This year marks the 35th anniversary of Basia's album Time And Tide. Another excellent example of the genre of sophistopop, every song on the album is 80s pop perfection. From the title track to Promises and every song in between, Time And Tide is one of the best albums of the 80s. However, there's one song from the album that stands out to me for the impact it had on how I would view my life.
This song is called New Day For You, and it's one of the most inspiring songs ever written. It's also about moving into something new, but in a general sense of living life. The song's message about love and new beginnings is one that resonates to this day. When I talk of how hopeful the music of the 80s sounded compared to that of the 90s, this is the type of song I'm talking about. I know that the 80s had its' share of dark and depressing songs, but when I think of 80s music, New Day For You is the type of song that springs to mind.
Speaking for myself, I first heard this song a few months before my 30th birthday back in 2012. Those few months were a period of transition to a new outlook on life for me. The fear and anger that defined who I was in my 20s was gradually starting to melt away. In many of my RetroJunk articles in my 20s, I projected an image of calm, but away from the computer, I was an emotionally damaged bundle of nerves traumatized by harassment at work and abuse from a mother who was soon to pass away, making my mental issues even rougher.
Even in my RetroJunk articles, though, one could see darkness beneath the surface. My most acclaimed piece for the site was written about the loss of my father when I was 12, and an article about family memories was written in 2010 while my abusive mom was in the hospital getting treatments for the cancer that would kill her later that year. That wasn't the only way that darkness was in my articles.
In 2008, I published a piece for RetroJunk called Some Of My Fave 80s Women, an article that gained a lot of positive feedback, but just as much negative feedback on content-aggregating websites. A lot of the article involved me writing about my autism spectrum disorder in the period when I didn't know much about it, and between that and the way I wrote about the women in the article, a way that focused on their sex appeal in a horndog manner, I cringed so much upon a revisit a few months back that I asked for it to be taken off the site. Vertex, the owner of RetroJunk, obliged.
Earlier than that, I wrote a piece in 2006 about being a young 80s fan. I've since had that piece deleted as well because of how dark and depressing I sounded in the article. The 80s is a decade that has given me hope and inspiration, but you wouldn't have found it in that article. That article had all sorts of crap in it, from usage of the word "cheesy" in a manner I thought different from that 80s review website I wrote about in a recent article to the idea of calling myself nice, but referring to my ex-girlfriend in a misogynistic manner. I was at least five years out from seeing my current understanding psychologist, and I really could've used her help in 2006.
Although I am proud of the interviews I did for RetroJunk, I do look back on them and a small part of me wishes I had started using a recorder earlier. Unfortunately, I had no idea how much a recorder would cost until I was told in 2012 that Samantha Fox only did phone interviews. As it would be years before I got my own smartphone, I also have a feeling that my mom would've been upset with me making regular phone calls for interviews to the West Coast on her landline phone. The process of change would be a rough one at first, but it would bear fruit that still tastes sweet to this day.
When I started seeing my current psychologist in 2011, she started me on the process of changing the way I view the world and the people in it. What does that have to do with New Day For You? In the Fall of 2012, I heard the song, and the hopefulness of it spoke to me. I took the message of it to heart, and I made the decision, upon turning 30, to view the world in a kinder, more open-minded and open-hearted manner. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.
However, even though I did change my outlook on things upon turning 30 in hopes of reaching a "new day", the bad crap didn't disappear overnight. I had to deal with the fact that some people were still afraid to be honest with me because of the way I reacted to them in my 20s. I was now able to accept what people were saying about things like my appearance and my hygiene in a calmer manner, but for at least the first year of my 30s, my reputation preceded me.
I was eventually able to explain that it's not what a person says, but how they say it, that impacts me. If you're like my mom who, for example, once dubbed me foolish for speaking badly in public about a cab driver who made rude sexual remarks at her expense over a mistake that was mine and mine alone, and another time threatened me with homelessness if I were to tell her friends I didn't like it when they called her a b*tch, then I'll be very unnerved, and that will come out in my words. If you're like my brother, though, who couched his concerns about my room by talking about how it might impact my health, it will be easier for me to get the message.
Speaking of what people say and how they say it, I also had a vicious argument with my special education teacher cousin-in-law the day after Christmas 2013, a few days after I turned 31. This special education teacher's knowledge of autism spectrum disorders could fit in a thimble with enough room to put a finger in, and in my penultimate interactions with him, my "new day" reverted to an old one. I'm not proud of how I acted in the moment, but it helped me in the long run.
At Christmas of 2013, I overheard my brother and this cousin-in-law discussing controversial gay-bashing comments by Duck Dynasty cast members. I said that people who use homophobic language are probably just compensating for their own feelings, thinking of the many gay-bashing authority figures who have been found to be in the LGBTQ community themselves. My special education teacher cousin-in-law said, "You're gay, John!", and that upset me as, even though I wouldn't identify as aromantic for a few years, I expected better from a teacher like him.
The day after Christmas, I called him up to try and explain why his words upset me. I tried to be calm about it, but I reverted into my "old day" behaviors of screaming and cursing while he was just as upset with me, and I angrily hung up the phone on him. His wife, my blood cousin, would later call my brother to say that if I ever did that again, I would no longer be welcome at their house. I knew I couldn't react like that anymore if I wanted to live a "new day".
