Nice place to visit … glad I don’t live there


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

I did a lot of living back in the eighties but these days my greatest connection to the decade fashion forgot is some of the music from that era. I hear a lot of eighties music but now and then I hear a song from that period that I haven’t heard for so many years that it just transports me back there. It wasn’t all good, in fact there was some appalling music released in the eighties, but there were some classics.

A lot happened in that 10 years. In 1980 I turned 17, got my ’72 TC Cortina and the license to drive it. I even drove it, with a couple of friends, all the way across Australia to see Sydney and Newcastle.

The eighties took me from my teen years into my mid-twenties.

I completed my apprenticeship and became a qualified chef. I then left cooking behind and went looking for a real job.

On special occasions I would wear a three piece suit. It was brown.

I learnt what George Harrison meant in his song Teardrops, when he said, “In the heart of the lonely man, in and out of love more often where most others can.” Unrequited love is never easy.

My hair was various lengths throughout the decade. I still have photos of my incredible mullet.

I hung out with some great friends and shared houses with some good mates. I discovered some excellent music and went to dozens of concerts.

Later in the eighties my mother died. I cycled across Australia for the first and second times. The girl who’d held my heart for many years finally decided she wanted to be more than friends. Eleven months later we went back to being friends.

The eighties was also the decade that I finally organised myself to get into the radio industry, which is where my heart was all along.

A lot happened in the eighties. It was a decade of discovering a little bit more about who I was and who I was becoming.

So would I want to go back there? No thanks.

I wouldn’t want to go back there because I didn’t meet Pauline until January 1992. We married in December the same year.

It would have been so wonderful to have shared those times with Pauline. They were amazing years with some incredible highs and lows but all that time the real love of my life was living just 20 or so kilometres away. I wish our paths could have merged so much sooner. Maybe the connection wouldn’t have worked if we’d met earlier – I don’t know – but I really do wish that we could have had those years together.

What were the eighties for you? A time of happiness or regrets? Highs, lows or both?

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist and blogger from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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  • Let’s see: love the music of the 80s, especially Stryper and the hair bands. I pastored 4 different churches in those years. Finished one in 1981, Started a new one in last ’81. Started at another in 1/83. Moved to Ohio in ’84. Then moved back to Indiana in ’87 where I stayed for 13 years. My wife started working. I made tons of mistakes. I started cycling with seriousness in the 80s. I got a Masters degree in Ministry. Made a ton of mistakes. Watched my girls grow into beautiful young girls. Made a ton of mistakes. (Notice a pattern?) Turned 30 in 1982. Made a ton of mistakes. The 80s were a mixed bag for me AND I DON’T WANT TO GO BACK unless I could change the ton of mistakes I made.