Remember the days before there was color TV? Remember Bruce Springsteen’s first album, rather than his seventeenth (literally, rock on)? Of course not, but your parents do. As the decades overturn and gain new identities, so do generations. We live in an entirely different culture from our parents and grandparents, and our children will one day come to this same conclusion. So when they ask questions such as, “What was it like back then,” you better have plenty to tell them.
1. iPods: In just seven years, we stand here holding our iPod touches and carelessly disposing of our now archaic pink iPod minis. I mean, Microsoft Word doesn’t even underline “iPod” in red anymore. These near-computer music players have quickly displaced Boomboxes, (wait for it) Walkmen, and who knows what’s next.
2. Facebook: Do you see a future without Facebook? Where will every picture you’ve ever taken go?! Lucky for us, Timeline is now recording our lives from our freshman-year-of-high-school Facebook debuts. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if that was sarcastic or not. Whether Facebook will persist as a cultural superpower is unknown, but we can say we were there from the start.
3. Harry Potter: I don’t know about you, but HP is definitely a soft spot for me. Going to the midnight premier of the last movie was like waving farewell to a magic-filled childhood. You better believe my kids are going to read those books as soon as they can say “Hogwarts.”
4. Barack Obama: Our current president is going in the textbooks as the first African American president, which conveniently occurred in the election that was a political awakening for our age group —pretty powerful stuff.
5. The Sears Tower: I’m telling you, this “Willis Tower” name is not going to stick. Never will I gaze upon the glorious Chicago skyline and point out the Willis Tower. It’s up to us to keep its real name.
6. Your First Car: Your first car represents your freedom, prized possession, Rosita , or [Insert Name]-mobile. I will gladly keep my Chevy Equinox that I share with my sister forever. A picture of it tucked safely in the garage did have a stint as my phone background for a while…
7. Reality Television: The writers of these “shows” really should have thought through the concept of documenting the absurd lives of equally absurd people. Not only are pop culture personalities, as shameful as they may be, recorded for eternity, but also recorded are the fashions, languages, and trends of the time. OMG, yikes!
8. Boy Bands: Oddly enough, boy bands are making an unpredicted come back. Of course, the Jonas Brothers will never reach the level of N*SYNC, but it will be interesting to track the crests and troughs of the phenomenon that is a group of tween-to-teenage boys singing directly to the camera. They may be what keeps the poster industry alive.
9. Gas Guzzlers: I cannot wait for these environmental haters to be a thing of the past. Hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, we will all realize how utterly ridiculous Hummers are, and how there is no rational need for SUVs that take up two lanes.
10. Wheelies / Scooters / Longboards (whichever is age appropriate): As we graduated from elementary school, middle school, and high school, we seemed to earn a new set of wheels. One way or another, we were always on the move. As timeless as they seem now, you don’t want to forget about the fun you had scootin’ around the neighborhood with your friends if these toys become a thing of the past.