On Tuesday, April 4, 1978 I became a teenager. That's right... I turned 13 the same year that the movie musical "Grease" was released, the first Garfield comic strip hit newspapers, and a gallon of gas was only 65 cents. Eight Track Players were a popular item, selling for $169, and the average annual income was $17,000. The Bee Gees songs "Night Fever" and "Stayin Alive" were on the radio, and families would watch such television shows as The Waltons; Happy Days; Mork and Mindy; Eight is Enough; and, tuned in for the final episode of The Carol Burnett Show. In many ways, 1978 was a simpler time than today.
On Thursday, April 4, 1985 I left my teenage years. I turned 20 the same year that the first "Back to the Future" movie was released, Microsoft Corporation released the first version of Windows, and a gallon of gas was only $1.19 cents. The average annual income was $22,100 and musical artists Duran Duran, Bruce Springsteen, and Phil Collins were on the radio. Families watched such television shows as Family Ties; Growing Pains; Cheers; The Cosby Show; and, tuned in for the final episode of the George Burns Comedy Week. In many ways, 1985 was a simpler time than today.
A lot actually happened during my teenage years. Live Aid concerts around the world raised millions of dollars to help those starving in Africa, and the pop industry in the U.S. joined together to sing "We Are The World." The first compact discs (CD's) were produced; the Olympic Games took place in Los Angeles; the Space Shuttle Columbia and Space Shuttle Challenger were launched on their maiden flights; Disney's Epcot Park opened; the Pac Man arcade game became popular; Sony released the Walkman for listening to music cassette tapes; MTV was launched (and actually aired music videos!); the first snowboard was invented; and, two weeks before I turned 20 the first domain name was registered to Symbolics Inc., a computer systems company in Cambridge, Massachusetts. However, it wouldn't be until six years later (1991) when the Internet would become available to the public.
It has been over 34 years since I was a teenager. Certainly, the world is different than it was back then. However, I look back with fond memories of nightly family dinners; family road trips; family hikes; watching family-friendly TV shows; and, hanging out with my friends as we hiked, biked, camped and went sailing. My teenage years were before the days of laptop computers, the public Internet, cell phones, and even before video cameras (Camcorders) were available. Certainly, technology has revolutionized our world by creating amazing tools and resources -- putting useful information at our fingertips. However, I can't say that there hasn't also been a negative impact on our world due to technology. There have certainly been times when I have wished that my own children could have experienced their teenage years at the time I did, between 1978 and 1985. However, as I wrote a couple of days ago... the days of our lives are like sands through an hourglass. The sand keeps falling, the times keep changing, and the years keep unfolding with a seemingly faster progression. My advice: feel blessed for the past, grateful for today, and hopeful for tomorrow.