25 Reasons We're Glad We Grew Up in the '70s — Best Life (2023)

They say that hindsight is 20/20, but hindsight can also be clouded by nostalgia. And that is especially true if you grew up in the 1970s. Sure, it was a decade that will mostly be remembered for Vietnam and Watergate. But, for those of us who grew up in the '70s, it was the sweetest time to be alive, an innocent era where disco reigned supreme and we all had haircuts that made us look like Chia Pets. From the glorious simplicity of pet rocks to the musical lessons of Schoolhouse Rock, here are 25 reasons the 1970s were the absolute best years to be a kid. And for more on last century's greatest decade, check out 20 Things Every "Cool Kid" Growing Up in the 1970s Owned.

1

Music came in vinyl, cassette, and 8-track.

25 Reasons We're Glad We Grew Up in the '70s — Best Life (1)

They weren't the most user-friendly audio formats, but we sure did love them. At the time, it felt like we had the best of all possible worlds. Vinyl was for home listening, cassettes were for music on the go, and 8-tracks… Well, we're still not sure what 8-tracks were for. But there's just something about being able to hold on to an album sleeve or flip over a cassette to get to your favorite song that made the whole music-listening experience feel more personal and special.

2

School lunches had a flexible definition of "healthy."

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Just look at this lunch menu from a Texas school in 1974. Their idea of healthy, brain-boosting food back then included chili burgers, hamburgers, oven fried chicken, buttered corn, and fruit gelatin. It's a miracle we all weren't napping through every class. But good gosh, were our taste buds happy. And for more blasts from the past, don't miss these 20 Amazing Photos Every '70s Kid Can Relate To.

3

The world felt more safe and secure because of Fred Rogers.

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Mister Rogers' Neighborhood wasn't just one of our favorite shows because we had so few other options. Singing along with "Won't You be My Neighbor?" actually made us feel comforted, even if we didn't realize we needed comforting. Mr. Rogers' soothing voice and gentle disposition was like a balm for the soul, giving us the confidence to face the world even when we would have rather hidden under our bed covers.

4

We'd head to the video arcade with a pocket full of quarters.

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Kids today would likely scoff at how we played video games in the '70s. We actually had to pay a quarter for each game—and we don't regret a penny of it. For one thing, it made the experience feel more precious. We didn't just flip on a console in our home and play Pac-Man endlessly; we had to save our money, and wait for the weekend when our parents would let us walk to the arcade.

5

(Video) If you grew up in the 1970s...you remember this - Life in America

Learning "The Bump" was the only dance move necessary.

25 Reasons We're Glad We Grew Up in the '70s — Best Life (5)

"The Bump" was so simple, yet something about it felt rebellious and naughty. You essentially just bumped hips against your partner over and over and over. Crank up KC & the Sunshine Band's "Shake Shake Shake," and us '70s kids could do "The Bump" all night long. (Literally, it wouldn't be a problem: The dance really wasn't that complicated.)

6

We experienced Star Wars for the first time with zero expectations.

25 Reasons We're Glad We Grew Up in the '70s — Best Life (6)

If you weren't there, it's impossible to explain what it was like to walk into a theater having no idea how Star Wars was going to change your life. We had no preconceived notions about Han Solo or Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader, no older brothers or parents or even grandparents telling us, "This is the greatest film trilogy ever made," or, "Oh my gosh, we're about to get to the lightsaber battle. Wait 'til you see this!" It truly felt like ours, which is something no other generation will ever feel again. And for more great films of the past, here are 30 Movie Quotes Every '70s Kid Knows by Heart.

7

A private phone call depended on the length of your rotary phone cord.

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There was no such thing as a mobile phone in the '70s. If you wanted to have a conversation without your mom or dad or siblings overhearing, you had to get creative. Wherever the home phone was located—for many of us, it was in the kitchen—the challenge was to see how far that cord would stretch and if there was any way of pulling it into another room with a door. If you couldn't make it that far, you just had to be careful not to say anything you wouldn't want your entire family to hear.

8

It was possible to open junk mail without worrying about viruses.

25 Reasons We're Glad We Grew Up in the '70s — Best Life (8)

The only danger in opening mail from a mysterious sender in the 1970s was the possibility of getting a chain letter. But unless you were especially superstitious, you could usually ignore those. Still, in the '70s, we would never open a letter and find out later, "Oh no! My house is infected with a virus now!" Ah, the glory days. And for more on letters to look out for, here are 11 "Spam" Letters You Should Never Throw Away.

9

Everyone worshipped that Farrah Fawcett poster.

