Friday, January 8, 2010

The Transformative 1980's


(Designing Women)


The 1970's were learning years. The 1980's were transformational. If you are in the midst of a transformational phase in your life right now, you may know what I mean. Big things happen. Life altering decisions are made. Roads are chosen. You are entering a new phase of your life, but it's hard to see while you are in the middle, less so in retrospect.

For me it was about life and death.

The decade began with marriage to a truly wonderful man. I've been very lucky in my life's journey to have a mate who allows me to be me. Then my life took another turn with the birth of the daughter I'd always wanted. I was 29 and life changed from being all about me, to being all about others. When my oldest was four we added daughter number two, but not before having a terrible car accident while I was pregnant. Then, within three months I buried my beloved father.

To lose my father at age 58 was a tragedy. He had just been blessed with the grandchildren he adored, but wouldn't be around to enjoy. To say this was a difficult time, would be an understatement. But it was only a spoke in the wheel. It was only one of the many life altering events I would experience in this decade. Fate was not done with me yet, I was to have my own brush with mortality.

It was 1989, the very end of the decade. My daughters were 18 months and six years old. I was swimming laps at our local pool several times a week. When drying my hair, I noticed something different with the sound of the hairdryer when moving it from left ear to right ear. I won't bother with the details, I've covered them in other posts, other than to say the tumor that was lodged near my brainstem would create havoc in it's removal. Life changing havoc.

It was at this time I experienced "stressor overload". That happens when stressors that you can usually handle build up, and you experience depression, anxiety, fear, sleeplessness, etc. It's a warning system of sorts. It was also the motivation behind my spiritual search. Sometimes we arrive at a point in our lives where we need to find true meaning. Why are we here? Who are we? What is our purpose? Is there a purpose? Do we matter? And this was my time. And I'm very grateful for it.

So the decade ended with a jump start. A lifelong search for my place in the whole scheme of things.

What about you? Were the '80s pivotal? Have you ever experienced years where there were a series of events that changed you in some meaningful way?

55 comments:

Natalie said...

Oh Yes. Yes.
2002 and 2003, and now 2008 and 2009. OH MY GOB.
Never was I surer that there is a place for all of us, to fulfill a crucial role here on Earth.
It sounds grand, but in fact, it could be a completely ordinary role, that has far reaching effects. Maybe, we won't even be aware of it, until we have our life review in 'Heaven'.
For me personally, I cannot ignore the constant messages and synchronicities I experience everyday. It must mean SOMETHING, right?
Maybe I am a nutter, but hey, I am a nutter with connections.xx♥

Brian Miller said...

the 80s shaped who i was to become...in the 80s i was a long hair head banger with a devil may care attitude...

California Girl said...

You're hitting a nerve here. I was diagnosed w/ adult onset epilepsy in 1980. It began right after I rec'd divorce papers from my husband. The drs said I was drinking too much, taking too many drugs etc. I insisted it was stress but, in those days, that was not a consideration. MRIs and CT scans revealed nothing so they termed it "idiopathic". I knew better and began a regimen of taking care of myself by not drinking or doing the drug of those days and by meditating. I was able to go off the epilepsy meds for a long time...about 18 mos. Why I stopped meditating I'll never know. But, the next big stress event in my life, my seizures were back.

This post resonates for me because of our transformation. I feel it's in the air for most of us as well. I think it's the seismic shifts w/ which we're having to come to grips: war, economy, climate concerns, starvation, poverty. They are global. It cannot help but affect the entire planet. Thanks for the brain squeeze. :)

Deboshree said...

Hmmm...life has put you through a lot, hasn't it?
You're a very strong individual Nancy and we are thankful to learn from you.

Since I was born in 1990, all I can say is that the only life changing years in my life have been my high school and college years. They turned my life upside down, made my life a living hell and then restored everything. Not without damage though.
But the more dramatic decisions are yet to take place.
Great post.

