When life was simple
Manila—My parents’ take on what was cool when they were in college in the 1950s and 1960s and fell in love with each other was listening to Pat Boone’s version of “Love Letters in the Sand” and Sue Thompson’s “Sad Movies (Make Me Cry).”
The world was in a revolution with a burst of decadence in the 60s when they also started having their three children. They would sigh, “Those were the days,” when the songs turned up on the radio. Life was so much simpler then, they said when they recalled the past two decades.
Fast forward to my generation that got caught up with modern technology, when the internet is ruled by anyone who can post anything, garner a large following and sometimes try to eclipse another by posting achievements and oversharing daily activities.
Despite technology making daily life easier, and the internet allowing people to express their views, people have also become anti-social, or they may socialize but not really have the type of physical interaction with one another when they spend time talking and looking at each other in the eyes.
Our faces are buried in our phones. We don’t go out anymore to shop at the supermarket.
My inclination—and that of my friends—is to slide back to our version of the days when life was simple: the 1980s and 1990s. In the 1980s, we had hi-fi instead of wi-fi. We had Madonna, Dirty Dancing, Bangles, Super Mario, Rubik’s Cube, the ugly big hair and the most ridiculous clothes. But we were happy, even if today we break out in laughter when we see our old photos from that decade.
We read magazines back then. We borrowed books from the library. We went to the record shop and bought vinyl records and cassettes. We made mixtapes and gave them as gifts to friends. We made friends and interacted socially in real life.
In the 1990s, we had the Spice Girls, Britney and Christina, grunge, punk, headbanging, hip hop, Beanie Babies and Tamagotchi, pagers and beepers, Sinead, The Rembrandts, REM and “Losing my Religion” and Natalia Imbruglia’s “Torn.” It was a decade of upheavals and wars. We were introduced to new media as the decade witnessed the birth of the internet and the World Wide Web.
But just like my parents who longed for the decades long gone and preserved them in their memories, I want the 80s and 90s back to freeze in time. Both decades were so much different, but they ruled, even if life wasn’t that easy and we didn’t readily understand what was going on. But it defined the period for our cohort, the legions of mystified dreamers called Generation X.
I share with this generation the longing for what was cool, such as the masterpiece “99 Luftballons” by Nena, “(I just) Died in your arms” by Cutting Crew, “Creep” by Radiohead and everything on the lists of bests. My parents loved to cry in “Sad Movies” but I sway and jam to “I’ll Melt with You.”
Diana G. Mendoza is a longtime journalist based in Manila. Send feedback to email@example.com.