Back to the future: Family living like it’s 1986 returns to 2014 tomorrow
It’s the year 1986. There are no smartphones, no tablets and no GPS.
Those are just a few amenities the McMillan family in Guelph has been living without. A year ago today, Blair McMillan, his wife Morgan Patey and their two sons Denton, 2, and Trey, 5, decided to turn back the clock and live a year like it was 1986. That was the year the couple was born.
“The first couple months were really hard because there was anxiety,” said McMillan.
“You can't get a hold 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.”
The genesis of this social experiment came from McMillan’s son Trey being glued to the screen instead of enjoying the outdoors.
“It just started by asking Trey to come outside and play when he was on the tablet, and he didn’t want to,” McMillan said.
That prompted the family to see if they could live for a year without any technology from the 20th century.
They shelved their tablets, cancelled their debit cards and went out to buy radios and the original Nintendo game console from that time.
“I just set it up how my parents’ home would have been the day I was born,” said McMillan.
The family replaced the Internet with encyclopaedias, swapped cellphones with a rotary dial and instead of a GPS went back to good old fashioned fold out maps.
“We had moments where we hated each other and were taking the wrong turns and not finding hotels at night…there's so many times that things like that happened,” said Patey.
But the family has found many positives after living a year in the past.
“It’s been an awesome year and I think we've learned a lot as a family about communication,” she said.
“Our relationships have become so much closer from spending more time together and not having the distractions that come with all the technology and those things.”
As for getting back to 2014?
“It’s kind of bittersweet,” said McMillan. “Now it’s becoming the way we live and that’s the way we’re used to.”
“It's funny now because I'm dreading them cutting their mullet!” said Patey.
The family encourages others who maybe don’t want to travel back in time, to at least take a tech time out of their day to just enjoy the company of family and friends.
“We would suggest to anybody to take some time and put it away…even if it’s just a walk with your family or significant other, leave the phone at home.”