God bless you Nancy
Love
Deboshree

GYPSYWOMAN said...

hmmmm....transformative 80s for me as well - spring/summer 1984 saw 3 of my children get married and move away, oldest child made me a grandmother for the first time, and i also had a major accident [all between march and august of 1984] - remainder of the 80s saw 2 more beautiful grandchildren born - geographical moves across country and back to louisiana - overall good years with much familial happiness -

Kathy G said...

The 1980s are a bit of a lost decade for me, as my sons were born in '84, '86, and '88. Lots of diapers and teething.

DJan said...

My decade of the 1980s was all about learning how to live in one place after having moved around forever. It was very transformative. Nothing like yours. How can I find out where those earlier posts about your brain tumor are?

~JarieLyn~ said...

Wow, that must have been very scary finding out about a tumor. The 80's for me was like one big party. Well almost. I graduated highschool in 1982. Moved in with my boyrfriend who later became abusive and spent four years in that relationship. I turned 21 and the night life consumed me. Dancing, Partying, being irresponsible. It was a fun decade but not one of much depth. Thank God it's over.

Inty swetha said...

I was born on 1989.. and 2000 to 2010 - the decade has been the most thrilling period of my life! Each and every year something happens and i keep learning from it.. and most of the experiences are too bad ...

Deborah said...

My life, like yours in a way, went from being individual to communal in the 80s. After meeting my husband-to-be on a holiday in France in 1981, I moved there two years later, marrying him and having my first child in 1983. Two more were to follow in that decade, all born in France. I had to learn to be away from my family (of origin) and friends, and to make a new life in a place that was both magical and alien to me.

It tested my mettle, that's for sure. I had to learn to walk the walk, having a bit of a reputation as a unconventional young woman which was really more about style than substance.

I wouldn't trade those years for anything. I learned to be far more independent and certainly broadened my world view. Plus learned a second language. At the end of the decade, we all moved to Canada (for reasons of work) and a different kind of life carried on there. As it happened, I met the man of my dreams in France just before we left, although I was not to realize that for another 15 years!

Joanne said...

I'm with Kathy G. The 80s were the baby decade, the decade when my two children were born so I was immersed in that for several years. But at the same time, it did open the door on so much of life for me too. Kudos to you for all you've been through, learned and gained wisdom from. It can't have been easy and must have taken amazing strength.

Hilary said...

I had a lot of stressful times in the 80s too. My Dad's sudden death, a lot of travel back and forth between cities to help my mother cope, fertility difficulties. Much of it seems like a blur to me at least until '87 when I had my first son.

It sure sounds like you went through your own hell

Mental P Mama said...

I don't think I've ever had an era that was not filled with change. And I am glad. I love the mystery of what lies ahead and what I am going to learn next.

ellen abbott said...

My two children were born in 1977 and 1979 so during the 80s I was raising kids, getting my little studio solidly established and paying for houses and cars. I also did a lot of reading and searching for/about/on spiritual awareness. You could say my beliefs solidified during that time.

JC said...

For me the 80's were spent trying to find a job. I'd go from one to the other. Each time hoping it was the one. Dated my to be husband & got married. Had my d in 89.

I did not get a career like I thought I would. My marriage was not easy. And, having a child was a totally different world for me.

I'd say the beginning was a lot of fun. The end was a realization that I was an adult.

The 90's would be the time that brought me most of my illnesses. That lingered into the 00's.

I wish I could go back to the 80's .. I felt pretty darn good. And, I was thin. Oh to be young ...

harmony said...

The 80's were my childhood. I babysat, a lot, to be able to pay for the extras that my parents were unwilling to pay for. At the time, I was resentful, but now, as an adult, I am grateful that they taught me to be self-reliant.
In 2002, I met the love of my life. In 2006, he died. The years we spent together were amazing, beautiful and magical. Since then, it's been a series of waves crashing over me, reminding me of that time together, the loss and how I will find purpose without him. I spent a lot of time angry at God and unable to be that forgiving. I couldn't fathom how this benevolent God would take away someone so young, fearless and beautiful.
I realize that Brian gave me the gift of life, of travel and of living in the present. Each day is a new opportunity, for me. True, I still question my purpose in life, but I feel peaceful, with it, now. I am #5 in numerology and so apparently, I will always question faith.
Thank you for this lovely post. You are resilient and extremely strong. Thank you for sharing.

