The 1970’s! An era of funky music, disco flares and crazy afros. I would fiercely argue that some of the greatest hits we listen to, even now in present day, were a special gift from the 70s. The Bee Gees, Jackson 5, Chic, Earth Wind and Fire (to name a few) produced iconic tracks that never seem to age. We still hear them on the radio and dance to them at parties. They remain the cheerful soundtracks to our 2017 lives. Even the re-occurring fashion trends; flares are an item of clothing I refuse to leave behind, along with jumpsuits and the highly common flower-power dresses. So, with all of this in mind, and an apparent appreciation for the 1970s as an era and a culture; was I born in the wrong era? I am content and happy, but given the opportunity to retreat and live in the world we knew forty years ago, I would give it good consideration. Am I just playing ignorance by focusing on a few of my favourite chosen aspects in this period? Am I ignoring the fact that, forty years on, we have progressed in so many important ways?
Medicine, being a main focal point of the past century: face transplants, cancer treatment, prosthetics and vaccines have all improved the quality of life of those who have suffered and faced misfortune and tragedy. Family members and friends would have dealt with more complications with illnesses, given they were treated with the surgical procedures of three decades ago, compared to the improved systems we have today, and I am more grateful to be living in a society in which life expectancy is higher and medical treatment are better, than to be living in one which isn’t.
Technology is something else that has accelerated, particularly in the last decade. iPhone’s and iPads have taken over the modern world, something my parents say they are grateful they didn’t have to interrupt their youth. So, why are we so consumed with the latest gadgets and trends?
Social media addiction is something common amongst the full, adolescent population. I don’t believe that our relationship with social media is completely healthy. It has been linked to depression amongst 14-24-year olds and does consume a lot of our time. But, on the other hand, it is another factor that has improved communications across the globe and helped widespread advertising. I have family in Spain, and I would much prefer a Skype conversation with them, over a written letter or postcard.
We cannot ignore the fact that hopping into a time machine and having free will over opportunities we have missed because we weren’t born in our favourite era, like seeing our favourite artist live in concert or having the ability to attend a special past event, isn’t something we would all love to do. However, I do believe that this is different and more flexible than existing and living permanently in the period itself. We would all choose to relive our favourite moments if we could, but isn’t the whole point of life to experience? The lows so that we can appreciate the highs, despite which era we were born in.
I enjoy having options. The quirkiness of a typewriter I could have used to write this article, but the more efficient laptop that I would much prefer. As time progresses, and we evolve as a population, the options we have increase and this usually (not always) improves our way of life.
The quality of the memories we make and the experiences we share, is not dependent solely on the era we were born in. Each decade has an extensive list of positives and negatives that a generation will reminisce about; hindsight is a wonderful thing. But personally, I believe if you are happy and satisfied with the life you have and the memories you have made, regardless of which year you were born in, you can pick and choose the themes of your favourite decades, and incorporate them into the life you wish to lead in the present. It’s having the best of both worlds and deciding not to dwell on what we wish we had, and instead, be grateful for what we do have.
By Abi Robinson