With that, I went to Wikipedia to look up their article on Asperger's Syndrome, which was what my autism spectrum disorder was informally referred to in spite of reclassification by DSM the year prior, and what I read was put into an apology letter written to this cousin-in-law. I apologized for my actions, explained that how I reacted was an outlier for how I had acted through 2013, and asked forgiveness for how I reacted. My apology was never formally accepted by my cousin-in-law, and I only saw him one more time after that, but the letter was helpful for me in that I now had the words to explain myself to the neurotypical.
Speaking of which, another way my 30s became a "new day" for me was with the change in positions at my retail job. Although I love writing, my retail job is the primary way I pay my bills. I work for a major retailer, and for the first 13 years or so I was with this retailer, I was a cart pusher. It was a very physically strenuous job that had me out in the elements all year round. It did a major number on my body, and eventually my mind as well when I was told that my fellow cart pushers didn't like me or how I did my job.
I was 32 going on 33 in 2015, and I knew that I didn't want to be pushing carts for the rest of my life. I sought out a cashier position at the store, and it took several months, but I finally made the jump inside the store in September of 2015. With the exception of two days in my first year as a cashier, I haven't done any cart pushing since, and if I can help it, I'll never go back to it. While I have taken my fair share of vacations from the store over the years, I have never had to call out of work or leave early since I made the jump to cashier. If I ever want to go outside, I do that with my evening walks that I take when I'm at home.
I do often have difficulty understanding customers, whether they speak a foreign language or speak English, but don't understand the autism spectrum, yet every day the job gets easier as I get the lines down quicker. It's a very intellectual job as you're working with both numbers and words, but I love doing it. The first few years of being a cashier were hard, but it's a lot easier now. People compliment me on the speed of my scanning and the skill of my bagging, and that cheers me up. That "new day" feeling is with me every day.
Most importantly, though, the "new day" outlook on life impacted my writing in a way that's helped me out tremendously. With the help of therapy and medication, I now had the words to explain my quirks and unusual parts to people, and that extended to my words as a writer. As I started doing phone interviews shortly before I entered my 30s, I was getting compliments on my lines of questioning from the talents I spoke to.
However, this improvement in my writing coincided with an overhaul of RetroJunk that caused me to lose the great majority of my readers to other nostalgia outlets. The few readers I had left by the time I stopped writing for RetroJunk either offered negative feedback or no feedback at all. I was doing some of my best writing, but barely anybody was paying attention to it. I spent most of 2013 looking for a new site to do my writing on. When my teenhood friend Eileen invited me to check out her website Bilateral Warp, I asked if, instead of just visiting the site, I could perhaps write for it instead. I put together an audition piece about comedy albums to fall asleep to, and it met with her approval.
I published that piece in January of 2014, and I was off to the races. Shortly afterwards, I published my first interviews for Bilateral Warp, an e-mail interview with Catherine Mary Stewart and phone interviews with Jamie Rose and Ginger Lynn, and I started getting feedback again on social media. As I shook off the last of the RetroJunk rust, I had truly reached a "new day" with my writing. The feedback on my writing was starting to get better with each passing year, and the talents I interviewed for Pop Geeks, the former Bilateral Warp, started complimenting me frequenly on my research and my questions. I've even had at least one offer from an interview subject to help her write an autobiography, while another interview subject has asked me for suggestions for a book they want to write. As I'm approaching my 200th article for Pop Geeks, I'm feeling a great sense of confidence in my life.
There are times when my writing gets trashed, but I'm now able to get over the negative feelings a lot quicker now. For example, I did an interview with Adam F. Goldberg for the 80sxchange's sister site Retro-Daze, and while most of the feedback has been positive, I did get one user who, in 2018, had some negative things to say about my interviewing skills. I did relapse into my "old day" feelings briefly, but eventually, I wrote out a response in a calm manner. I didn't say anything like, "Let's see you do better". I just explained the quirks of my writing as a result of my autism spectrum disorder, and I did acknowledge that it may not have been as good as other interviews I'd done, but that's because I wasn't as familiar with Adam's works as I am with those of other talents I interview. In spite of that, though, Adam did compliment me on my questions when the interview wrapped up, so even if this user didn't like the interview, Adam himself did.
The only difficulties I've really had in my 30s have been with Social Security Disability blackjacking me twice, once in 2013 and once in 2019, for working too many hours. I would love to work more hours, but that sadly won't be in the cards if I want to retain my benefits. In spite of that, though, I would say that, on the whole, my 30s have been much better than my 20s. I took the words of Basia's New Day For You to my heart and my mind, and as a result, not only had my outlook on life improved, but pretty much everything in my life has. I've made great new friends, reestablished previously broken family ties, landed a position at work where I haven't missed any days that weren't vacation days, and am doing the best writing of my life, writing that's only getting better as the years go by.
On December 22nd of this year, I'll be exiting my 30s and entering my 40s. As I did almost a decade ago, and still do to this day, I will again listen to New Day For You and find new inspiration in it. Maybe I'll get ideas for talents to reach out to for interviews. Maybe I might find a way to work an occasional extra day here and there without worrying about SSD breathing down my neck. Life is full of possibilities, and every day is a new day for you, for me, and for the world.
What are your thoughts on the song New Day For You? Has it inspired you to approach life in a different way? If it isn't this 80s song, what 80s song inspires you to live your best life? Let me know in the comments below, and thank you as always for your time and support.