You hear it quite a lot. “I wish I had been alive during the sixties or eighties, it was such a better time. I was born in the wrong generation, I guess.” I’m here to tell you that no, you weren’t. Out of all the the things that people frequently say in modern times, this is the one that puzzles me to no end. I’ve always been thankful to be alive in this day and age, and I don’t think people realize exactly how fortunate they are that things shook out the way they did. Let’s do a quick breakdown of what it would be like if you were alive in other time periods besides this one, and see if you would actually want to do that at all.
So you went back in time and are now alive 100 years ago. Congratulations, you can’t vote in many states. That sucks. You also get to enjoy one of the largest influenza epidemics in history, then have about a decade of fun before the Great Depression. That’s a hard pass for me.
Just try to think of what daily life actually would have been like. You’d probably be at home raising a family, and the chances you’d be attending college are much slimmer than they are now. A McDonald’s meal is a quarter of the size it is in the present day. If someone really wanted to get ahead of you badly enough, they could fabricate a whole narrative about how you sympathize with communists. That’s not a good look at all. Besides that, Jim Crow laws were still in effect, and the average household was much less likely to have air conditioning. If you’re 18-22, chances are you’re already starting a family. Fuck all that noise, the 1950’s objectively sucked.
Suppose you were a college student in America in the 1960’s. Holy shit, you can do lots of fun things like go to Woodstock! Except that by many accounts, Woodstock was a total shitshow and wasn’t a great time at all. Plus, you would have to live through some of the most turbulent times in American history, including the sharp economic downturn at the end of the decade. When people say that music in this decade was all great and far superior to what we have now, just remember that the ’60s music you have now has stood the test of time. A large portion of the music that dominated the ’60s was total garbage like The Archies and similar bands.
The 1980’s are romanticized more than almost any other decade in American history, and it sure did seem to be a lot of fun. I bet a lot of you wish you could have gone to college in that decade, but let’s go through a quick day in the life of your ’80s college self. Look at that, it’s time to register for classes. All you have to do is find the classes you want in a catalog, go stand in line at the admissions office, fill out a form for each course you want to take, and wait a few days for your results. If you can’t get into one of the classes you need, go back every day to check if any spots open up.
After that whole mess, you remember that you’ve agreed to catch a movie with your friends. You head over to the theater to catch Road House. You told your friends to meet you at 6:15, but now it’s 6:28 and you’re not sure where they are. Did they run into traffic? Are they already inside? You have no fucking clue. What about this movie? You’ve heard about it, but you can’t just check your phone to see if it’s any good or not. Thankfully, Road House kicked ass.
You’re wearing oversized sweatshirts and denim jackets. If you’re about to type a reply that you never did that in the ’90s, then congratulations. You’re 35 years old and reading a sorority website.
This is absolutely the best time to be alive in all of human history. You can do all your banking, order new clothes, make plans with friends, and have a pizza delivered to your place without moving a muscle. You have access to nearly all of the information that has ever been recorded in human history. Plus, you live in a day and age where it’s acceptable to fuck around and be single until you’re 30. Find me a better time in history, I dare you..