A Year on the Grill said...

I spent the 80's self emplyed and probably worked 80 hours a week every week of every year... Still had 2 children, but my wife did most of the hard work

Amy said...

Nancy, The early 80's were consumed with raising my two daughters and adjusting to a major change in the direction of our lives, a 250 mile move to a city we were unfamiliar with, buying a business in decline (at height of recession), battling depression, undertaking a spiritual journey which is still ongoing, and grieving for my father who passed away in the late 70's only 2 months before my oldest daughter was born. I'd already lost my mother when I was 14, but fortunately, during the 80's I had a very special stepmother who was a loving and supportive ally.

Now, looking back, the years were painful, yet the most fulfilling up to that point in my life. I think raising the girls, somehow managing our growing business, and working alongside my husband who was confronting his own demons, was the start of my life's work.

Nancy said...

Natalie - I've been thinking the last decade was much for you as the 80's were for me. Many changes, many challenges, many joys, many tears. And I agree we have a purpose, finding it is our life's work.

Brian - I'll bet you were a cute little head banger!

California Girl - I have absolutely no doubt we are in some amazing/terrible times on our earth. Big changes. And stress is very hard on our bodies - it gave my husband type two diabetes during an especially stressful time of his life. Learning to understand and control our reactions to stress is so important. And will be every more so in the coming years.

Deboshee - You are young and doing all the things you should be doing in your youth. Going to school and preparing for your life. You will have challenges in your life, and the purpose of this memory lane writing, is to show that we can go through rough times and come out the other side. If we can see the lessons to be learned, even in our darkest time, we can soften the impact.

Gypsy - Those years sound like my 2000's. It sounds like it was full of life and adventure. With the exception of the accident, of course. Was it a fall? I kept writing fall, when I knew you didn't say what kind of accident. Weird.

Kathy - Yes, I had lots of those too, during that decade. Lots of really wonderful things happened in the 80's. I had a family!

DJan - You were just settling down, it seems. I'll find them and e-mail the links. I still havent gone back through all my posts to label them.

Jarie - That was the 70's for me. Glad you got out of the abusive relationship.

Inta - You are just beginning your life - I wish you love and light, always!

Deborah - Your life sounds fascinating! The moves, the differant nationalities, the adjustments. Not a dull one, that's for sure. The 80's were big change time for you, too.

Joanne - Babies were the very best part of the 80's for me. When you have a young child, or a baby, you are stronger, I think, because you have to be. They are depending on you.

Hilary - I have a daughter born in '87, too. They were my strength. Children make us stronger.

Mental - I agree, change is good. If things are bad we can look forward to them changing. I like that.

Ellen - That would be the 90's for me. But it sounds like you were paving the path for the life you're enjoying now.

JC - The 80's held great change for you, too. Children, illness, marriage, career struggles. I'm so glad you are here to share after the coma you experienced.

harmony - The 2000's will be your pivotal years. Love, life, death, spiritual transformation. It has all the qualities of being a transformational decade. I'm so sorry you lost your husband. It doesn't get any harder than that.

A Year - My husband did that in the 90's and the first half of the 2000's - worked himself half to death. Nice that you gave credit to your wife for doing the heavy lifting when you were working so hard to take care of your family.

Amy - It sounds like you had the same sort of experiences - life and death. I love how it pushed you to spiritual growth too. We have much in common, I think.

Kay said...

every decade brings forth change, growth, knowledge..all welcomed, embraced, acknowledged. thankful for just that. reading your story, age difference to my own, amazes me. the different paths, roads one takes...how things could have been so different. your blessed to have the support and love of all those around, of which you chose to bring into this world, and chose to surround yourself with. i guess we could say we all are, in one way or another

M2Marathon said...