25 Reasons We're Glad We Grew Up in the '70s — Best Life (9)

What Farrah Fawcett poster, you ask? Okay, imagine a meme that's so popular, everybody in the world decides that it's the only meme that matters, and everybody wants their own copy of the meme so they can hang it on their bedroom wall, and simply displaying the meme means that you're somehow in the know with popular culture, that your tastes are more sophisticated than other kids' and that you understand something about the world that only adults really appreciate. That was the Farrah Fawcett poster.

10

(Video) The Four Yorkshiremen Sketch

Nothing was more joyously terrifying than Jaws.

25 Reasons We're Glad We Grew Up in the '70s — Best Life (10)

Steven Spielberg's 1975 classic had almost no special effects, and we only saw the shark for a few minutes at the very end. But it had a psychological effect that made an entire generation terrified of getting into the water—we mean any body of water (including pools, freshwater lakes, and maybe even the bath). We were certain we would see a shark fin gliding towards us, and we were moments away from being devoured alive.

11

Shag carpeting made the best bed in history.

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There's no experience quite like letting your body sink into some shag carpeting. For a true '70s kid, nothing makes us smile like memories of doing snow angels on a shag carpet.

12

We were allowed outside without parental supervision.

25 Reasons We're Glad We Grew Up in the '70s — Best Life (12)

Whether you were a city kid or a country child, leaving the house without being constantly patrolled by a parent wasn't a big deal in the '70s. By today's standards, it was an unprecedented amount of freedom, and we relished every second of it.

13

And riding your bike didn't require extra equipment.

25 Reasons We're Glad We Grew Up in the '70s — Best Life (13)

It wasn't just rare to see a kid in a bike helmet during the '70s, it was unheard of. Even if you considered yourself something of a neighborhood Evel Knievel, wearing a helmet was like admitting to the other kids that you expected to crash. We probably had a few more concussions than necessary, but we didn't know at the time just how dangerous it was to have our craniums so exposed.

14

Saturday mornings were reserved for cartoons.

25 Reasons We're Glad We Grew Up in the '70s — Best Life (14)

If you wanted to catch your favorite cartoons, there was only one time to do it: Saturday morning. We didn't have the luxuries of kids today, with their digital streaming services that make it possible for them to watch their favorite shows at any time, 24 hours a day. And we're happy we didn't.

Saturday morning cartoons taught us to be patient, and to be grateful for every last second of Bugs Bunny. You couldn't have a short attention span when there were only 30 minutes of Looney Tunes every week. If you weren't paying attention, you'd miss it all!

15

Tiger Beat was the only news we needed.

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25 Reasons We're Glad We Grew Up in the '70s — Best Life (15)

Sure, 99.9 percent of what Tiger Beat printed about teen idols was probably written by publicists. But we didn't care. If anything, we reveled in the myth-making, eager to think that such flawless teenage titans as Shaun and David Cassidy existed in the world. We didn't want to be told otherwise, and we sure weren't interested in what was going on in the adult news world.

16

Rocks counted as pets.

25 Reasons We're Glad We Grew Up in the '70s — Best Life (16)

It's not just that we adopted rocks and pretended they were actual pets, akin to a dog or cat except incapable of showing real affection. We actually paid somebody to sell us those rocks, despite the fact that rocks are pretty much available for free everywhere you go. Yes, it was ridiculous, but it was a fun and harmless diversion.

17

We learned everything we needed to know from Schoolhouse Rock.

25 Reasons We're Glad We Grew Up in the '70s — Best Life (17)

The brilliance of Schoolhouse Rock is that it taught us timeless lessons about grammar, math, politics, and science without any of us realizing that we were learning. The cartoons were funny and the songs were catchy—we can still sing the whole "Conjunction Junction, What's Your Function" song without missing a beat—and, when it was all over, our heads were filled with facts and useful information that we probably would have ignored if it came from an actual school teacher.

18

We'd stay up late just to watch Saturday Night Live.

25 Reasons We're Glad We Grew Up in the '70s — Best Life (18)

Saturday Night Live is now an institution (and one that you don't actually have to stay up late on Saturday to watch anymore). But, in the late '70s, it was still mostly mysterious, at least to kids who only heard whispered rumors about the show from our older brothers and sisters. Getting to see even five minutes of SNL felt like we had gotten away with something.

19

Long road trips happened in the back of your family's station wagon.

25 Reasons We're Glad We Grew Up in the '70s — Best Life (19)

Yes, we know that people still take road trips. But they're nothing like the road trips of the '70s. We had no GPS, and no digital distractions of any kind, for that matter. We lived in a world without smartphones or iPods or tablets or portable DVD players. We had to make up our own car games to keep the malaise from setting in, or stare out at the scenery whizzing past until we reached a road trip trance state. Nobody does meditation like a bored kid on an eight-hour road trip.

