For some reason, the 1980s has become one of those iconic decades that people will be nostalgic about for a long while. I had a young person ask me what it was like to go to high school in the 80s, as though it were some magical time, and we all were walking around wide-eyed with wonder.
I explained that high school was high school, and it sucked just like high school probably always will. But also, when you're living in something it's hard to see it from the outside, to see what's good about it. It's not like we were walking around saying "Wicked, dude, we're living in the 80s!!"
That is, the 80s mean something now that it didn't mean then. Then, it was just... now.
Looking back, we can see some things that made it special: music videos, daring fashion, new forms of music, some which lasted (hip hop) and some that didn't (new wave, hair metal).
But for me what was most exciting about that time was the introduction of computers and video games. Video arcades were new, and exciting, and now they are all but gone. I'm glad I got to experience them in the 80s, and I was appreciative of them then, too.
But computers are the new thing that keeps being new. Where in the 80s we were excited to get a computer at home (my first was the TRS-80 Model 4) or a game console (mine was Intellivision), the 90s opened our eyes to the internet and the Web, CGI movies, and email, and the 00s gave us social networking, etc. Computers continue to amaze us.
I've been reading about the Pleistocene, the era where human beings spent much of their time evolving. It was a time of highly variable environments. Things have settled down now, in the Holocene.
So once in a while you should sit back and appreciate, and say to yourself "Wicked, dude, we're living in the Holocene!!"
Pictured: An Atari 2600 game console. From Wikimedia Commons.