For a few months in 1995, I had a friend named Chad. We were both 15 at the time. One day, while discussing childhood memories, he told me, "I don't remember anything from 1980 to 1990." In other words, everything he recalled and understood about the world had happened in the past five years.
Everyone has a point in their lives when they start remembering things. For me, that was probably two years old (though I have distinct memories from well before that). For most others, it's probably a bit later. But Chad was the first and only person I knew who claimed nothing before the age of 10. (The only other guy who came close was the college friend and co-worker born in 1983 who said he didn't know any song older than Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's "Crossroads," from 1995.) My sister was 10 years old in 2000, and I can't fathom her not remembering all my baby-sitting, games and sage, wisened guidance.
For me, those years were among the best. Mostly due to innocence and default than anything else. As a teen, I met the father of a friend who told us, "Life gets harder as you get older, but it gets better." He had a giant house.
I find he's correct in the sense that I like being an adult over still being a child. Most of the things that made me excited as a child don't now, and many of my family members (and even some friends) have died in the ensuing years. I look forward, not backward. Still, I don't always agree that life gets better. It's more cyclical, especially in these uncertain times. And that was true long before I ever had a concept of good and bad times; I'm just more aware of it now. These days, I can look back and recognize hardship in retrospect — the years my family of five shared one tiny Toyota Corolla, the differences between one side of town and the other, the considerable fluctuations in quality of school newspapers and football programs from one year to the next, to name a few examples. But I still remember what got me through the rough spots: happy memories. I'm glad I've been able to retain them for so long.
It also makes liking '80s music way easier.