20

If somebody wanted to bully you, they had to do it in person.

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25 Reasons We're Glad We Grew Up in the '70s — Best Life (20)

Kids have always been mean to each other, but at least in the '70s, if you wanted to be a jerk, you had to make an effort. You couldn't do it anonymously, on a computer screen, without any consequences. You had to walk up to someone and be cruel right to their face. Their words could still hurt, but at least you were never bullied on a global forum in front of millions of strangers.

21

Mood rings explained (or dictated) our feelings.

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You could make an argument that mood rings didn't actually work as promised, and were about as effective in diagnosing your mood as a horoscope is in predicting your day. But in the 1970s, it felt like mood rings were some sort of black magic that could see into our souls and announce to the world, "Not today, people. Not today."

22

We had both Sesame Street and The Muppet Show.

25 Reasons We're Glad We Grew Up in the '70s — Best Life (22)

Imagine living in a world where Sesame Street was still in its prime—Muppets like Grover and Ernie and Bert were doing arguably their best work ever—and, on top of that, The Muppet Show was making new episodes every week. Kermit wasn't just a nostalgic throwback to yesterday—he was a bona fide celebrity, a Burt Reynolds for the under-15 set. In the '70s, we tuned in to every episode of both shows with hive-mind-like anticipation.

23

Nobody was cooler than the Fonz.

25 Reasons We're Glad We Grew Up in the '70s — Best Life (23)

Seriously, nobody. Can you imagine a character as innocent as the Fonz being idolized in a cynical modern world? He was a middle-aged single man in a leather jacket who constantly gave a thumbs up and said, "Aaaaaaaay." He would have been laughed off the planet. But in the '70s, we worshipped him, and we regret none of it. And for some fun lingo from the best decade ever, here are 20 Slang Terms From the 1970s No One Uses Anymore.

24

Bowl cuts were considered fashionable.

25 Reasons We're Glad We Grew Up in the '70s — Best Life (24)

In the '70s, every kid seemingly looked at Adam Rich on the TV show Eight Is Enough and then told their parents, "I want to look like that!" Wealthy or poor, it didn't matter—we all got haircuts that made it look like our mom had put a salad bowl over our head and cut around the bottom with scissors.

25

The clothes were insane.

(Video) Why People Looked Older in the Past
25 Reasons We're Glad We Grew Up in the '70s — Best Life (25)

We can't look at those old photos of ourselves in the 1970s without wincing, but we secretly love those crazy clothes. At least we all looked collectively silly in our wide-collar shirts and bellbottoms! And for more snazzy styles from the era, here are 25 Things Cool People Wore in the 1970s.

FAQs

What it was like growing up in the 70s? ›

The '70s were a fun time to grow up. It was a simpler life and easier in many ways. We spent more time together as a family and led less busy lives. I value my childhood years and sometimes wish I could go back to those easier times.

What are the 70s remembered for? ›

The 1970s are remembered as an era when the women's rights, gay rights and environmental movements competed with the Watergate scandal, the energy crisis and the ongoing Vietnam War for the world's attention.

How was life different in the 70s? ›

Contents. The 1970s were a tumultuous time. In some ways, the decade was a continuation of the 1960s. Women, African Americans, Native Americans, gays and lesbians and other marginalized people continued their fight for equality, and many Americans joined the protest against the ongoing war in Vietnam.

What life was like in the 70s? ›

Many remember the 1970s as a decade of soaring inflation, political upheaval, and the erosion of United States' prestige worldwide. But the significance of the seventies goes beyond high gas prices, Watergate, and Vietnam - profound changes to American politics, societal norms, and the nation's economy took root.

Was the 70s a good decade? ›

The 1970s were perhaps the worst decade of most industrialized countries' economic performance since the Great Depression. Although there was no severe economic depression as witnessed in the 1930s, economic growth rates were considerably lower than previous decades.

What were some of the changes to family life in 1970s? ›

People's lifestyle was starting to have choice. Affordable foreign holidays were very popular in the 1970's. For both men and women, life was not revolved around married life and children. There was also more convenience, as the washing machine and domestic microwave cooker was introduced.

What was the most popular thing in the 70s? ›

15 Top Trends from the 70s
  • Bellbottoms. Bellbottoms were like the clothing mullet before the mullet was really a thing. ...
  • Platforms. Wanting to be taller is a common wish among people. ...
  • High-waisted jeans. ...
  • Tie-dye. ...
  • Feathered hair. ...
  • The afro. ...
  • Corduroy. ...
  • Circular sunglasses.

