My childhood was in the 60’s and 70’s, life seemed calm and uncomplicated and people were content with their lot, obesity was rare as was divorce, teenage pregancy and drug taking.
40 years later and the world seems a dark, unforgiving place where unhappiness and envy rules and where you’re judged on how many friends you’ve got on Facebook.
Simple question, are the best years now behind us?
Simple answer Tim.
When I was in London growing up I had an amazing time meeting interesting people within my world of interest. So music, fashion,dance, cooking and people.
I had unlimited energy and had a great time without the use of drugs and very little alcohol.
But the drug scene was definitely there and I was on the edge of several situations which were related to neighbours and a work collegue and they were unpleasant experiences.
My real friends are very important to me and I know who they are.
Some of the time the world seems dark when dark things happen and they happen often.
But I still look for adventure and find it.
You were a child, so yes life would have seemed uncomplicated and calm. And I assume you were a white male child, so the rampant sexism and racism may have passed you by. As a single girl/young women it wasn’t uncomplicated and calm if you wanted to be independent and determine your own future.
For example, some parts of the education system were geared towards men - I remember when I said I wanted to be a doctor as a little kid my teachers suggested I should aspire to be a nurse. (I did neither…)
And there was a pressure to conform that was quite overwhelming. Even things like the pill were originally only available to married women.
My memories are not as sunny as yours. Couldn’t be as I was engulfed in cigarette smoke…
Ah yes as a female chef it was a little harder to prove my capabilities as it was at that time a male dominated world and there were a few funny/crazy incidences which I can recall.
I was a 60’s child too, life did seem a lot simpler, but I guess we were in ignorance of a lot of what was going on - cold war, real threat of nuclear armageddon. No mobiles, computers, PlayStation thingies, . Could go and play in the street or park, get into fights without knives. Of course, had no money either, dad had a clapped out Morris minor…
who had money.
Who was that bothered about it.
But yes it is so so important now…like an illness.
Of course the best years are behind us, but that doesn’t mean that the years ahead shouldn’t be fun too🤡
Memories are strange … I can’t remember a rainy day at school, it was always sunny. As a late 50s child I was unaware of the post-War grieving and rebuilding, my parents shielded me from poverty and unhappiness so my recollections of childhood are golden ones. But the 60s and 70s had a lot of unfairness (equal pay, signs saying ‘No Irish or Blacks’ on rentals, etc.) and workplace unrest. But I remember murders making front page news. In the 70s I was turned down for a mortgage as I was a single woman, despite earning as much as my male peers (eventually Abbey National blazed the trail ) and my nieces are astonished that this could ever happen.
There’s more opportunities available to younger people today and better communications mean easier lives, more information and help for all. Technology that makes lives easier. More choice. Better networks. Equality (well, mostly).
Threat of war? Well we had the Cold War and I guess today’s generation has the nuclear threat.
I suspect in forty years’ time a younger generation will be starting a similar thread on a similar forum and saying “ah, we had the best years” …
I remember the name of ght of the stand off between Kennedy and Kruschev over russian missiles on Cuba and wondering if we would all be killed during the night.
I would love my time again, but in the same era, no desire to spend 70 odd years in todays World, considering the direction it’s taking, but I do hope for the sake of my younger wife and Her daughter, solutions will be found to the looming problems, political and climatic to name two.
Does anyone else remember when TV shut down for the night there would be a picture of Big Ben with the hands close to midnight and a time observation as to how close we were to nuclear war? I guess that must have been around the kennedy/Kruschev time. I mentioned this to my adult sons recently and they were amazed.
