From the 80s to Now: A Tale of Two Generations’ Teenage Years!

From the 80s to Now: A Tale of Two Generations’ Teenage Years!

As a teenager in the 1980s, I had a blast! Time seemed to move at a snail’s pace, and I couldn’t wait to turn 17 so that I could start learning how to drive. Oh, how I wish time still went by that slowly!

Back then, “Apple” was just a fruit, and “Windows” were something you stared out of during Maths.

My bedroom was always full of music, I remember putting on my new vinyl LPs to enjoy the sweet sounds of Whitney Houston, Spandau Ballet, Michael Jackson (I even had a poster of him on my wall when he looked good), and my all-time favourite, Rick Astley, as I applied my makeup and not a paid sponsorship in sight!

It was a time when my hair, like many others, could withstand any weather thanks to an entire can of cheap extra hold hairspray.  However, reminiscing about this just leaves me wide open to hearing how I single-handedly contributed to our planet being  in such a shit state.

Solid friendships were formed during the 80s, and remarkably, they have stood the test of time despite the absence of social media.

I feel blessed to have grown up in that era instead of today’s world. The idea of living a life where I can’t indulge in unhealthy foods, joke without fear of offending someone, or go out without my parents tracking my every move is unimaginable.

Back then the majority of families were all similar in ‘wealth’.  Most had or did the same things.  There were no friends showing off their £300 pair of trainers or familieis jetting off on their hols to the Maldives with parents tagging photos of their swanky hotel before uploading little Jonny asleep in his first class seat.

Who’s that?

Nowadays it seems like a never-ending battle to keep up.  Things have changed over the years some for the better, some not quite so better.  In my day a blind date was a blind date.  Nerves would set in waiting for Mr. Right outside C&A.  We’d have no idea what to expect.

Today, having a preview does not guarantee what you see is what turns up.  In fact it’s more Mr. Not-Right who turns up looking like the worst version of his heavily filtered version of perfection or a photo taken some 20 years previous….!

Filtering back in my days was carried out using a biro!

Can you pick me up?

Meeting up with friends was planned.  Going out involved a lot of walking.  Expensive taxis were the only option back then as there were no Ubers, and we couldn’t rely on our parents to be on hand to pick us up just because we didn’t feel like walking.

If we wanted to call home, we had to search for a working phone box and scrounge around for change. No change meant calling the operator to reverse the charges,  listen as a parent accepted the call then be reminded how much these calls cost before being told we’d have to make our way back home. Despite these challenges, I cherish the memories of those times.

Travelling from one place to another meant we either walked or jumped on the bus.  Always heading straight for the back seat, where we would spark up and puff our heads off on route to town, all funded by our dinner money.

Fortunately, there was so such thing as cashless systems at school, otherwise we wouldn’t have had any money to get our cigarettes of choice, 10 B&H (Benson and Hedges, not JPS as they apparently made your lungs bleed) and a box of matches!

With no parents on standby to pick us up, missing the last bus home after a night out meant a long walk, barefoot and clutching our white stilettos!

How times have changed.  Watching on as my youngest daughter revised long and hard for her GCSEs, I couldn’t resist commenting on how different it had been in my day.    Letting my words fall onto deaf ears as I explain how there was no YouTube tutorials or TikTok videos all offering tips on various subjects.

No past papers to print and try at home.  We relied on a shitload of textbooks or a large set of encyclopaedias which came out once a year leaving us to trawl through and make notes from!

Where things have changed over the years, some things remain the same, just jazzed up with fancier names.

How much?

The end of term disco which  set us back around £1.50, has now evolved into a more elaborate event known as a “Prom”.   In short the only difference now is the price costing anything upwards of £300.

It’s quite a change from the days when a “Frankie Says Relax” t-shirt was the most fashionable item to wear at our disco.

I can hear my parents now: “how much? well you’re not going”.  Today its all about the Prom, yet nothing can change the fact its still just a disco with sandwiches!

I get a warm glow when I look back on my teenage years a time of cherished memories.  It was a time when we laughed so hard that tears streamed down our faces, and our worries were few and far between.  We hardly spent any time indoors, we were always out.

We had a sense of security back then, knowing that we could get a job after finishing school and eventually own a flat or a house within a few years. The idea of living with our parents until we reached 30 was simply unimaginable!

 As each year passes, we think things will progress, everything will be better than ever before.  While technology fits this, I’m not sure everything else has yet!

I certainly didn’t think after working full-time job I would get 50 and think, I can’t afford this or that.  Nevertheless, I appreciate the life I have, although I do wonder what my kids will reminisce about when they’re older?

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