All about me

"All I can do is be me, whoever that is."
~Bob Dylan
Goodness gracious, another birthday behind me.  Good times, glad tidings and all that crap.  Seriously, though .... why do we make such a major event of birthday's to begin with?  

Starting with our first birthday ... who is it really for?  Not the child who is given birthday cake without mom or dad feeding it to them with a spoon.  What else would you expect other than the child scooping it up with their hands to help themselves.  That's the beauty of being so young, if you want it, you simply help yourself.   Our memory probably serves to remind us that we were always taught and used our manners:

Those first birthday photos really are taken by and for the parents, not the child.  Who wants to be humiliated in their teens, 40th birthday or wedding day when they appear in a slideshow back drop for a big event!

I'm lucky.  I was the third of four children.  I would imagine my parents were just thankful assemble us all to celebrate!  Yeppers, that was the 60s.  Now it's about who can take the the best photo and load first on Facebook.

I do have to admit that I did get a resounding 27 messages from Linked In sending birthday wishes my way -- I like how Linked In provides its users with innovative ways to keep in touch, like birthday wishes, new jobs, new photos.  Responsible me, I personally wrote and thanked every single person who did.  Even the ones that just used the feature, it was the thought that count.  (Hint:  at least drop the last name before you send so it doesn't look so impersonal).  It was in responding I asked others why bother celebrating birthdays once you pass a "certain" age?  I decided then and there, it should be all about celebrating life!

I admit I was born in the 1960s because it was a cool time to be born.   It was time when humanity was breaking out of conformity, taking a stand on just about anything and many traditions seemed old.   Maybe that is why I adored Mad Men.   Not only is there a fixation and fascination with the 60s culture, those of us born in the era were given a gift of insight on the times and what was going on in the background.  Most likely,  I was starting to think of myself as an individual and not an extension of my parents, siblings, or teachers.  

"Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine."
~Elvis Presley

My parents were born in the 1930s, post depression. They may have been guided by needs that were more often a struggle to be met.  Then came along the 60s, when it turned around to being about wants. Many believed that the 60s was the dawn of a golden era: the future promised peace, comfort and prosperity.  Couples had larger families, drove larger cars and just about anything bigger was acceptable back then.  

The 1960s has often been defined as the "Me" generation.  I suppose it stemmed from our parents wanting to have and give us everything.  We were expected to have manners, treat elders with respect and do well in school so we went to university or college without questioning how it would be done.   We really didn't seem to have to worry about cancer, gun violence, abortion, foreclosure, unemployment and becoming pregnant before marriage was scandalized.  Even our politicians seemed to be honest --  on January 20, 1961, the handsome and charismatic John F. Kennedy became president of the United States.

"Don't compromise yourself.  You are all you've got."
 ~Janis Joplin

Women started leaving the home in droves to work and earn their own pay cheque.  Our moms wanted her children of the 60s to embrace and go beyond the opportunities they could never dream of.  Not really a wonder so many of us turned out to be perfectionists driven to succeed at all costs - our health, marriages, family relationships.  
Janis Joplin's 1965 Porsche 356 Cabriolet

Historians have said described the 60s as being the ten years having the most significant changes in history. By the end of the 60s humanity had entered the spaceage by putting a man on the moon. The 60s were influenced by the youth of the post-war baby boom - a generation with a fondness for change and "far-out gadgets".  

Let's take a stroll and  highlight inventions of the decade:

  • Valium (1961)
  • Nondairy creamer (1961)
  • Audio cassette (1962)
  • Fiber-tip pen (1962)
  • The first computer video game Spacewar (1962)
  • Dow Corp invents silicone breast implants (1962)
  • The video disk (1963)
  • Acrylic paint (1964)
  • Permanent-press fabric (1964)
  • BASIC (an early computer language)  by John George Kemeny and Tom Kurtz (1964)
  • Astroturf (1965)
  • Soft contact lenses (1965)
  • NutraSweet (1965)
  • The compact disk by James Russell (1965)
  • Kevlar  by Stephanie Louise Kwolek (1965)
  • Electronic Fuel injection for cars (1966)
  • The first handheld calculator (1967)
  • The computer mouse  by Douglas Engelbart (1968)
  • The first computer with integrated circuits made (1968)
  •  RAM (random access memory) by Robert Dennard (1968)
  • The arpanet (first internet) (1969)
  • The artificial heart (1969)
  • The ATM Automated Teller Machine (1969)
  • The bar-code scanner (1969)
There were several other major gains made in the 1960s that impact us today.  1960-64 transcended the Civil Rights movement.   Feminism and women liberation became significant.  

"Faith is taking the first step even when you can't see the whole staircase."
~Martin Luther King Jr.

Musically, the 60s had some of the most influential artists and music of all time.  Think back and reflect on some of our greatest discoveries:
  • Aretha Franklin "Respect" (1971)
  • Beach Boys "I Get Around" (1964)
  • Beatles "I Want to Hold Your Hand" (1964)
  • Ben E. King "Stand by Me" (1961)
  • Bob Dylan "Like a Rolling Stone" (1965)
  • Chubby Checker "The Twist" (1960)
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival "Bad Moon Rising" (1969)
  • Diana Ross and The Supremes "Where Did Our Love Go" (1964)
  • Doors "Light My Fire" (1967)
  • Elvis Presley "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" (1960)
  • Janis Joplin "Piece of my Heart" (1967)
  • Jimi Hendrix "All Along the Watchtower" (1968)
  • Led Zepplin "Communications Breakdown" (1969)
  • Marvin Gaye "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" (1968)
  • Ray Charles "Georgia on my Mind" (1960)
  • Rolling Stones "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" (1965)
  • Roy Orbison "Crying" (1961)
  • Sam Cooke "(What A) Wonderful World" (1960)
  • Simon and Garfunkel "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (1969)
  • Stevie Wonder "Fingertips Pt. 2" (1963)
  • Tina Turner "River Deep, Mountain High" (1966)
  • The Who "I Can See For Miles" (1967)

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to reflect, research and write this post that is personal.  I have to congratulate myself -- I was able to steer clear of any whining about getting older.  I am thankful that I came from the golden generation of the 60s decade.  

Did I forget a fond 1960s memory or one of your favorite artists?   We can fix that:  go ahead and comment, have your say!