What 4 fads became big in the 1970s? ›

Read on to learn about the crazes that made this decade so far-out.
  • Disco. In the 1970s, disco arrived armed with keyboards, drum machines, sugary lyrics, and extended dance breaks. ...
  • Afros. ...
  • Roller Skates. ...
  • Pet Rock.

What was the 70s decade known as? ›

Tom Wolfe called the 1970s the "Me Decade." Across the land, Americans seemed determined to escape from the wars and social movements of the previous decade. Disillusionment with national and global action led many to look inward and find solace in discovering more about themselves.

How do I live my best life in my 70s? ›

If you want to make the most out of your 70s, you've got to exercise your brain. How do you do that? Keep your cholesterol low, exercise regularly, eat well, and socialize. These are all ways to make the most out of life.

What was social life like in the 70s? ›

Almost all aspects of American society in the 1970s were marked by a restlessness and a questioning of traditional authority. From public protest movements to personal fashion, people sought a means of self-expression.

What good things happened in 1970? ›

1970
  • The popular band "The Beatles" announces they have disbanded.
  • NASA's Apollo 13 Moon Mission returns to Earth successfully after abandoning its mission to the Moon after experiencing oxygen tank problems and an explosion.
  • The first jumbo-jet, the Boeing 747, makes its debut commercial flight from New York to London.

Which five events occurred in the 70s? ›

  • The End of the Swinging Sixties.
  • The Vietnam War and the Anti-War Movement.
  • End of the Civil Rights Movement.
  • The Gay Liberation Movement.
  • The Watergate Scandal.
  • The Cold War.
  • Roe v. Wade.
  • The First Female Prime Minister of the UK.
Jul 13, 2021

What was a popular trend in the 70s? ›

Popular styles included bell bottom pants, frayed jeans, midi skirts, maxi dresses, tie-dye, peasant blouses, and ponchos. Some accessories that will help pull together your early '70s Hippie outfits are chokers, headbands, scarves, and jewelry made of wood, stones, feathers, and beads.

Why were people happier in the 70s? ›

A lack of gadgets and in-house technology meant more family time and physical activity, and we were closer, happier and healthier, apparently.

What was the culture in the 1970s? ›

The 1970s saw social progress, activism, political upheaval, and a new kind of pop culture. Disco was hot, and stars like Sonny Bono, Cher, and the casts of "Charlie's Angels" and "The Partridge Family" dominated television screens nationwide.

What was expected of a woman in the 1970s? ›

Many women had jobs outside their home, but still were responsible for most housework and childcare while their husband's only responsibility in a marriage was to go to work and earn money to support the family.

What happened in 1970 in American history? ›

June 22 – U.S. President Richard Nixon signs the Voting Rights Act Amendments of 1970, a measure lowering the voting age to 18. June 23 – Kelly's Heroes is released in the US. June 24 – The United States Senate repeals the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.

What did children do for fun in the 1970s? ›

Children worldwide collected the toy figures, wore costumes and played with light sabres and Darth Vader masks. The Space Hopper was still a popular toy for playing outdoors. Raleigh bicycles released the 'Chopper' bicycle, which became very popular. TV was in colour and there were many children's programmes now.

What are some fun facts about 1970? ›

1970 History, Trivia and Fun Facts
  • World Changing Event: The United States stopped commercial whale hunting.
  • Music Changing Event: The Beatles disbanded.
  • How Much is Peanut Butter? ...
  • The Top Song was Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkle.
Dec 30, 1970

What brands were big in the 70s? ›

Pages in category "1970s fashion"
  • Aboyne dress.
  • Adidas.
  • Adidas Superstar.
  • Afro.
  • American fiber helmet.
  • Murray Arbeid.
  • Aviator sunglasses.

What are people in the 1970s called? ›

Greatest Generation (born circa 1901 to 1924) Silent Generation (circa 1925 to 1945) Baby Boomers (circa 1946 to 1964) Generation X (circa 1965 to 1985)

What colors were popular in the 70s? ›

Earth tones dominate in this era as the “earth movement” begins in earnest in 1970 with the first Earth Day. Beige, rust, avocado, harvest gold, mustard yellow, earthy brown play together in patterns and solids. Appliances take on these colors as well.

What was the American dream in the 1970s? ›

The American Dream in the 1970s was to live a peaceful life. In the 1970s, family was focused on and so was latest trends in music. Hippies were popular and everyone needed to work hard for what was essential to live.

How often should a 70 year old shower? ›

But for the elderly, having a shower once or twice a week is sufficient to keep skin conditions and infections at bay. At Helping Hands, we have been providing elderly care for more than 30 years, so our customers can live independently and comfortably in their own homes.

