My article "Synthesis: The 80s And The 00s" was decried by one of this site's members as "completely repetitive, too long for one to read...basically another "life sucks" article".
I will give this poster the repetitive and too long criticisms, but I don't think it was a life sucks article. Alongside praising artists of this decade, I also said the following:
"...Although I do like some stuff from the 90s, in general, much like some older people than me like to pretend the 80s never happened, I like to pretend the 90s never happened. It was Hell on my personal life, but now in the 00s, I'm in a better place, and I wouldn't go back to the 90s if you paid me.
So, expand your horizons and look up new stuff. Think back, but keep looking forward. Time will never stop...Things will be okay. The 00s aren't THAT bad."
I find myself thinking of a lyric by Billy Joel from his song "Keeping The Faith".
The lyric that stayed with me was:
"The good old days weren't always good and tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems."
I am a tremendous 80s fan and I know that many people on here think that the 90s is one of the greatest decades of all time, but every decade has strengths and weaknesses.
I would now like to share some of my strengths in this decade...I've grown up a lot and now I have a lot more going for me than I did in the 90s.
Let's begin with my psychological state:
I was in a very bad place for many years and it was difficult for me to get out of it. This manifested itself in many ways, most of which I've discussed in previous articles. I'm still having a lot of issues, but I find I'm able to deal with them better.
You see, in 2007, I started seeing a psychologist to help me with my personal issues. I had seen several psychologists in the 90s, but I basically used them more as sounding walls then as people who could help me out of my darkest hours. The psychologist I'm currently seeing now has really provided me with a lot of food for thought, and I've been using the skills she's taught me to get into a better place. I still have relapses into angry habits at times, but if you were to tell me in the 90s that I would've become a more calm person (well, most of the time), I wouldn't have believed you.
This leads me into number 2, which is:
I know that in many articles and posts I've bemoaned my social life, but I was thinking about what the mark of social success is. I then decided that I'm a lot more successful than I've given myself credit for.
I feel this is best manifested in my love for karaoke.
It was interesting how I came to this. In 2006, I spent a few days down at the Jersey Shore. There was a bar that had a karaoke night, so I walked over and sang a couple of tunes. It felt good. I then found out that a local bar had karaoke every other Friday. I went to this bar one evening, and I signed up to sing some songs. I recall that on my first night, I performed several songs from rock to R&B.
I tore into the songs with all I had and I instantly formed a fan-base. I've been going there for over 2 years now, and I've met some really cool people. I've learned a lot of things that come naturally to some, but not to others. I've talked to and performed duets with many women, and the guys I've met there have more then compensated for the lack of friends I had in my younger years. While I don't go over to their houses or anything, they have become like brothers to me. They've boosted me when things have gotten rough, and even on my worst nights, they've said I did at least a decent job. These words were far more encouraging than those I got in the 90s from classmates and teachers.
Onward to number 3, which is another reason why I like being an adult:
I was already watching them when I was a kid, but by the time the 90s ended, I was 17, which meant I could see them in theaters. I've taken advantage of that ever since, and with the coming of eBay and employment, I've been able to take things to the limit a lot of the time. I would say that the great majority of movies I own on both DVD and VHS are rated R. There's just something to R-rated movies that makes me like them. If anything, it makes me think of how I would like to be, as well as how I should avoid being. The movies can teach you a lot, whether it be to have fun or know your limits.
When I was younger, I did have a decent amount of R-rated movies in my collection, but as the 90s ended, the bulk of the movies I owned were still PG-13 at most. Now, I can watch an R-rated movie and my Mom won't bat an eyelash at the content.
Number 4 is another advantage I like:
Being able to understand movies in a different light.
When you're younger, you tend to enjoy movies for their surface value. To be fair, I do that, too, but I've also been able to look at movies from a more mature perspective.
A perfect example of that is the 2008 release "Wall-E".
If this movie came out back in the 90s, I would've been young enough to not do any analyzing, but instead just laugh at the animation. Instead, this movie came out in 2008. I was 25 when I saw it, and what I saw was a very interesting portrait of how important support of any kind is.
At the beginning, we see the title character on a desolate Earth sometime in the future. It's a foul, wasted, abandoned place, with all Earthlings having gone off-planet for an extended vacation, and Wall-E is pretty much along. The only things keeping him company are a massive collection of detritus from human history and a small plant. Another robot named EVE comes to Earth for some scavenger work. Wall-E falls in love immediately, but when she takes his plant, it leads him on an interesting adventure that leads to not only love, but also the rehabilitation of the Earth.
Even the smallest of steps can make or break life, and that's a lesson I think we all need to bear in mind. I had known that for a while, but this movie crystallized that thought. I'm always making efforts to keep on the up-and-up (my psychologist has been helping me out on that one), and sometimes I slip, but when I made the move to call my psychologist for the first time, things really started to change. One call was all it took to set me on a journey that will most likely last me the rest of my life, but I hope to take full advantage of as I progress through life.
Finally, on a lighter, but no less important tack, my love of 80s pop culture has finally gained acceptance.
If you've read my previous articles, you know how much of an 80s fan I am, but for a time, my fandom was laughed at. From the late 90s all the way up to my graduation from high school, I don't know what it was, but every time I bought up my love of 80s culture, I was either laughed at or dismissed with a curt joke about what I liked.
I think that 2001 was the last year that my 80s fandom was thought of as odd. I already wrote some stuff for Charles Grosvenor's website inthe80s.com, and early in that year, I started visiting 80s message boards, but in real life, I was still being laughed at, although not as much as I once was.
When I would bring up the music of Duran Duran or Hall And Oates, or quote movies like "Working Girl" and "Scarface", people were starting to laugh less and find it interesting more.
They found it interesting that I knew so much about the decade despite my young age. I would talk to my Mom's friends more, and still later, when I joined Wal-Mart, I would talk to my co-workers about the culture of the 80s, and they would engage me back about it.
When people wanted to know about 80s culture, they often come to me for information about it. Having a paying job allows me to acquire media from that decade so I can learn more and more about it. I still have a very long way to go with it, and I know that I'll never know everything about the 80s, but it won't stop me from learning.
I do know this, though.:
In the 90s, I was somewhat of a laughingstock.
Now, in 2008, I have achieved success on many levels. If you were to tell me in the 90s that I would be interviewing 80s celebrities and getting a rousing reception for my singing, I would've though you were crazy. Strange how things can turn out.
I do have my weaknesses in this decade, but these difficulties are personal, emotional and mental ones that I've had at all points in my life, even in my youth. All in all, the 00s have been far better to me than the 90s have. Many people on here think life sucks today, but for me, there's just something about the 00s that makes me feel really good. When I turn on the TV, the visions and audio make me feel happy. The music on the radio is so sweet to my ears. What I'm reading is of my own volition and not mandated by a school.
It's difficult for me to really put this into words, but I'll just cap it off by saying:
2008 and I'm 25,
Life is better and that's no jive.
I'm always getting better kicks,
On December 22nd, I'm turning 26!
With that, the floor is open for discussions.
What is it about the 00s that's earned it such enmity? Is that criticism justified? Enough with the hatred...What do you LIKE about this decade?
*Special thanks to Ravage for getting pictures for me.