One of the reasons I moved to rural France is that everyday life reminds me of my childhood in rural south west England. When I was at Promary School I knew the majority of the people in my small town and it’s like that here. Life in my old home town has changed out of all recognition, despite it having hardly changed physically. My nephew grew up in the same house as I did but did not enjoy the same freedom as I had, times had changed. In my Primary School class the only single parent families were through death not divorce. The only friend that I had with divorced parents was in the class above but we were good friends because we were neighbours. I was a white male so presumably had a privileged upbringing but my two sisters seemed to do just as well; my elder sister left home in her late teens, turned down the university places offered to her and went to live in first Plymouth then Exeter and managed bookshops in both cities. My younger sister married and ran a number of successful businesses alongside her husband. Good times, happy times. We too endured smoke, my father smoked like so many others did then.
Togetherness David and the natural progression of friendship, or at least association with your neighbours.
Yes, on the whole that seems to be here in my village and I felt it landsliding away in London.
Never thought about it before but the spirit of joining in to celebrate and or just chat is important. Perhaps the Royal wedding brought every one together even just for the day and ignited the memory of what was and what could be.
I agree that 40 years ago racism, sexism and inequality were far more prevalent than they are now but we didn’t have the scale of gang violence, of human trafficking/exploitation, of having to keep up with your neighbours or friends that we see today. Computers were meant to help us but we are actually their slaves, as for the power of social media well IMO it is destroying the way we should interact with others.
Maybe I do have a ‘rose-tinted’ view of my formative years but I wouldn’t want to be born in the 21st Century.
Your younger years were not without blemishes and neither were mine but the challenges were different. Every things so much more aggressive now. And yes so many gangs…but in my younger days wherever I went in London there were gangster so close by…far too close for comfort!; the Krays, the Piermans, Operation Julie and drug dealing in dwellings where I lived
I got really, really tired of it.
So life amongst the vines is refreshing.
Nor would I want to be born now Tim, the days are gone when neighbours loooked out for others kids, we roamed the woods and seashore the cliffs and the harbour freely, went fishing, hunted for crabs among the rocks fished from the piers, played and swam on the beaches, sledging in the winter, early teens rock climbing, walking and camping in the Lakes, just a few of the things we had in Whitehaven, a rough fishing, coal and iron mining area, but a great community, a wonderful place to grow up.
I didn’t enjoy my formative years one bit and whilst I wouldn’t want to have been born in the 21st century, maybe, just maybe, I’d enjoy it.
My mother always said her best years were when she was young during the war!
I agree with everything you say about computers and social media but it’s just the way young people choose to interact. They don’t have any interest in what we used to do.
Really Kris no interest in great parties, clubs galore, wonderful affordable fashion, the massive explosion of music which is do special that it lives on today and appears in adverts
and is enjoyed at weddings.Even the food we cooked…the great prawn cocktail and the chicken kiev are still enjoyed…not forgetting mums best presentations for celebrations.
We have all buried our heads into the keyboard and text out lives away…but it was great back then.
‘They don’t have any interest in what we used to do.’
What do you mean by that? Do you mean that young people don’t like you reminiscing or that they have different interests?
My children along with my nephew and their friends actually share many of the same interests as me, those I grew up enjoying. Family interests are passed on from generation to generation. I cycled, walked, sailed, played team sports, read, listened to music and went to concerts and enjoyed the outdoors in general and nature in particular. They enjoy all those. They do things that I didn’t in addition; as a child I travelled throughout Europe with my parents and continued to do so as an adult. My children travel the world. Cheap flights and easy to book accommodation have opened up opportunities unavailable to me. They eat out more than I ever did at their age and go to more sporting events. Technology has enhanced their lives not restricted it. In general they are no more attached to their smartphone and tablets than I am. I worry about them, especially the two who live in London, when I read about street violence, crime and drugs but they just get on with life. I don’t envy them their student debt or the difficulty they face if they want to own their own home.
In conclusion I enjoyed a great childhood but that was more to do with what my parents could offer me and where I lived, my children seem to have had a pretty good time too. The generation before me lived through WW2, the one after with the emergence of new technologies, in life you have to make the most of what is offered and learn to take the rough with the smooth.
You can develop a technique of taking the rough with the smooth.