Back to the future: Ontario family ends year of living like it's 1986
Taylor Poelman, Special to CTVNews.ca
Published Monday, April 28, 2014 1:08PM EDT
An Ontario family of four is coming back to the future after a year of living like it was 1986.
After going without cellphones, computers, tablets, DVDs and other 21st-century staples for an entire 365 days, Blair McMillan, Morgan Patey and their two young sons, Trey and Denton, are slowly reintroducing post-'86 technology back into their lives.
The Guelph, Ont., couple decided to revert back to so-called simpler times when their older son showed preference to toying with a tablet over playing outside.
“It just started (by) asking Trey to play outside one day when he was on his tablet, and he didn’t want to come outside and play,” McMillan told CTV Kitchener.
From there, McMillan and Patey created an experiment to live their lives as if it was 1986 -- the year they were both born.
Their house was outfitted accordingly: a wooden box-frame television that sits on the floor instead of a flat-screen TV; a bubble-gum pink Panasonic tape player instead of a digital sound system with an iPhone jack; and an old rotary telephone has taken the place of the family’s cellphones. They even had an old Nintendo for the boys.
And last summer they took a road trip using only hand-held maps.
“Trey and Denton are probably one of the only kids around (today) who know to blow out a Nintendo game to make sure it works and reset it,” McMillan said.
Incorporating the style of the decade was also part of the plan. The three boys in the family all had mullets for the year, with McMillan even sporting a thick Tom Selleck-style moustache. Patey opted for voluminous ‘80s hair and bangs, along with cut-off jean shorts -- a popular look back then.
But ’80s living did present some challenges.
“The first couple of months were really hard because there was anxiety, you can’t get ahold of your friends, you’re not in the loop with text, you can’t go online to research … it just forced us to be spontaneous and find other things to do and be creative,” McMillan said.
Patey said the experiment helped strength their family ties: “It’s been an awesome year and I think we’ve learned a lot as a family about communication. All four of us have come so much closer from spending more time together.”
They began reintroducing 2014 technology into their home Monday, but the couple wasn’t sure if they would dive back into the modern era all at once.
And another concern? In some ways, maybe they’ll miss the ‘80s.
“It’s funny now because I’m dreading (the kids) cutting their mullets,” Patey said.