If you’re an 80s fan, but were born after the 80s, you’re probably feeling really left out on the experience. You may have multiple playlists of songs from the decade. Your shelves might be full of special edition DVDs of Indiana Jones, Gremlins, and Back to the Future. Perhaps you have even collected a good amount of cheesy 80s Halloween costume crap from your local party store. Now, ask yourself, is this an authentic way of experiencing the 1980s? Trust me, it is not.
The suggestions in this article may seem impossible for you tech fanatics out there, but please realize that it is healthy to unplug sometimes. You’ll be a happier person for it. If anything, it will give you something exciting to post online afterwards. On the other hand, you may be the kind of person who already lives a pretty ‘eighties’ lifestyle already. If so, I would love to hear your comments for additions to this article. Now, with the disclaimers out of the way, let’s begin.
As I mentioned before, the first step is to go low-tech. Back then, only the rich could afford cellular phones. So, leave your phone at home when going out. If you absolutely need to call, like for an emergency, ask the nearest human being where you can make a phone call. Phones aren’t the only tech we need to step down from, there are also computers. Yes, we had computers in the 80s, but they were very different. If you don’t have the resources to literally put together an 80s PC, I recommend using your current computer in an 80s style. By that I mean using it only for typing, games, and other software.
Next, I want to discuss movies. If you keep an eye on the movie listings at your local theaters, they may show older films from time to time. The best way to watch a film from the 80s, or older, is to see it on the big screen. That was the way these films were meant to be shown because home video was a new thing in the eighties. Most filmmakers were only thinking in cinematic terms when crafting their films.
When there aren’t any good movies being shown, you can go find them on VHS, Beta, or Laserdisc. For this option, you will need to find, or dust off, a player. The videos themselves can be found very cheap at used book sellers and rummage sales, but if you ask around you may know of someone who is looking to unload theirs. Another option would be to go to Amazon and stock up on movies there. You’ll find that these are the cheapest way to buy movies and create an authentic 80s film collection. I recommend VHS and Beta, as they are sturdy cassettes that last longer than discs. You can also find Laserdiscs online and at some used book stores, but they are harder to find, as they weren’t as popular.
Then there’s music. You may think that compact discs are the way to go. Although CD’s were invented in the eighties, they were not yet popular. Compact disc players were more expensive, and the populace weren’t very interested in upgrading from their loyal old record players. Vinyl is the way to go. If you don’t want to be mistaken for a hipster, though, another option is cassette tape. When you’re out and about vinyl isn’t a good option. You will need a portable tape player. I would say Walkman, but it is a brand name, and there are other brands. These were the main ways of listening to music in the eighties, but there will always be the option of going to see live music when a band is playing in your area. Unfortunately, live music is a lot more expensive today than it was in the eighties, so tapes and records are your best bet for quality eighties music.
If retrograding your movies and music is too much for you, stop here. My next suggestions for eighties living are more intense. They are only for the most dedicated retro fans. So, don’t take things too seriously, and don’t say that I didn’t warn you. These suggestions will involve stepping away from your computer. They will involve interacting with people. They may even involve conflict and confusion being drawn to you. If you want to live in the eighties, you cannot be a wimp.
If you haven’t already realized that the eighties was pre-Politically Correct culture, take a moment now to review the past twenty-thirty years. This fact is inherent in the movies and music of the eighties you’ve been enjoying whether or not you noticed. The eighties was the last decade when you could really speak your mind with no filter and not be reprimanded. There were no online forums to be reprimanded on. Movies and music reflected that fact. Yes, this also means that it was very likely you could be bullied or harassed and you couldn’t normally sue the person offending you. But guess what, you could fight back on your own and get revenge. Also, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Fighting for what you believe in is a good thing. The climate of the eighties was more individualistic in that fighting, being a conservative decade, but it was strong. What I’m saying is, don’t be afraid to speak your mind, just as we did in the eighties.
When you are speaking your mind, you actually have to speak. No social media or texting, or anything like that. These things were not around yet. You have to use your voice. You have to interact with other people around you. I know that you may feel that you still do that even with the internet being available, but you will need to do this more than usual if you intend to truly live eighties style. Go out, relax, chat with people, and speak your mind. I think you’ll find it’s more fun and easy to do than sitting in a closed off bubble on your phone.
Did I say fun? Yes, I did. Anyone who has seen an eighties teen movie knows that people in the eighties knew how to have fun. Some people had fun hanging around the mall with friends and/or shopping all day. Others went out to nightclubs and danced the night away to the remnants of disco music. Many sought out the flashing lights of an arcade. There were always movies, concerts, sporting events, and community functions to gather at. Go out. Either with a little help from your friends, or all by yourself, you can and must party hearty to live eighties.
The last topic I want to touch on is food. You may think that food never changes. Certainly not in only thirty years, right? Wrong. The ‘in’ foods change all the time. Even the normal family dinner differs depending on location, time, and culture. Let’s focus on the typical middle class American family dinners in the eighties. It would include a meat, vegetables, grains, and glass of milk or water. A simple, healthy meal in normal proportions. There were fewer vegetarians at the time, and fewer meatless options for vegetarians and vegans. Only a few niche stores catered to the small population. More than that, the eighties was before our beloved ‘superfoods’ became popular. No acai, quinoa, ancient grains, gluten free, chia, matcha, or sriracha sauce. But, we can thank the decade for the introduction of many snack foods, like Cool Ranch Doritos, Fruit Rollups, Handi-Snacks, Crystal Light, Capri Sun, Teddy Grahams, and Diet Coke. So, when you’re done with your healthy dinner, you can pick up a bag of Doritos.
If you have any more suggestions for how to live like it’s the eighties, please post a comment below. Or, if you have already taken this challenge, it would be wonderful if you could share your experiences. Were the people around you confused? How do you feel that the world has changed?