My own life is the subject of this blog, in the spirit of Me@20 Day, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Association of Personal Historians. I hedged, because of all the years that I wouldn’t want to return to, top of the list is when I was 20.
At 20, in 1969, I was counter-counter-culture in a chaotic world. I kept my distance from the pervasive hippie sub-culture, frightened that my generation was destroying itself with drugs. The war in Viet Nam cast an ominious shadow from Southeast Asia across the lives of the boys I knew, including my brothers. They either enlisted, joined the National Guard, or attended college to avoid the draft. The civil rights movement was at its peak, and I felt guilty, not from prejudice, but because I was afraid of the anger.
The times were depressing, and my personal world was too. I transferred from Colorado College, which I loved, to Kansas State, which I hated (sorry, Wildcats), following a boyfriend who broke up with me soon after I arrived. I had no career goals or ambitions, and no clue as to what I would do after graduation, since I was not going to marry the boyfriend. But I had, as an ad of the times called it, “a restless urge to write.”
What I did have going for me was the underpinnings of a stable, happy Kansas childhood, and a growing Christian faith, kindled by the deserting boyfriend.
My favorite songs were Leaving on a Jet Plane, Oh Happy Day, and Good Morning Starshine. NOT the Beatles. And never Elvis.
I remember this as a troubled, unhappy year—and yet I don’t look unhappy! (Nor like a hippie.) But I was young. Certainly it was a formative time like few others to be a college student in America, and shaped my attitudes about race, war, freedom, rebellion, and the courage it took to fall in love.
What were YOU like at 20? Go back and pry open those times, and see what they tell you about who you were and where you’ve come. Here are some questions to get you started:
Where I lived @ 20:
What I did @ 20:
What I dreamed @ 20:
My favorite song @ 20:
What I wore @ 20:
Whom I loved @ 20:
What made headlines when I was @20:
Me@20 Day celebrates personal history and the twentieth anniversary of the Association of Personal Historians on May 20, 2015. APH supports its members in recording, reserving, and sharing life stories of people, families, communities, and organizations around the world. www.personalhistorians.org.
For a Me@20 whose husband's love song was from the Beatles, see the eloquent post by Linda Schmidt here.
Click here, to see how Steve Pender honed his artistry at splicing audio tapes, @20.