The 80's were pivotal in that it was my golden age of childhood. I have only sunshine memories of the 80's except that as a younun/tween, I so longed to be a teenager at that time. Teenagers in the 80's were so freakin cool, or so I thought.

As for a transformative time, I would say that I have been going through that myself for the last 6 (plus or minus) years. Marriage, kids, work/career, self-reflection and growth, search for meaning, ALL of it. Especially in the last 3 years. I completely identified with Natalie's comment. And if she's a nutter, then so am I...and we are in good company1 :-P

Phoebe Miriah Kirby said...

While I was reading comments left by your readers, Nancy, my heart was filled with sadness and relief that they conquered these difficulties in their lives.

I was not born until 1989, and did not experience any hardships until later in life.

So much can change so abruptly... I wonder what is to come in my life...

Von said...

Every decade is pivotal when you are adopted.The trauma takes many years to realise and never heals.That's undelying all the many other things that happen through life,partly as a result.It's essential to stay grounded,learn the lessons, be courageous and speak out.
Synchronicity is a wonderful gift, if you trust, the right teacher turns up.

Elizabeth Bradley said...

All that hair! I could never get my hair to cooperate with those lofty styles, but I gave it a go.

The 80's were a big deal for me. I made great strides in my career. I gave birth to my first daughter (I was 29 too! and my own mother was 29 when she had me.)

I had no idea you had brain tumor. Yikes.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Great post, Nancy. The 80s were transformative for me, too - met and married Rob, my first novel was published, then four more published before the end of the decade, when Megan arrived. Now she's 20. I fee like I blinked and 20 years spend by.

Nancy said...

Kay - It's all about choices. We make a choice and follow a direction, learning as we go.

M2 - It sounds like the 2000's are your transformative years. Big changes. And I agree with Natalie - and I don't think we all Nutters. ;-)

Phobe - Whatever changes come you will be able to handle them. You and Josh are a good combination of strengths. You'll be the leaders as things change. You're the next generation.

Von - I couldn't agree with you more on the teacher. Finding ourselves can be a lifelong persuit.

Elizabeth - 29 was a good age for me to become a mother - any sooner - not so good.

Trish - The 80's very pivotal for you! Trish you are my published hero! 4 books just in that decade? Wow.

Boomka said...

It's so interesting to think about a decade. We define them as the 10 years from 1 to 0 and its easy to mark them as such because we all make such a hullaballoo out of it. Were the 80s pivotal for me? Yea, well, cuz I was birthed! But it is interesting to look back. Who I am at 26 is practically a different person with the same seeds very clearly present. Amazing what you survived in those 10 years Nancy. Even just what your body went through. And look how you came out on the other side. More fantastic for everyone to share!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

The seventies were spent giving birth to my 5 children and the eighties were a blur of school activities. The nineties brought the most changes in my life when I had to give up a career and become a mom to my grandson and start all over again. Talk about stressors!

lakeviewer said...

You're opening up a whole set of questions. The answers can be very long. Some of us are writing about these transformational times.
Thank you.

Pam said...

I was in my 20's in the 80's. It was a time for becoming an adult.

Nancy said...

i was a teenager in the 80's, so I suppose it was time to be a teenager. My whole life is one trasformative moment after another and its just getting old, ha ha

Marguerite said...

For me, the 80's and early 90's were all about the children. Fairly smooth sailing and happy times. The second half of the 90's were very transformative in my life, in many ways. Lots of big changes.
Since I work for four Neurosurgeons, I understand about brain tumors and stressor overload. The technology has come a long way and is amazing now. I only wish that you could have had the new approach, but I am so glad that you survived and are doing so well! Cheers!

Nancy said...

Boomka - Thanks! Really, life is about ups and downs, and sometimes we can have years (not measured in decades, as this was just a way of quantifying for this series of posts) that are tough. But the bottom line is always to remember - it also can change on a dime - for the better. And often does.

