7 Songs From the 80s: When Angst Was A Good Friend


I was recently asked by a friend — with whom I spent a lot of time in the 80s — to share seven memorable songs from that time. I enjoy any chance to think about music and how it has shaped me. And it would be no surprise to anyone who looked inside my journal from that decade to see these songs are all about longing and angst and heartbreak. I've always felt connected to others by music and knowing others felt the same way was comforting. 

Nothing magical happened to me during those years. I never got the boy, I wasn't popular, I wasn't all that memorable. It was hard then, but I'm glad went through it. I remember those days as a time I was caught between two versions of myself: the nervous observer the outer world saw and the dramatic and bold girl who only made herself known inside the sanctuary of a candy-coloured bedroom. I spent a lot of time on my own, writing the lyrics to songs in my best cursive and folding them over and over on themselves, so I could glue them into that journal. Maybe I thought it was better to let someone else tell my story during that time; it was easier than trying to figure out how to tell it myself. 

In that way, not much has changed. I am still the kind of music fan that identifies with and becomes attached to lyrics and storytelling in songs. I still fall head over heels in love with moody, sad songs and play them on repeat until my family begs me to stop. As for which version of myself I eventually became, I think I landed somewhere in the middle. And I'm glad about that, too.

I've listened to these songs in cars with the windows rolled all the way down, in darkened school gyms during awkward dances, and on repeat through the foam-covered headphones of my Sony Walkman.

In the 80s, I was the same age as my two oldest children are now. Hearing these songs today, I don't feel any regret it wasn't a more spectacular decade for me. I've kept the journal to remind myself it's okay to be confused about who you are, and it's okay to spend time alone figuring it out. I look at it sometimes to remind myself how big my feelings were, when I'm trying to help my kids navigate their own big feelings. And I always feel such a sweet gratitude for these songs when I see those handwritten lyrics.

They knew the words when I didn't and they invited me to sing along.

CARS: Who's Gonna Drive You Home? (1984)

BILLY VERA & THE BEATERS: At This Moment (1981)

HEART: Alone (1987)

DEPECHE MODE: Somebody (1984)

BANGLES: Eternal Flame (1989)

PETER GABRIEL: Don't Give Up (1986)

KATE BUSH: This Woman's Work (1989)



Holiday Gift Ideas: For your Tween/Teen


We have just stepped into the teen years around here—with our oldest already there and another just starting to dip his toe in the water. 

With this shift in our family dynamic, comes a change in how we choose gifts for the holidays.

Packages are getting smaller and requests are more specific. The element of surprise is much harder in this phase, and it's more of a challenge to hold on to the magic.

It's a time when self-discovery is happening and identities are being sorted out, and it can easily become an era of me, me, me—it's part of the growing process. I remember going through it myself.

But it's also an era of becoming more aware of being part of a bigger picture. They are learning about and paying attention to world issues, as well as those in their own local communities. 

And I want them to understand their value in being able to make a difference.

So, yes, we are giving them some of their requested items: iTunes gift cards, dance wear, sweat pants, video games, books, make up, monster hoodies, toques, sketch books and journals. But we are also putting items under the tree to remind them to think of others, too. 

Every pair of Me to We mittens purchased (at any Staples store or shop.metowe.com) will provide the gift of health care to a child in a community overseas.


And the very popular Rafiki chains (which my daughter has given to many of her friends) can be found in-store at Staples, Indigo Chapters, and Mastermind and help make an impact on the Free The Children community. 


The magic of the holiday season is different now that they're older.

But there is still magic.

And we can remind them that it's their gift to give. 

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Disclosure: I was invited to a Me to We Artisans Holiday Preview, but our family was already an enthusiastic supporter. We happily gifted our complimentary Rafiki chains to friends and family.