15 Hard-To-Believe Facts About Life in the 1980s From Someone Who Lived Through It

Ephraim Obare
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Welcome aboard our DeLorean, buckle up as we’re about to hit 88mph and whisk you back to the 1980s – a decade that feels like it happened just yesterday and a million years ago, all at once. Back when hair was big, legwarmers were bigger, and MTV still played music videos (crazy, right?). For those who didn’t have the privilege of living through this neon-soaked era, prepare yourself for a journey filled with mind-boggling facts that will make you question if we’re talking reality or an episode of Stranger Things.

And for the veterans? Strap in for a nostalgic ride down memory lane, minus the pesky high school drama. So, grab your shoulder pads, tease up your hair, and let’s time travel back to the era of excess. Welcome to the ’80s, ladies and gents!

The Art of Mixtapes

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Rushays images via canva.com

Before playlists on Spotify, there was the ’80s pride and joy – the mixtape. These little cassette tapes were carefully curated playlists, often given as thoughtful gifts or declarations of love.

Big Hair, Don’t Care

Big Hair, Don't Care
Sofia Z. via canva.com

The ’80s were the age of big hair. The bigger, the better. It wasn’t just a style; it was a way of life.

Video Killed the Radio Star

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Kzenon via Canva.com

Music videos became a cultural phenomenon thanks to MTV (Music Television), which was launched in 1981.

A generation was glued to their TV screens, watching Madonna and Michael Jackson redefine pop culture.

Pager Code

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Photo: © author via canva.com

Pagers were the quintessential communication device of the ’80s. And boy, did we get creative with pager codes – 07734 to say “Hello” and 143 to say “I Love You.”

Atari’s Reign

Atari's Reign
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Before Xbox and PlayStation, there was Atari. Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and Frogger were the games of the hour.

The Fitness Craze

Fitness First
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Jane Fonda started the fitness craze with her exercise videos on VHS tapes, making leg warmers and leotards a must-have.

The Walkman Revolution

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k.e.’s kloset via Wikimedia Commons

Sony’s Walkman made music portable, making it a cultural icon synonymous with the ’80s.

The Cold War

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image credit; U.S. Air Force via Wikimedia Commons

The ’80s were the final decade of the Cold War, a period of political tension between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

The Dawn of Personal Computers

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Photo: © Robert Kneschke via canva.com

IBM introduced the first personal computer in 1981, changing the world forever.

The Brat Pack

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image credit: lnur via Canva.com

The ’80s were ruled by a group of young actors known as the Brat Pack. This included Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, and Rob Lowe, who starred in iconic movies like “The Breakfast Club” and “St. Elmo’s Fire.”

Rubik’s Cube

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This 3D puzzle created a worldwide sensation and became one of the best-selling toys ever.

Boomboxes

Boombox
RyanJLane via canva.com

Before portable speakers, boomboxes were the go-to device for outdoor music. The bigger, the better.

The ’80s Fashion

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Shoulder pads, leg warmers, neon colors, acid-wash jeans – the ’80s fashion was unique and unforgettable.

AIDS Epidemic

AIDS Epidemic
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The ’80s saw the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, a global health crisis that profoundly impacted society.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

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Morbid Instinct via Canva.com

The ’80s ended with one of the most iconic events – the fall of the Berlin Wall, marking the end of the Cold War.

According to the Imperial War Museum, the fall of the Berlin Wall was the first step towards German reunification. In 1989, political changes in Eastern Europe and civil unrest in Germany put pressure on the East German government to loosen some of its regulations on travel to West Germany.

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Baby Boomers, a generation that has dramatically influenced our world, have a significant presence in the job market. Their impact has resulted in unexpected changes, from retirement age to job competition.

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DNY59 via Canva.com

Take a minute and doff the caps to the Baby Boomers – the generation born between 1946 and 1964, who came of age during the profound social changes of the 1960s. While they might not be as tech-savvy as their millennial and Gen Z counterparts, they dominate in other areas.

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Photo: © bhofack2 via canva.com

The 1960s were a time of significant social and cultural change in America. As the baby boomer generation came of age, they embraced new ideas, fashion trends, and music styles. And when it came to food, some beloved dishes defined this era.

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As we delve into an analysis of socio-economic shifts and historical events, it’s crucial to remember that it’s not about blaming but understanding. The narrative has often been skewed against millennials, painting them as the generation that’s ruining everything, from housing to the job market.

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Welcome to the past—a time before smartphones, where the fear of Y2K loomed large and “be kind, rewind” was a golden rule to live by. Yes, we’re talking about the good old days of the Baby Boomers, an era marked by significant change and, let’s admit it, some pretty unforgettable fears.

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Author

  • Ephraim Obare

    Ephraim Obare is a versatile member of the Frenz Hub writing team, bringing a rich background in economics to his work. An avid swimmer, reader, and cyclist, Ephraim blends analytical insights with his diverse interests.

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