Saturday, March 24, 2012

How Things Have Changed since the 1980's

Life sure has become different since the 1970s and 1980s, I am not even sure some have noticed some of the most important differences.. Some are too young to even realize not being here yet. When did life become all about money? Today people have become slaves to the employers. Well one could say the avid materialism of the 70s and especially the 1980s, is when things changed. The "Me" Decade and the "Greed is good" decade, is kind of when people got entranced by toys, not realizing they were being set up for a mighty fall.

Where one lives to work rather then working to live? You know that is what many in Europe say about Americans now, "they have forgotten how to have fun, they live to work, rather then work to live." Sometimes The Squawker free of the encumbrance of employment having traded that for the burdens of a body gone wrong, looks at some of the exhausted wants to scream, "There is more to life then money and work!" On one's deathbed, no one says "I wish I worked harder" they lament relationships and face their Maker. If anything The Squawker wishes she could have spent her still healthy early 20s on more travel, more adventure rather then 70 hour work weeks that led to little reward. Some people's health does not survive the expected overwork of today.

But she does not blame the people who find themselves on the spinning ever faster hamster wheels, it seems now the carrots on the sticks which used to lead to some reward and building a life up now have led into a maze with a big padlock on it. Most people are just trying to survive. Only a few even get the time to look up and around and ask "What happened?" More need to. Seriously and ask "How did we get where we got?"

The Squawker had elderly friends in her old town, these were rural people in their 70s and 80s, who said, society lost its mind about 30 years ago, it became all about materialism. Women started having to work, leaving less time for leisure, family and being able to take care of family members and social interaction. One 78 year old friend said right to me, "Life is far harder today, back then we knew how to relax, we had people around including family members to help us, I would not want to be a member of the younger generation, all they do is work".

The Squawker is old enough to remember the 1970s and 1980s when people still knew some of what was important.. Remember the days of leisure and fun, and families getting together for conversation, where everyone would meet at Grandma's house and just TALK? Remember the 1980s when Japan was deemed to be so hardworking that Japanese business men were dropping dead of heart attacks? Did you know Americans surpassed the Japanese LONG AGO, well the people who still have jobs? Does that surprise you?

The other day, The Squawker said to one of her siblings who she hasn't seen in two years but maintains regular phone contact with, "you know it was a scam, for all of us to move apart, where family was put behind "jobs". The "jobs" and moving may have payed off for certain segments of the Baby Boomers who got jobs with decent benefits and could work their way up, but for the members of the Generation X, most of the moving meant having to dismantle roots and lives just to survive and not end up sleeping on a relative's couch between lay-offs. Now that employers don't keep people around for the 30 year old watch, retirement or pensions, too many of the middle aged are looking around and realizing every relative lives hundreds of miles away and for what? Some are still paddling just to keep their heads above water, but now unlike yesteryear without close family and relatives nearby to help them out. Over the years, people turn in to strangers. Life and social capital decline. Some who start getting older, ask will happen to me in a city all alone should I get sick or my spouse does? Perhaps people should question the moving and what is sought in the modern lifestyles.

During the 1970s and 1980s, all one has to do is look at some magazines from the library to know collectibles were hot, and and various forms of leisure activities were very in. People really did spend 50 dollars to collect plates and thousands on doll houses. One thing I noticed picking up a pile from the free library magazine exchange and laying in bed and reading some, was how LAVISH everything looked. It actually shocked me. Even the meals they advertised and the high priced collectibles, that were being sold. Today no one could afford any of this stuff. Even the higher classes would be more worried about the tax bill.  One hot hobby of the 1980's that is now deader then a doornail is minatures. Of course why buy miniature versions of things if you can't afford new for the REAL house or apt you live in? Minature lamps.....for dollhouses....

Today we have fancy gadgets, that people look at and are distracted by so many people haven't seen how everything around them has kind of gotten well blah.... It's like the fancy screens have kept people busy staring into them instead of realizing that the landscape with it's empty store fronts and potholes in the roads is looking kind of beat up.

Even in the 1980s, fashions were far more colorful....

What do we have today?

Dull and dreary clothing, that seems to have been caught in a 15 year fashion free zone.  Can anyone even define a style of the 2000s, because I sure can't. There is nothing to define it as "different". I have said before that JEANS seem to have become the UNIFORM of the dull dystopian nation. Even grandmothers out there seem to have forgotten dresses exist that aren't denim. Why has fashion gotten so absolutely dreary unless you are willing to buy your clothes from non-mainstream sources?

One thing I remember as a young teen was how people almost lived and shopped in the mall. Does anyone shop at the mall anymore? I wasted valuable time buying stickers and posters at Spencers.  Back then no one seemed worried about buying high priced goods from boutique stores, some of which specialized in very odd goods. Do you remember the stores that specialized only in popcorn, stickers, jelly beans or in kitchen wares? Do any of those still exist?

Malls are dying all over. Did you know there are  websites even detailing and picturing dead malls? Some could argue Internet commerce has killed them, but most of the people I know buying anything online are buying used items from ebay, or the occasional book from amazon or something ultra cheap from Craiglist.

So yes we can say life has changed since the 80s. Remember how they told us in every teen movie "to party"? None of us were prepared for what would be coming. We should have been spending our time learning organic farming and some skill sets beyond playing Pac-Mac but at least we were allowed to have a bit of fun before the bottom started falling out.--The Squawker


  1. love it.wish i could get back to the 80s

  2. I think quite the opposite. Today people are lazy and fat and make a life out of letting the government take care of them while they watch tv and have out of wedlock babies. In the 80's people actually used to work for a living.

  3. Yes, I can define the early 2000's s far as fashion goes. Go look up Paris HIlton. Thats a pretty good example of the 00's. Low rise jeans. Rah rah skirts. lots of pink and orange, and no one wore black or grey. Lots of jeans, sure, but that was just as trues in the 80s. And the 70's. People always wear lots of jeans. In the 70's is when designer jeans were at their biggest. People wore more jeans in the 80's then they do now. The early 00's were an ugly fashion faze, but not for the reason you are saying. They had Raves, scuba material was worn as sexy dance wear…..velvet was huge…and lots of sexy dresses. Skinny jeans, bootcut jeans..THAT is why the 00's were ugly. Now thank goodness low rise jeans are going. The 80's and 70's did not look like your crazy picture. The 70's were famous for maxi dresses and platform boots, but people generally wore rather conservative clothing. The 80's were a bit more stark, but black was THE color of that decade. We are now moving to a fashion probably best described as Normcore. More classy, more elegant and restrained. Anyhow, people have not started to wear mnore jeans then at any other point. Thats just foolish.

  4. Lolli, old bean, I'll let Squawker address the sartorial aspects, but as far as your other comment goes...either a) you're not reading between the lines, b) flexing your mental muscles enough, or c) the memo about struggling friends and neighbors hasn't crossed your desk quite yet. Take your pick. --The Reckoner