Imagine living in the past. Imagine thinking constantly about the future. Imagine a ceaseless need to escape the present. My childhood was spent separating the lies of the past from the realities of the present, never once resisting the temptations of the unknowable future. Today I spend most of my time pretending I am of another generation—another character whose story has already ended; the present holds no pleasure. I hope that one day I will be able to regard my present life and enjoy everything that it has to offer. We must stay connected with our past. Through our past we discover our present and by past example we can better appreciate the future.
Although born on the cusp of the 1980’s, being just two months shy of technically proclaiming myself an “eighties child,” I do it anyway and I do it proudly (probably a little too loudly). My comprehension of the 1980’s is not that of a nostalgic parent, but of an enthusiastic child, never fully aware of the entire situation: I was not alive throughout the 1980’s, but, either way, it has imbedded an intense appreciation of excitement and lightheartedness. For me, the 1980’s represents—culturally speaking—a time of joy, a time of wacky individuals, a time where fun prevailed and life was never too serious. The music, the clothing, the celebrities, and the novels—all of the pop culture celebrates differences, rebellions, creativity and individualism. Each day I try to live my life embracing this kind of light, airy attitude; now, I’m not saying that I don’t take issues seriously—that isn’t the case at all. Rather, I believe that every person should look at life as an experience—an experience that encourages joy, dance, and freedom of expression. I will admit, complaining and bemoaning the state of things feels good, but make sure it’s done loud—make Black Flag proud. When life is rough, take time during the day to sit and think, listening to The Cure’s Robert Smith fall in love every Friday or David Byrne of the Talking Heads discover that things are “Once in a Lifetime.” Life should be enjoyed—it really should. But everyone should enjoy life the way they see fit. I’ve learned a lot about appreciation and expression from the beauty of the eighties, but for another person it could easily be the seventies or the twenties. The past teaches us many things, but above all else, the past teaches us to notice and recognize the differences in our lives. The situation may be better or worse—either way, the past is complete: we know how it ends. If we know how it ends, then there isn’t any reason for us to not take advantage of the lessons taught and learned for those who have already lived. The 1980’s have taught me to enjoy being me, to never fear “Dancing with Myself,” to love life and, above all, to have fun. Learn to say, like Lita Ford, “I know what I like. I like dancing with you.” Let’s dance this night away.
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