Kathy - The 90's are next. That must have been so hard, yet so rewarding. He's lucky to have you as his Grandma.

lakeviewer - Great - I'll pop over.

Pam - There does come that time in all of our lives were becoming an adult is necessary.

Nancy - I really wonder what people will write in decades to come about the extraordinary times we are in right now. It can certainly get old when you are in the middle of it.

Margurite - Thanks. The new approach to my specific tumor is now radiation - which would not have done the damage the surgery did. But that's life - it has it's challenges.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Gosh, I think those periods have continued since the 70's. Series of events that change life and thoughts on life. My 80's were educations, moving around the country, grandparents passing, having two of my three babies. Staying home after the second arrived. Guess that's all pretty pivotal stuff. Also drew on spirituality to define where I might be hiding in all that went on.

Thought provoking post, Nancy.

Josephine said...

In your post you say your father died before he could enjoy his grandchildren. That hit a snare and I can imagine that hurt. On the bright side he did get to meet them (or just your oldest?).

I was born in 1983 so, for me, the '80s weren't that radically transforming. It's the here and now that's been transforming me. I needed the change and I have many people to thank that to. Sometimes I feel so grateful I could just burst into tears and hug everyone, even people I've never met. People can be so unaware of the impact their words can have on others.

At the moment feel both brand new and the same as I used to be. My attitude is brand new; my beliefs and convictions are basically what they were when I was nineteen: peace, love and happiness for all. Now that my attitude has changed I know better what to do with my convictions.

Anyway, great post. :)

Sylvia said...

The eighties were a very important time to me too. It was a time to love and a time to learn - looking for a sense in life. Great post. Thank you.

Reya Mellicker said...

Your husband definitely IS very wonderful. Glad for both of you that you found each other.

The 80's were pivotal for me - lived in Tahoe, then San Francisco. Engaged in psychotherapy, a life changing experience, started working with Reclaiming which opened me to my spiritual path and community. Saw lots of bands, listened to lots of music. Oh yeah. I liked the 80's.

Thanks for asking.

Shrinky said...

My goodness Nancy, what a tumultous time that must have been for you and yours. You are a survivor, my friend, thank goodness.

It would take a whole post to describe the eighties for me. I didn't marry until I was 30, then immediately had four children, one disabled, the recession hit my business hard, my mother commited suicide, and my my father moved in with us (he was dying of lung cancer). Oh, and then hubby lost his job. Other than that, it was a blast! Actually, there was a lot of good tucked in with the bad, best of all, we survived.

Land of shimp said...

I've had a lot of fun reading the comments here, and seeing the diversity of experience. That was a difficult decade for you, Nancy and it is clear that you (and others) faced many challenges.

I don't personally enjoy looking back at my own life particularly. I don't think there is a thing wrong with looking back, by the way, it's just not really my gig. I had a hard life for a long time, and through a lot of time and effort, end up with a very happy one by the time I hit thirty.

So, in writing that out, I realized that I don't mind looking back over the last twelve years, but with a couple exceptions (my son being one) almost everything before thirty is a case of "Man, am I ever glad that's over!"

It is amazing though, just looking over the comments, and seeing how much people can, and do, survive.

Nancy said...

Midlife - Your 80's sounded similar to mine.

Josephine - You are my older daughter's age and I'm convinced your generation is about to come into it's own. I like what I see in the attitudes being brought forth from your generation. You're learning life lessons faster, and in a more positive way.

Sylvia - It sounds like the 80's were similar for both of us.

Reya - You have lead the most fascinating life!

Shrinky - Wow, your 80's very much like my own, only more difficult. I know what you mean about a lot of good tucked into the bad. Having babies allows us to believe it's all worthwhile. They're our strength when we feel like we'll be crushed, don't you think?

Shimp - I think the idea of looking back in this series is to send the message that life changes - even if it is hard and tough - it changes, and very often for the better. We have lessons to learn and then we move on.

Jo said...

