By in Random

Looking Back: Challenges Met and Unmet

In looking back to my high school years, I was remembering how the promise of great things to come pervaded the atmosphere -- great things that I and my contemporaries were going to make happen just as soon as we graduated and moved forward as adults.

I was child of the 1960s and 1970s, graduating in 1974. It was the time of the end of the Vietnam War, the Chicago Seven , the Watergate Scandal and more. It was a time of turbulence and change -- change that from my eyes as a small town young woman seemed only positive.

In my senior year of high school, many of us were starry-eyed optimists. In retrospect I can see that living in a small town in the Midwest isolated us from much the the real-world issues. It was easy to be optimistic while yet walking the halls of public school, with trusted friends and dedicated teachers surrounding us.

Our class song, Cat Steven's (now Yusuf Islam) " Oh Very Young ," spoke to our belief that we would go forth and change the world for the better. Those were almost magical times, back then, with our youth in our favor and the world yet untested by us.

Did our generation succeed where we thoughts others had failed? The answer is both yes and no. My contemporaries, who fall right in the middle of the Baby Boomer generation, fell into step when we joined the adult world. In that respect, I think we missed the central theme of our challenge -- to make the world a better place than the one we grew up in.

What do you see when you look back over your life?

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Donna_Thacker wrote on October 23, 2014, 10:34 AM

Hmmm, my life was much the same as yours, LOL. Little Hippie child of the 60's and 70's and I thought I could change the world. Unfortunately I think the world changed me. I see you are also from small town midwest...

Feisty56 wrote on October 23, 2014, 10:46 AM

As I think about those closest to me emotionally, I think I may have turned a corner in the family itself from being aloof folks to embracing family in all its forms and meanings. Maybe our focus to change the "world" was simply too broad?

Feisty56 wrote on October 23, 2014, 10:49 AM

I think we will always have the spirit of who we were in our youth within us, don't you? We don't shed those parts of us -- we may tuck them away, but they are always there.

I still believe that I can be an instrument of change, but my circle of influence is much more narrow than I once believed. Do you find that to be true for yourself too?

alexdg1 wrote on October 23, 2014, 11:10 AM

I think that every generation goes through this phase of youthful idealism/falling into step adulthood. Idealism is fine, I guess, but it has to be tempered by realism.

Feisty56 wrote on October 23, 2014, 11:25 AM

Ah yes, is an important aspect of life, isn't it?

Donna_Thacker wrote on October 23, 2014, 11:40 AM

That's a possibility. I think, or hope, I managed to change a small part of the world...if just my immediate little world, lol. Ahhh, I long for those simpler times though, bell bottoms, good friends and summer parties!

melody23 wrote on October 23, 2014, 11:49 AM

I look back and I see some things I might do differently, but I have no regrets. One of my mottos in life is that everything that I have done or that has happened to me up till this point has helped make me who I am now, I honestly wouldn't change who I am. Do I wish some of the bad stuff hadn't happened? of course I do, but it all helped shape this person I am now. I also see a really interesting life, given my 28 years in age, I have seen and done many things that many people my age haven't had the opportunity to do.

Feisty56 wrote on October 23, 2014, 11:50 AM

Bell bottoms! Those were the days. Remember Nehru jackets? Platform shoes had just come into style. And of course, most of us females wore our hair long and parted in the middle. I still

SLGarcia wrote on October 23, 2014, 1:51 PM

I am a bit older than you - graduated from high school in 1968. We were quite full of idealism then. I did not end up carrying out a lot of my youthful idealistic plans, but I have remained true to my outlook of the world as far as believing in maintaining our natural resources, not poisoning the world, helping people less fortunate, etc. I also have three grown kids who share many of the same ideals. So, I haven't actually changed the world, but I have brought more people into the world who want to work at making it a better place for everyone. I don't consider myself to have been a "hippie", I just did my own thing, not part of a group.

Ellis wrote on October 23, 2014, 4:01 PM

The freedoms that we fought for in the sixties have been used against us...

Ruby3881 wrote on October 23, 2014, 8:19 PM

I was an idealist born about 15 years too late. When I was in school, I think most of my classmates just had dollar signs in their eyes when it came to talking about the future. A couple of informal reunions have shown me that didn't change much over the decades.

Love the Cat Stevens song, BTW! It's one of my favourites :)

Feisty56 wrote on October 23, 2014, 8:37 PM

I agree with you -- even at age 58, there is nothing I would "do over" if I could. This isn't because I have no regrets or haven't made mistakes, but I do know that changing even one small thing would affect everything that came after that. It is not a risk I would be willing to take.

Feisty56 wrote on October 23, 2014, 8:40 PM

I think the fact that you have remained true to your standards and values throughout your life and passed them forward to your children and now your grandchildren represents a challenge met. Not all of us can ride white horses or tilt at windmills. Real life is challenge aplenty.

Feisty56 wrote on October 23, 2014, 8:41 PM

It is sad and ironic, isn't it? I'd love to read the post if you'd write about your insights.

Feisty56 wrote on October 23, 2014, 8:45 PM

Cat Stevens -- now there's a man who followed where his beliefs lead him, whether I agree or disagree with him. It is a great song, isn't it? I can't listen to it without tears in my eyes.

It was surprising to me how conservative even my closest friends were in their values and goals. I was considered a bit of an enigma because I thought differently. Over time I have come to value my uniqueness. My fella says I am authentic. He doesn't know what a great compliment that is!

Ruby3881 wrote on October 23, 2014, 9:08 PM

I bet he does! If he appreciates that in you, it's because he understands it :)

bestwriter wrote on October 23, 2014, 11:19 PM

I took to taking my own decisions not until I was married when my husband taught me what it meant to handle one's life on their own. Till then it was one of my sisters that ruled the roost.

BarbRad wrote on October 24, 2014, 12:02 AM

I grew up in the 1950's and went to college in the early sixties before the "revolution" took place on college campuses. Although America wasn't perfect and some wrongs, especially in matters of civil rights needs to be righted, it was a much better life in many respects than what we see today. Some groups have more rights than they used to have, but almost everyone has lost many of their first amendment rights through reinterpretation and political correctness. every day our rights erode more. Life was simpler when I grew up, more families were intact, and there was much less crime. I'm not so sure we have changed for the better.

Jadecat777 wrote on October 24, 2014, 4:12 AM

Thinking about my life now and looking back I can only say that so much has happened. If someone would have told me that one day I will be writing online I would have laughed in their faces.