Very often when I hear a song today from my youth, I can clearly remember an activity or person associated with that song. They are usually fun activities, fond memories. I was lucky growing up. There was no war that would draft me. My area was not ravaged by crime, although race relations were sometimes iffy. At the time of my growing up there were extracurricular activities, but Little League baseball stayed local. There were no travelling teams. You could go out for after school sports, or play in band, but it wasn't a thing that took up your weekends for half the year or more. I also had a job at the local library but it was limited.
As a youth, I had time to dream. I had time to ride my bike to the park and find guys to play frisbee with. I had time to walk to friend's houses and put on a recently discovered group, and we would lean back, and listen to the whole album together. We had to make up our rules for the interactions and activities we were in. A pickup game at the park was officiated by ourselves. New games with better rules were always tried out. We always had music going, in a car stereo, a home stereo, or in our heads.
In talking with a friend about her teenager, who is involved in a lot of activities and seems to not have time to 'unplug', I thought of some of the youth I saw come through the scout troop my boys were involved in. These kids would go to school, go to some sports or drama practice, come to scouts, and then go home to do homework. They had no downtime, much less time to sit and eat a meal. (They sometimes came to scouts with a fast food meal in hand.) Co-workers have children who are always away on weekends on some organized event. They will no doubt be successful people with many skills and fond memories of activities.
I wonder, however, whether kids today get time to dream. Whether they get time to sit back with new music and enter a new world, or read a book and enter a new world. What creatively will come from these kids so driven, but so regulated and organized by some group? To top it off, I wonder if when they hear a song from their youth, years from now, they will remember riding a bus to some event, or will they recall laying in the sun in a park, or driving a car around the lighthouse drive at night, dreaming and talking of different, better worlds?
(Note: I do realize that not all kids have the LUXURY of either dreaming or of being in organized activities. That would be another discussion altogether.)