When I Was Your Age, It Was The Early 80′s

19 months.

(July 2012/November 1982.)

The phrase, “when I was your age,” is usually completed by a parent or grandparent telling a child how hard life was back in the day, when they had to walk 10 miles to school… in the snow.

But see, I was born in April 1981. That means my toddler and Elementary school years took place in the overly-synthesized, fantasy decade we now refer to as The Eighties.

We didn’t have the Internet or cellphones or iTunes, but that was okay. Because we had Saturday morning cartoons, Big Wheels, and “regular” Nintendo. We drank red Kool-Aid and watched the Smurfs. And life was good.

So now I think about my son and how his toddler and Elementary school years will take place almost exactly 30 years after mine. (I was 29 and a half when Jack was born.)

To be honest, I fear that his young years won’t be as cool as mine were.

Because when I was exactly his age now, it was November 1982 and Michael Jackson had just released Thriller, the biggest selling album of all time; while E.T. was the movie on everyone’s mind, having been released just a few months before.

Maybe it’s inspired by me currently watching the final season of Lost again right now, but I am very focused on the “flash-sideways.”

In other words, I’m constantly comparing the happenings and culture of how things were when I was my son’s age.

Something you will be seeing more of here on The Dadabase are articles were I feature two similar pictures: One of my son in modern day, followed by me at the same age, doing something likewise.

(I recently scanned like 64 pictures of my childhood from November 1982 to January 1984; which I will be sporadically using from here on out, as related to Jack’s age.)

So I trust you will enjoy the time-traveling that is headed your way. We are on our way to my favorite year ever, 1983.

I’m assuming most Dadabase readers also were young kids in The Eighties. Let me ask you:

Am I being overly nostalgic, or did we really grow up in the best decade ever for being a kid?


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  1. by Elizabeth

    On July 1, 2012 at 9:11 am

    I am 32 so I am also a proud 80s baby. I loved playing outside unsupervised until my dad whistled for us to come in. I loved that we had to “entertain ourselves” because Nintendo didn’t come out til 1988 (I still remember our excitement over finally owning one) but we still wanted to be outside more than inside playing with it)! We developed independence young, knowing what was right from wrong and how to solve problems if your bike’s tire blew out while you were half a mile away from home. I feel sad that I know my kids won’t have these skills unless I force them to learn. My

  2. by CaliCat

    On July 2, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    I liked being a child in the 1980s, but I liked being a high school and college student in the 1990s even more!

    I don’t know what the heck happened to the 2000s. :(

  3. by Dian

    On July 2, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    I guess time has change (?) I want my kids to have an awesome childhood like mine and think it’s our job to make our kids childhood memorable.

  4. by Jennifer

    On July 2, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    I totally agree! I was born in 1976 and remember the 80s fondly. I could get lost in the woods for hours when I was 8 (my daugter’s age now) but now I cringe at the thought of letting her go outside without me. We had the best toys and the best shows on tv. And the fashion is seen as horrendous now, but THEN… Oh. My. Goodness. The jelly shoes, jean jackets with all the buttons, Swatch watches, the Boy George hats, leg warmers. The toys I was into have made a comeback (Strawberry Shortcake, Rainbow Brite, Care Bears), although they’re all redesigned (boo). Playing Atari was as high tech as we got at my house, but the Indiana Jones and ET games were awesome. I have to agree with you that being a kid in the 80s was the best :)

  5. by Amber

    On July 2, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    I’m 32, was born in 1979. It makes me sad sometimes that my son, now almost 5, won’t have the same kind of uncomplicated childhood that I had. Kids today (here we go…) expect to be constantly entertained with technology, gadgets, battery operated toys, and the like. We had to make our own fun. My brother and I would play in the backyard, or the neighbors yard when we were 6 and 4, with mom just glancing outside occasionally. We rode bikes, built forts, drew elaborate chalk drawings, and played make believe. I wouldn’t dare let my son play outside unsupervised, let alone ride his bike around the block without me. There was more innocence back then, kids lose that at too young of an age now. But, I don’t think it’s so much that bad things didn’t happen back then, we just weren’t AWARE of them. Now, we hear about everything via the news, Internet, Facebook, twitter, text messages, email and all other technology. Bad news travels faster than a dog with its tail on fire. I think most of the problem is we know too much.

  6. by Joe

    On July 7, 2012 at 12:08 am

    Man, those tube socks are frightening…

    My wife is 6 years older than I am (she was born in ’80, I was born in ’86), and it’s astonishing how different our childhoods were. We have zero in common regarding our upbringing until the mid-90′s. Then we start to agree. A little.