Like so many wonderful things, I am a product of the 1980s.
Granted, having been born 14 days into 1988, I don’t remember much of the 80s, but I can still appreciate the culture. Or at least the music. I love 80s music, specifically 80s pop. I don’t know a whole lot about 80s metal or hard rock or anything, but all those one hit wonders and classic pop songs? Karma Chameleon, I Ran (So Far Away), Missing You, Take Me Home Tonight. Love them all. If I’m having a bad day, I just put my 1980s mix on shuffle and my day instantly improves. The music is just so lively and colorful and fun that I can’t help but feel empowered whenever I listen to it.
My love for 80s music began when I was in my freshman year of college. I was browsing through the music section at Target and I just happened upon a 1980’s Classic Radio Hits. I only knew one song at the time (Down Under by Men at Work), but since I didn’t have iTunes at the time, I figured, “What the heck?” and bought it.
I loved it. My favorite song on the album was easily Africa by Toto. The rest is history.
I enjoyed my time in college and grad school, but to be honest, I never really felt like I fit in there the way I did in high school. Weird, right? Usually high school is supposed to be the “not fitting in time” and college is supposed to be when you really find yourself, but for me, it was the other way around. I didn’t have a clue who I was or who I wanted to be in college. It was confusing, especially because my particular group of friends all seemed to know exactly what they wanted. For a lot of them, it was marriage.
Don’t get me wrong. I would love to get married one day. But at the time, I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to live like that with someone… you know… FOREVER. It sounded sort of like a trap to me. I wasn’t sure what I wanted, but I knew I wasn’t ready for that. And despite what chick flicks try to teach us girls, getting a guy is not ALWAYS the answer.
During this time of being the weird single girl trying to find herself amidst a group of happy couples, I often found myself turning to 80s music for comfort. I can’t tell you why, but for some reason, I always felt very free listening to those cheesy one-hit-wonders. I was able to envision myself standing on top of a mountain (which I have now done) or hiking along the seaside (which I have now also done), and I realized that that was what I really wanted out of life. I wanted freedom. I wanted to experience and explore. I wanted to take everything in and see things and learn. Years later, and my lust for freedom is still the driving force behind everything I do, even writing.
Writing gives me a huge sense of freedom and escape. I can go anywhere and do anything I want. Everything I write, I see and experience in my own mind, and I like to think that if I can envision it, I am that much closer to achieving it.
So, to all of you pursuing your dreams, following your ambitions, or perhaps simply trying to figure it all out, I dedicate my favorite 1980s power ballad to you. If this doesn’t give you the energy and power and confidence to shoot for the stars, then I’m not sure anything will.