Do you ever fantasise about living in the 1980s? No phantom smartphone vibrations, no iPads, no Spotify — just VHS tapes, old-fashioned radio and mullets. Well, a family in Ontario tried to do just that, living as best they could like it was 1986. But now they’re giving it up.
Blair McMillan and his partner Morgan Patey are both in their late 20s. A year ago they decided that modern living was for the birds, so they traded in their Facebooks for a landline and their pants for cut-off jorts. They wanted to live with the same technology that was available in 1986, the year both of them were born.
They committed themselves and their two young boys (ages 5 and 3) to trying this strange lifestyle for a year, under the assumption that if they loved it they could continue. But it really seems like the whole thing was more trouble than it was worth. The biggest problem? They were alienating themselves from the rest of the world.
“The most challenging part [if we continued with the experiment] would have been that we are out of the loop with everybody else,” Blair McMillan told the CBC. “And we did live in our own little box in our house because we kind of cut ourselves off from the rest of the world because the only way we could talk to people was to call, and nobody does that as much anymore.”
Of course, living like it’s 1986 only really works when the rest of the world is stuck in the 1980s along with you. For this family, stepping outside was like travelling through time, only you’re the weirdo from the past, not the cool guy from the future coming to warn humanity about the robot uprising.
But you kind of have to respect the extreme lengths this family was willing to go to in order to live the life they romanticized. They wanted to feel more connected as a family and enjoy life in this very specific way. And in some ways, they think they succeeded.
“It was a real positive experience,” McMillan explained to the CBC. “It’s actually kind of bittersweet, knowing it’s ending. We had a lot more fun than we expected.”
Unfortunately for them, it’s not 1986 anymore. And trying to live like Ronald Reagan is still in office (or Brian Mulroney, I guess, since they’re Canadian) does little more than shut you off from everyone who isn’t your immediate family.
Do you think technology is harming the way your family interacts with each other? As with everything else in life — from junk food to Facebook — the answer is moderation. No human on Earth enjoys hearing this, but it’s really not much more complicated than striving for some happy medium.
It’s easier said than done, but there is indeed a middle ground between going full Amish and getting a faceputer permanently soldered to your eyebrows. If I’m wrong, and there isn’t, then may Jobs have mercy on our souls.
Picture: Screenshot of Blair McMillan and Morgan Patey sitting on their couch from the CBC.