Pete and me and my blanky and waldo. circa 1978
I was born in the early half of the 1970’s. Things were SO different back then. Not the obvious… I played as a kid, i went to school, i did the family obligations, i had friends, i went to sports practice and games and girl scouts… you get the picture….
What was so different is HOW i played as a kid, and Why i went to school, and What my family obligations were etc.
It was a much slower time back then. AND a time with SO MUCH LESS unwarranted fear. So much more communication and planning.
You couldn’t just go by the ATM machine when you got low on cash, you had to make sure that you made it to the bank before 4:30 and if not, you wrote a lot of checks (and probably cashed one at the grocery store!).
You had to have LOTS of patience when trying to reach someone, because, the answering machine had not been invented, nor the cordless phone. This meant that you let the dang thing ring for at least 30 rings just incase they were in the yard, bath etc. There was no caller ID so if you just missed the call, you would have to just sit there wondering who it was and if and when they might call back.
Back then, we could play unsupervised. This meant OUTSIDE. Now, we had markers that were supposed to corral us into not wandering too far (not farther than the field at the end of the Petersen’s lot type thing), but this freedom gave us not only the freedom to adventure and discover, but it gave us an independence that i think carries into the rest of our lives.
Things just moved slower because they had to! Which ultimately meant we all lived with more patience. You had to have patience because if you needed to reach someone, you just had to wait, hope and keep trying.
Meals were simple and nutritious. You know, like a lunch with a pbj sandwich, carrot sticks, cheese and crackers and a milk or juice or something to that effect.
I remember as a kid, you had to get creative (in your own mind!) when it came to playing inside. We had no video games, or vcr’s or dvd’s. For god sake, we did not even have any cable tv. We had 3 network tv channels and 1 public broadcasting station. THATS IT! so, tv was not really that much of a deal.
Instead, we had things, like board games, and Light Bright and even musical instruments to have a marching band through the house. My brother had a chemistry set and an erector set that we would play with and i had Linkon Logs and a tutu!
I would go picking wild flowers and then leave them on the front porch and ring the doorbell and run and hide every May 1 (may day!). And i was sure that my mom couldn’t have known who had done it! lol.
We had a dog and a cat and a bunch of fish, a few hamsters, a gunny pig and a few turtles not to forget a couple of parakeets over the years. My dog and cat were with me my entire childhood so they were also played with a lot.
I still played with dolls (which i would walk down to the creek in their little stroller:) but i also played with Star Wars action figures with my friends usually the boys.
I lived deep in the redwood forest near Santa Cruz, so i was more isolated than most of my friends that lived in town… So, it was somewhat lonely for me out there and what i am sure i would have said extreem bordom… but that ended up being beneficial to me to have lived through, now in modern time. It allows me to escape into isolation and enjoy it.
We had respect and even a little fear of our parents. Not because they ever beat or hurt us, but because we did not want to disappoint them! We had chores. A bunch of them that we had to do before we could make plans or go out and play.
If we were bored, my mom would say, “well, you could clean your room or read a book.” …I managed to find something to do….
The thing that i think my childhood did for me was, teach me that if you work hard, you deserve to reward yourself but not the other way around. And that it is up to me to be responsible and reliable and honest. And if i am, i should feel good about myself no matter what the successes and failures i may encounter.
I was taught to love, and trust (when it is earned) and to show respect. Not only to myself but to others around me.
I was taught not to be ungrateful for what i dont have because SO many people on this plannet would do anything just to have those same situations… and that things could always be worse so look on the bright side.
Most importantly, i was taught not to take for granted so much that i am so blessed for. We get so caught up in all the things that we cant have or didnt get or achieve…
That is not the way to see the world. If you are healthy and have people who love you and do not have to live in constant fear and have the freedom to make your own decisions, then …LIFE IS GOOD!!
Take that with you today.. It is so easy for us to get bogged down and feel the weight of all of the bs of life on our shoulders, but for one day, dont. Dont let it get you down, because you have got it REAL GOOD!! Enjoy it for a day for a change! All that bullshit will still be there waiting for you tomorrow… take a day off and enjoy this beautiful planet with all of its beautiful life and colors and forms. Simplify. Life really is good even if you have a bunch of bills that need to be paid!