Being a member of Generation X hasn’t always been easy. We are sandwiched between the Boomers and the Millennials after all. It’s a generation often forgotten, but still very outspoken, independent, and rebellious.
Gen X’ers I’ve created a list of things we commonly did in our youth, a flashback to, well mainly the 1980s, one of the best decades to have grown up in.
Bright, colorful, frustrating. Yes, I admit I cheated and pulled it apart but only to start over. This toy provided hours of entertainment, albeit frustrating at times.
Invented by a professor of architecture, Erno Rubik way back in 1974. It wouldn’t become wildly popular until the early 80s. Everyone had to have the cube, to try and figure out the complicated puzzle. Its bright, colorful maddening squares were an integral part of being a kid in the 80s.
Watching videos, especially new ones was a thing. I remember sitting with my friends and deciding which guy in the band we thought were the cutest and then picking him as, “ours”.
In those days we had a much higher tolerance for long commercial breaks and bad videos, something I could not do today. Later as the decade progressed, MTV added Yo MTV Raps and Headbangers Ball. Which featured rap and metal videos and left out all the pop. Both were my favorites.
MTV is kind of an iconic symbol of Generation X, it came out when we were kids and was targeted directly at us. It revolutionized the way music was consumed. By the time we got older, MTV had given way to its first reality tv wave, the Real World and things would never be the same.
Gen X’ers were the first generation to enjoy video games. It all started with Atari, Pac-Man, Frogger, Donkey Kong. Or if you didn’t have an atari there was the arcade. Arcades were kid heaven, and I’m glad they are still around. Yet there was nothing more satisfying than having your own “arcade” at home with your own video game system.
Many of us would later have a Nintendo, games like Punch-Out and Zelda blew our minds with their awesome graphics.
There was no internet that connected you to people while you played, but it was common to play with two or more people. Hours passed by as we stared at the screen listening to terribly crude music and entertained by equally crude graphics. It worked for the times.
The best part about video games, parents didn't get them, they were all ours.
There was something uniquely empowering about buying or owning movies. It meant you didn’t have to go all the way to the movie theater and watch a movie, once. It was yours to watch as many times as you like. Sure renting them was good too, so many choices.
My favorite part of VCRs was the ability to record shows and make my own compilations of movies and tv shows. If a movie I liked was going to be on tv, I’d dutifully sit and watch it pausing when the commercials were on. Or if we were lucky, we could record them from HBO or Showtime. Not everyone had those premium channels.
The best part was, by having the power to record, you could do other things when a tv show was on. If s friend called when an episode of Miami Vice was on, no problem just pop a tape in the VCR and you could watch it later.
I think I miss mixtapes the most. Playlists are not the same thing.
Putting together your favorite songs on a tape was a favorite pastime. The compilations could have themes like love songs, songs to do homework by, or just your favorites from a single band. I combined about 6 Led Zeppelin albums into my 90-minute Zepplen mixtape.
Giving a mixtape was a big deal. It meant you knew the person well enough to confidently choose songs for them. Or, if you shared a mixtape that you made previously, you were making yourself vulnerable. They might think your taste in music sucked!
There are a lot more things I could have added to this list, Walkman’s and Gameboys come to mind. Let me know what your favorite 80s remembered things were. Something you did or watched, or listened to.
About the author
Writer, spiritual teacher, and travel enthusiast. Enjoying the journey! Join my mailing list and receive a free guide on How to Meet Your Guides in Three Steps!