guess that every one of us has had a moment or two of inappropriate speech pass our lips as well. The word ‘harassment’ needs to be more clearly defined before man and woman completely lose the ability to communicate on a flirtatious level.  If we jump to label every off-color comment as ‘harassment’ we will diminish the true acts of habitual misconduct and continual unsolicited advances.)

I guess the bottom line is, I miss the basics.  The simplicity and the human element that has taken a back seat to the human cookie cutter mentality, technology and the bigger and better everything. We can’t cry ‘treat me the same’ and then in the same breath yell when someone chooses not to acknowledge our differences. Everyone does not deserve a trophy for everything and its okay to know the feeling of loss and failure.  It is the only way to recognize gain, success and reward.  By the same token, embrace your individual strengths and accept your weaknesses, its okay, we all have them. Basic kindness, basic values, basic needs.  With everything at our fingertips within seconds, we have become prisoners to our own self-created chaos.  Keep it simple, keep it real and hopefully that’ll help keep it all together when it feels like its falling apart…  Peace 🙂

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