This Is 2015

by Kathleen Siddell
Originally Published: 

But you know the part in Back to the Future where Marty tells Doc about 1985? He mentions that Ronald Reagan is president and Doc gasps, “the actor?!” I feel like that could be me in the ’80s telling myself about 2015.

Forty women and counting have accused Bill Cosby (Fat Albert, Cliff Huxtable, the funny guy who hocked JELL-O Pudding Pops) of raping them. Billy Joel hasn’t had a hit in years but still sells out stadiums (and was right about the fire). Bill Murray is still hilarious.

Cartoons are on all the time. Saturday mornings are now for practices and appointments and a sacred time to indulge our busy-ness.

Remember when you first got three-way-calling, and you could talk to two friends at once and it was the greatest thing? When you see an iPhone, your head is going to explode.

We have a black president, Oprah Winfrey is one of the most powerful and successful women in the world, and yet racial tension and violence rage on.

Bruce Springsteen is still the boss. Bruce Willis married and divorced Brat Packer Demi Moore. Bruce Jenner is now a woman called Caitlyn.

Shoulder pads will never come back in style. Neither will perms. But hold on to your leg warmers and Jordache jeans—your kids can wear them on ’80s Day during spirit week.

The ageless, plane-crash-surviving, Harrison Ford must be a robot.

Farm Aid is still happening and still necessary. Live Aid is not still happening but still necessary. And the argument about whether or not we should donate to charities that help citizens overseas or in the United States is still happening and not necessary.

Reading food labels requires an advanced degree in chemistry.

O.J. Simpson was tried for the murder of his ex-wife and her friend but found not guilty. His lawyer’s ex-wife and children are now one of the richest and most powerful celebrity families today. And, if you can believe it, Caitlyn Jenner is the dad and stepdad to the kids. Oh, and O.J. still ended up in prison.

We are living longer but more diseased.

We have appliances to clean the air. Most people drink water from plastic bottles. And we pay at least double for fruit not grown with pesticides.

Michael Jackson died too soon. Michael Jordan played too long. Michael Hutchence did too many drugs.

We still have MTV, but they no longer play music videos. Some of their programs are loosely related to music. I think. (It’s virtually unintelligible to people over 30.)

News is presented as entertainment. Entertainers deliver the news. We have more information than ever before, but it still feels like we are largely misinformed.

Women play professional sports, run for president, and run major corporations but are still largely judged by their appearance.

Of all the people on Growing Pains, Luke, the homeless kid who joins the cast in its last season, will become the major Hollywood movie star.

You know how you write notes to your friends and fold them into a small square pocket? And sometimes you get so mad at one friend that you write something mean about her to another friend? But then you make up and you rip the note into tiny pieces, throw it away and move on? Now notes are passed on a computer, but what you write can never be torn up into tiny pieces and can (sometimes) be viewed by millions.

And thanks to computers, we are simultaneously more anonymous but less public with our views.

Remember the somber voice telling you “this is your brain on drugs”? Today kids are more medicated than ever before.

And yet, It’s harder to get a prescription for Prozac than it is to buy a gun.

Kids have to be strapped into car seats, but sometimes they carry guns to school.

The Cold War is over, but Americans are still dying in Libya, Russia is still a bully, and the arms race has moved to the United States where it’s citizen against citizen.

Offending and taking offense is a sport played on the politically correct field, and no one ever wins.

We’re still on the quest for a magic diet pill, a cure for cancer and an alternative to oil, but we’ve figured out how to inject our wrinkles to make them smooth and enhance our chests to make them larger (or smaller).

So, little ’80s girl, what can I say? Life doesn’t move in a steady line toward “better.” Progress is not a simple step forward. Life is complicated, so simplify what you can. Be kind. Be open. Love more. Judge less. Live more. Compare less. Strive for peace.

Actually, I think The Breakfast Club says it best. Don’t see people (or the world) in the simplest terms and with the most convenient definitions. Find the brain, athlete, basket case, princess and criminal in everyone. You’re part of a six billion piece puzzle. Do more to help put it together and less to keep it in pieces.

This article was originally published on