Oh, goodness, I can relate. The 80s were transformative for me too. I also had a life-threatening illness, then I lost my mother and a very close friend. The company I was working for fell apart and I lost my job. I sank into a deep depression and have pretty much forgotten everything from 1989 to 1992. But then things seem to heal, don't they? And we regroup and life seems okay again. I wouldn't want to go back to the 1980s, and I certainly wouldn't want to go back to the big hair and shoulder pads. *heh*

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

My mother died of cancer in 1980, and I really missed her as the decade brought a lot of good things. I took a great new job in '82, won a major award in '84, became a wife and stepmom in '85 (met in April, married in September), and took on a huge and successful community project in '88 that is still a major part of our lives.

GYPSYWOMAN said...

right on, nancy! a fall it was! there was an auto accident at the intersection where my house was - middle of the night - we were all awakened with the crash - went out on front porch and saw the collision and female victim bleeding in middle of road - i went back inside and got blanket to take to her till emt's got there - walking on sidewalk to the corner tripped and fell on rut in concrete - twisted backward to keep face and blanket from hitting concrete and in doing so landed on my knees and twisting my back terribly - that was that!

ρομπερτ said...

Met my first girl friend, spend first holiday without parents in Spain and obtained my first job as well - indeed, it was a time of transformation.
Please have a nice Sunday.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Nancy, Thanks so much for writing these posts...I am so glad to be able to get to know you even better...your story is truly inspirational...and I am honored that you have been sharing it with us! The 80s...huge life decisions that set my course...that's how I'll always remember that decade...Love you! Janine XO

Kathryn said...

Oh those 80's....
Met(82) and married (84) husband, then we BOTH went to school for two happy lean years. First job (86) in my chosen career. First house (87). First child (87). Everything wonderful and shiny and new and looking positive....until the 90's....

susan said...

I don't think I've ever lived through an uneventful decade. If it ain't one thing, it's another ;-)

Nancy said...

Jo - Big challenges for you during that time! I can do without the big hair and shoulder pads, too. :-)

Blissed Out - You also went through transformative changes. Wow. A community project that is still working. That is an accomplishment.

Gypsy - No good deed goes unpunished!

Robert - Your 80's were my 70's. Nice - a holiday in Spain without parents - I would have loved that!

Sniffles - Choices that set your course - doesn't get much more imporant than that.

Kathryn - You painted a great picture - "everything shiny and new."

susan - My 80's were the most eventful in terms of BIG things, either before or after. It was the children being born, the parent buried, illness, car accidents. The years after have been no comparison. Which is scary - maybe I'm due...

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

I loved to watch Designing Women. They were so "classy" and I really enjoyed it.

The 80s... Birth of my daughter (my 2nd child), divorce, moving to another state for my job, remarriage and birth of my last child, and discovering that my two older children had been abused by my ex-husband.

Walks down memory lane can be very liberating. Thanks for getting the ball rolling for many of us.

Eternally Distracted said...

If I seriously look back most years have held a very good or very bad memory, all of which have helped to mould me into the person I am today. I hope that the same can be said for the decade to come.

Nancy said...

Eternally - I totally agree. The good and the bad mould us into the people we are. Often with the bad comes the biggest changes for good.

linda said...

nancy, this has been a fantastic blog experience reading and being forced--yes, forced--to think about it in the first place..the 80's for me were terrible as was the 90's and so far, the 00's...health crisis after health crisis, not fun but at the same time, and much like you, it forced me to search out what life was trying to say, to teach me, i was certain it was, and i did find it eventually, about 2002......

it comes and goes, as does the winds of life i suppose.........how terrible what you went through! but i do not regret a single experience because without the pain and fear, one will never begin to actually wake up...i am convinced of it. don't you agree?
xoxo

Nancy said...

linda - I absolutely agree - at least that's been my experience.

Sarah Lulu said...

The 80's were about mothering to me ..I had a child in 78, then one in 81 and then a series of miscarriages ...until my last child was born in 1990. All about my children. Good years.

Nancy said...

Sarah - My 90's were like that. Not the birthing, but the lifestyle. All about my children.