A Teen Dream?

I had a shocker of a time as a teenager. From age 13-16, life sucked. Maybe I’ll write about it one day, but for now let’s just say I wouldn’t go back and do those years again if you paid me in cold hard cash and pretty handbags. When I was 16, things started to change and that was largely due to the people I met, the group that pulled me in and the confidence it gave me. Some of those people are still my closest friends. The kind of ‘don’t speak to for months, then it’s like no time has passed at all’ people. You know the kind.

Anyway I got to talking about these people and that time with new friends this weekend and it got me thinking. I was a teen in the mid 90’s. No one had a mobile phone let alone access to Facebook or Twitter (our school only got internet access in 96. On one computer in the library. That you had to book to use!). If we wanted to find out what was going on in each other’s lives, we had to use the landline (after 6pm) or meet up. In person. We rarely made plans. The summer evenings were for hanging out. But we never made ‘appointments’ or sent iCals. No, we had the ‘circuit’. Our circuit was a network as much any social media platform; only ours was a network of roads, within a self defined area of my home town. Our way of finding each other was to go to those roads. Our plans went as far as “Stay on the circuit. I’ll find you” We didn’t know where each other would be, we just trusted that one or more or us would be there somewhere. And we were.

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6th Form Me circa 1996

Teenagers today would never need to be so haphazard. Every meet up can be planned and re-planned and cancelled and locations changed at the ping of a message on any one of the hundreds of social media platforms available. And that makes me just a little sad. Surely it takes some of the spontaneity and indeed camaraderie out of those fleeting years. Or maybe it doesn’t, who the hell am I? I don’t know any teenagers. I’m just making old people assumptions. But in my eyes everyone using the same platforms and having access to everyone else at all hours makes me wonder if these kids wont lose some of the freedom, the uncertainty, the fun I had growing up? Which may or may not be a bad thing. I mean the only time we ever arranged to all be somewhere in advance was for the occasional party at someone’s house. And they NEVER went well (I mean parts of them were brilliant, but something always went awry, usually caused by the same over hormonal girl – not me may I add!) I bet today’s teens could arrange a much better house party than we ever could. We were so unused to organising that we would whip ourselves up into a ridiculously over excited frenzy. Like toddlers hepped up on sugar. No wonder it always went wrong. Today’s teens are so much more sophisticated than we were. I bet they’d never get so excited over a silly house party.

Or maybe they would? I hope so. I hope today’s kids spend as many hours as I did daydreaming about this month’s favourite guy, or deliberating over which dress to wear to the next party, or playing albums til they know all the words off by heart. I hope they have real friends, who they can muddle through these bonkers years with, people they can be themselves with, whatever that may be. The new friend I was talking with this weekend, was of the opinion that teenagers have been homogenized and that there is no opportunity for sub-cultures to exist or develop any more. I hope that’s not true. An entire generation of teens thinking and doing and being the same thing, is going to result in some fucking boring adults.

Do you have teens? What do they reckon to all of this? Do they think I’m just old and out of touch? I’d love to know.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Love this – haven’t really thought about it too much. There are definite differences but seeing my sister in law grow up from 13-18 everything seems quite similar. Except for the constant contact. I remember having to use the home phone, and having to have conversations in front of the rest of my family. And only giving the phone number to people you wouldn’t mind your parents talking to! haha!!

    • mrssavageangel says:

      Thanks hon. Yeah I think that’s the thing – the constant contact. I love my mates to bits, I’m not sure I’d have wanted to have them in my pocket 24//7 when I was going through the hormonal maelstrom that was teenage!

  2. Aw the circuit! You just knew they’d be there, and I remember so well waiting for 6pm to tick over so I could call my friends ‘what are you wearing tomorrow? I’ll wear the same’. ah the memories #effitfriday

  3. This brought back memories. I was a teenager in the 90’s too and my school had a computer room that we were only allowed to be in during class. I actually didn’t get familiar with the internet until I met my ex-husband. He taught me everything I need to know about it. Now, my kids (13 and 8) are practically experts but as a parent who doesn’t believe that life should revolve around technology, I don’t allow my boys access to social media. Well, YouTube but that is monitored and they have to use my account. It’s nothing like the “old days” is it? LOL. Thanks for sharing. Visiting from #effitfriday

    • mrssavageangel says:

      It really isn’t. Not that I think that’s necessarily a bad thing. The world changes constantly and how we lived our teen years our parents would never have dreamed of. I know my son will grow up in a techno-centric world. It’s just a fact. However social media platforms are difficult things. I personally adore them, they allow me to do what I do. Would I want Oscar on them? Would I have a choice? 10 years down the line who knows where we’ll be. Not where we are now that’s for sure! I’m glad you’ve found a solution that works for you now though.

      • Yeah. I know my kids will eventually be on the Internet with their own accounts but until that day I talk to them openly about being safe on the Internet. I also think hanging out with your friends in real life is a dying notion and I would like my kids to know what it feels like to be physically around people who care about them and how fun it is.

  4. This is such great post, bringing back those memories! I think I had exactly the same hairstyle as you in a school photo and wore a chunky choker necklace…we must of been the coolest kids around. I would be prettified to go to school these days with all the social media to keep up with and I know if I were a teenager now I would make silly immature mistakes with it (but to be expected as you are allowed to be immature when you’re young!). All I did was watch TV in the evenings then fir fun, and a day out was going to the supermarket with my mum and convincing her to buy Ben and Jerrys so I could eat it catching up on just17 magazine. #effitfridays

    • mrssavageangel says:

      We were totally the coolest! I even had my boyfriend’s Mercedes Benz jumper on in that picture (he used to work in their show room!). I think we pretty much lead similar lives too, although I don’t think I had Ben and Jerrys until I moved to London in 97. I was much more of a Haagen Daaz fan until then. I have to say I’m not sure how life would have been as a teen with access to the whole world in my pocket. Maybe I’d have been less lonely in my early teen years, but then maybe I wouldn’t be who I am today!

  5. Feel quite nostalgic now! The good old days when if you made plans to meet someone, you actually had to go because you had no mobile phone to text and cancel! Maybe house parties are more sophisticated now (I still think for the most part they revolve around cheap alcohol though so maybe not), but at least we didn’t get over 1000 people seeing it on Facebook and trashing your house lol 🙂 #effitfriday
    Debbie
    http://www.myrandommusings.blogspot.com

    • mrssavageangel says:

      That’s so true! You HAD to go, regardless. And if you didn’t, man were you in trouble! That is very very true. I had one tiny house party that got sort of crashed and the house got trashed. It took us a whole day to clean up (including removing and washing curtains – my mum was away). I can’t imagine how badly it could have gone had more people turned up!

  6. Haha the spending all day in school together and then 4 hours on the phone, with the sharing of the phone line with the internet!

    Technology worries me and excites me at the same time, the use of text messages made my life at uni much easier. But I bet Facebook also makes for some hideous times and embarrassment that I’d rather my kids not end up having the world see them in some ridiculous state.

    Thanks for linking with #effitfriday

    • mrssavageangel says:

      Ha I must be much older than you. We didn’t have the internet at home when I lived there!

      There is always that worry of what you put out there stays out there. I’m sure todays teens will look back in 20 years and shake their heads at what teens of the day do and think they had it best!

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