Written by Riley Turre
Winner of the Spring 2020 StettlerLocal.com Youth Journalism Contest
Creating contrast between different decades is very difficult; yet people do it all the time. Way of life changes drastically within a few years, the differentiation between forty years is almost unfathomable. Taking a minute to notice how much society and our world has changed can be quite remarkable and impressive. Whether it is small changes like the innovation of a toothbrush or big aspects such as the advancement in technology, everything is changing. As a teenager, none of us can realistically understand what it was like in decades prior to us. The best way to understand and learn differences is to talk with, or read experiences from people who lived through those certain times. Describing aspects of the eighties, talking about modern time, and comparing them; is the best way to create variation from era to era. The eighties, a time where big hair and fluorescent tracksuits were the creams of the crop; so I was told anyways. Teenage years forty years ago may have seen an eighteen year old George Clooney go to the drive-in theatre and watch The Shining. Just looking from a nostalgia point of view.
When I think of the year 1980, one thing sticks out to me and that being the “miracle on ice.” Growing up as a die-hard hockey fan, I loved the movie “Miracle,” which saw the USA face off against the Soviet Union. The movie itself is great but when I first watched it, I was astonished by the fact that players were playing with wooden sticks, practically leather shoes, and minimal protection. Today the hockey world is consumed with high tech skates, fiberglass sticks, and the most protection a person can put on. This simple comparison of the 1980 sports world versus today’s game is still an eye-opener.
After sports, I think of music and all of the country music stars such as Willie Nelson, Conway Twitty, and the recently lost Kenny Rogers. iPods, phones and AirPods were not available at the time, but the newly invented walkman served as that time’s personal music player to play these country stars. On the other hand, if someone wanted to play music for the whole group, the boombox was brought. Boombox speakers were big and inconvenient yet they still did the trick; these massive music players make me appreciate the pocket size speakers today. A world without mobile phones is hard to imagine for somebody like myself; but it was just a typical day forty years ago. When thinking about communicating with friends, it was straight to the house-phone and hope your girlfriend’s dad didn’t pick up.
The list of things that separates 1980 from today is infinite, that is why it is fascinating to take a look at the past.
Flashing forward to the year 2020, creations and innovations completely changed our way of life. We have become a technology immersed society and continue to change drastically from the past. When thinking about modern times as a teenager, the same things come to mind as what a teen from 1980 would think. For most, the thoughts would include high school, hobbies, possibly a first vehicle, maybe a job, and undoubtedly a high school sweetheart. These everlasting items of teenage years are all the same, yet very different.
Sports is something that I have always been passionate about and it is something that has been enjoyed the same way since 1980. As far as teenage hobbies, some things change majorly and others barely change at all.
School is similar to hobbies in the fact that each time period holds many similarities and differences. The most relevant contrast to make is the fact that technology has completely taken over our learning styles. Every single class in my timetable uses a computer for an extensive amount of work, it is neither good or bad but different. One thing is for sure, and that is if all high school students were stuck in isolation due to a virus in the year 1980, there would not be any Google classrooms. Truthfully, it is very beneficial to have online school classrooms because it ensures everyone will not be caught behind in school work. Aside from school, web platforms create a plethora of opportunities; including learning, connecting with people, or even earning money. These tools create an entirely new look at life and give teenagers countless opportunities.
Like the other aspects, the workforce is another aspect that holds many variations between similarities and differences. Knowledge economy keeps increasing, causing workers to become more effective and innovative. Of course traditional jobs will be present and be a part of everyday life, but new jobs have emerged and have created new ways to create an income.
The advancements taken from the past to the present day is very remarkable and it should only excite people for the next forty years.
Having a contrast between time periods is a good thing to do, but it can create a negative indifference at times. Many people from older generations like to make labels and try to create empathy by complaining about the past. Yes, we understand that you did not have social media to connect with friends, you did not have hundreds of shows at the click of a button, you did not have it easy; just because we grew up in a newer age, does not mean we are privileged. It is very irritating when people bleat about the past; sorry that you had a rough childhood, Susan. Dwelling on the past does not do anything good and it ultimately makes younger generations feel guilty for something they have no control in. Something to keep in mind, is that as time goes on, more things are getting created to make life more convenient. If people are capable of doing more things with less endeavour, that means we are actually improving our time.
Defining differences between era’s will always be something to acknowledge and recognize; people just need to remember to do it in a positive manner.