10 Ways Life's Changed Since 1985 (Or Has It?)

by Kristin O'Keefe
Originally Published: 

Inspired by the 30th anniversary of The Breakfast Club this year (what?!), let’s follow the evolution of an ’80s teen and revisit 10 key milestones.

1. Work

1985: Got the Chi-Chi’s hostess job, $3.50 an hour!

2015: Someone’s paying me to write! At the freelance rate, which equates to … about $3.50 an hour.

© Kristin O’Keefe

2. Waiting (Also Known as ‘Isn’t It Funny What We Put Our Lives on Hold For?’)

1985: Sat by phone waiting for that boy from the beach to call.

2015: Sit by phone waiting for kid’s soccer schedule to get posted.

3. Snack Food

1985: Ruffles potato chips and sour cream and onion dip.

2015: Duh … should have bought stock in Lipton Onion Soup Mix.

4. Movies

1985: Release of The Breakfast Club. Told I resemble Ally Sheedy! But does he mean the dandruffy version or the lipsticked Ally Sheedy? Ponder this for years.

2015: Watch The Breakfast Club with kids. Teen is horrified to watch it with her family; 11-year-old loves all the inappropriate scenes and language I forgot about. (Note: Remind 11-year-old not to tell teen about the time we watched the original Bad News Bears.) Still not sure which Ally Sheedy I was. Nice to not care anymore.

5. Fave Jeans

1985: Saved up my Chi-Chi’s paychecks for a pair of $85 paisley Guess jeans. Wildly admired purchase that met with a sad end when beloved jeans were later traded for a pair of grey Hanes sweatpants. Apparently my college diet got between me and my Guess jeans.

2015: Found online: paisley Guess jeans. On sale for $19. Probably marked down because of “super skinny” qualifier. Women don’t love those. At any age. Especially when we can get Hanes sweatpants for same price.

6. Parking

1985: Driver’s ed: somehow successfully parallel-parked Pontiac station wagon in under five minutes. Passed driver’s test by the narrowest of margins. Instructor pleaded with me to continue to drive with my parents for several more months. I forgot to tell them that last part.

2015: Still cannot parallel park, but for some reason am really good at backing into tight parking spots. Recent highlight: reversed minivan into tiny spot between two Jaguars. Had to climb out sliding back door. Neglected to figure out how Jag owners would get in their cars.

7. Trophies

1985: Resigned myself to fact that I’d never win a single trophy. Pretended it didn’t matter.

2015: This is huge, people. You can buy yourself a trophy … that also doubles as a wine stopper. Isn’t America grand?

© Kristin O’Keefe

8. Concerts

1985: That Purple Rain tour? With Prince in the bathtub? And Sheila E. and that guy she pulled up from the audience and then he … they … never mind.

2015: Um, yeah, honey, Taylor does have an awesome wardrobe and peppy songs. No one’s learning anything new here though. Back in my day … never mind.

9. Sleep

1985: Slept nine hours a night. School went 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Left enough time for one activity and/or a job, homework. No need for caffeine.

2015: Local high school starts at 7:20 a.m. I rely on coffee. Teen not there yet but could be soon. This is crazy.

10. Friends

1985: I chose wisely.

2015: Still choosing wisely. Love the kids’ friends too. And this matters more than which level of competitive soccer you play, how many AP classes you take or what college you attend. People trump rankings every time. Trust me. I’ve been around a while.

Bonus Material

The song Nothing Compares 2 U, clearly an ode to Ruffles and sour cream and onion dip, was originally written by Prince in 1985. It was made famous by Sinead O’Connor a few years later. For the record: Prince always wins, against anyone. (What if he filled the purple bathtub with sour cream and onion dip?! I’ll bring the chips.)

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