Are people happy in their 70s? ›

'A kind of golden decade'

Happiness now spikes in your 70s, generally speaking, according to the survey: 90% of respondents in their 70s said they were happy, compared with 81% in their 60s and 80% in their 40s.

What happens to your mind in your 70s? ›

Changes in the Aging Brain

Certain parts of the brain shrink, especially those important to learning and other complex mental activities. In certain brain regions, communication between neurons (nerve cells) may not be as effective. Blood flow in the brain may decrease.

What was the main theme of the 70s? ›

Disco Theme

The 1970s gave birth to disco fever. And what better way to celebrate it than by hosting a disco party of your own?

What was love like in the 70s? ›

Dating and relationships were reduced to “hanging out”, a 40-year-old equivalent or modern “Netflix and Chill”. First dates were mostly about sex rather then getting to know each other, people had multiple sexual partners and the amount of open or non-exclusive relationships had increased.

What were the top 10 events of the 70's as described by Mojo? ›

Top 10 Defining Moments of 1970s America
  • #10: Disco Peaks with the “Saturday Night Fever” Soundtrack. ...
  • #9: Civil Rights Spills into Sports. ...
  • #8: Star Wars Takes us to a Galaxy Far, Far Away. ...
  • #7: Earth Day and the Environmental Movement. ...
  • #6: Pentagon Papers and the Fall of Saigon.

What influenced 70s style? ›

The 1970s began with a continuation of the hippie look from the 1960s, giving a distinct ethnic flavor. Popular early 1970s fashions for women included Tie dye shirts, Mexican 'peasant' blouses, folk-embroidered Hungarian blouses, ponchos, capes, and military surplus clothing.

What was the biggest selling single of the 70s? ›

Official Charts 70th Anniversary: The Official Top 10 best-selling singles from the 1970s
  1. Bohemian Rhapsody. Artist: Queen.
  2. Mull of Kintyre/Girls' School. Artist: Wings. ...
  3. You're The One That I Want. ...
  4. Rivers of Babylon/Brown Girl In The Ring. ...
  5. Mary's Boy Child/Oh My Lord. ...
  6. Imagine. ...
  7. Summer Nights. ...
  8. YMCA. ...
Nov 9, 2022

What did children do in the 1970s? ›

Children worldwide collected the toy figures, wore costumes and played with light sabres and Darth Vader masks. The Space Hopper was still a popular toy for playing outdoors. Raleigh bicycles released the 'Chopper' bicycle, which became very popular. TV was in colour and there were many children's programmes now.

What things were popular in the 70s? ›

15 Top Trends from the 70s
  • Bellbottoms. Bellbottoms were like the clothing mullet before the mullet was really a thing. ...
  • Platforms. Wanting to be taller is a common wish among people. ...
  • High-waisted jeans. ...
  • Tie-dye. ...
  • Feathered hair. ...
  • The afro. ...
  • Corduroy. ...
  • Circular sunglasses.

What was fun to do in the 70s? ›

Do You Remember These Popular Things From The 70s?
  • Partying in a Roller Disco. Do you remember waddling around a disco with the clumsiness of learning to walk on wheels? ...
  • Waiting for the Phone. ...
  • Watching Cartoons. ...
  • Taking Turns to Fix the TV. ...
  • Wearing Bold and Colourful Fashion. ...
  • Typewriting.
Feb 10, 2022

What did kids wear in the 70? ›

Fashion trends that 1970s kids will remember all too well
  • Sesame Street Apparel. ...
  • Flame Resistant Sleepwear. ...
  • All Plaid Everything. ...
  • Denim. ...
  • Bell Bottoms. ...
  • "Chubby" Sizes. ...
  • Western Wear. ...
  • Cowl Neck Sweaters.
Mar 30, 2022

How did youth culture change in the 1970s? ›

During the 1970s, the so-called counterculture that was popular among teens in the '60s became more mainstream. Anti-war and government protests continued, and American culture as a whole began to challenge social norms, signs of which were now present in magazines, TV, and other media.

Why do you think that the 1970s were called the me decade? ›

The term "'Me' Decade" describes a general new attitude of Americans in the 1970s, in the direction of atomized individualism and away from communitarianism, in clear contrast with social values prevalent in the United States during the 1960s.

What was the 70s style? ›

Popular styles included bell bottom pants, frayed jeans, midi skirts, maxi dresses, tie-dye, peasant blouses, and ponchos. Some accessories that will help pull together your early '70s Hippie outfits are chokers, headbands, scarves, and jewelry made of wood, stones, feathers, and beads.

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