Whenever I hear someone wax on about how great it was to be young or how they wish they could relive their middle or high school years, I wonder if the person has suffered some memory loss. I think being a pre-teen was really hard.
But I do feel fortunate that I was a teen in the 80’s and not today. I can think of 5 reasons it is harder to be a pre-teen today:
1) I would miss my pink princess phone
Talking on the phone is a lost pastime. It has gone the way of tanning. I used to spend hours at the beach in the summer – with nothing but a radio, baby oil and an aluminum visor to soak in the UV rays. Now you cannot go outside in December without SPF 95. Ditto talking on the telephone – the concept of communicating using your voice is archaic. Oh the joy of having a phone in your room (not your own number – just a private place to chat – your parents still picked up and told you to get off the phone) and twisting the long pink twirly cord as you discussed your day. Alas, Alexander G. Bell has been disconnected by generation LOL, #whocallsanymore?
2) No one is awkward anymore
Braces, glasses, perms, acne, scrunchies worn in public … this what being a teen used to look like. But many of today’s pre-teens seem to have skipped gawky and gone straight to glamorous. No big puffy sleeves bat mitzvah dresses for these pre-teens! I was totally awkward looking in my early teens, but it wasn’t so bad because so were my peers.
3) New math and old social studies
Not sure if kids have gotten smarter or I have gotten dumber. Somehow, everything I learned in middle school has evaporated. My son asks me to help with his homework and there are days where I am totally clueless. I really do seem to have forgotten some basic facts about history. I guess if you don’t use it, you lose it and clearly I have. And why does there need to be a “new” math anyway? The answer has not changed – so why do we need a new way of getting there?
4) Social media would have created more angst
It was hard enough to be a teen and not be invited to certain parties or social events. The only thing that I think could have made it worse would have been seeing photographic documentation of these exclusions. I didn’t think I was in the popular crowd, but I also did not know for sure. When I came home at night, I could close the door and leave the kids at school outside. Now, they are in your face 24/7.
5) No missed calls or busy signals
“He probably tried to call,” I would rationalize to my girlfriends (and myself) about my latest crush, “But my stupid brother was on the phone.” But now those excuses are gone. Between call waiting, voicemail, text, email, Snapchat, Instagram etc., if someone wants to reach you, they can. So when your crush doesn’t “call”, he’s just not that into you. Which is a bummer, because it was comforting to be able to delude yourself for a little while.
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About Randi Mazzella
Randi Mazzella is a mother three and freelance writer. Her work has been published in many print and online publications including She-Knows, Teen Life, Club Mid and About.com. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter @rmazz90210.