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80s | Life

Meet The Family Who Spent A Year Living Like It Was 1986

The Globe and Mail / Today

Maybe we all wish we could relive our childhoods and escape our hectic, modern lives. But only Blair McMillan was brave enough to actually do it.

The father-of-two transported his family back in time for a year-long experiment that saw them living like it was 1986 again. Why 1986? That's the year Blair was born, but that's only part of the reason why.

Deborah Balc - The Globe and Mail

The concerned dad says he was inspired to turn back his family's clock when he noticed his sons Trey and Denton, aged five and two when the experiment started, were already addicted to his smartphone.

"I used to live outside, playing outside, and I realized how different my kids are," he told the CBC. "No cell phones, no computers, no internet. I basically wanted to mold it around my household when I was growing up."

And the family really committed to Blair's challenge. He and the boys sported matching mullet haircuts while he rocked a Tom Selleck mustache. Meanwhile, Blair's girlfriend, Morgan Patey, kept her hair looking totally '80s.


Living without the internet and other modern conveniences for a year was both rewarding and challenging, but in the end the family chose to return to the present when their challenge was finished.

And the reason why was pretty surprising.

Blair stowed every piece of modern technology in the basement at the start of the challenge.

The family swapped their WiFi for an encyclopedia set.Deborah Balc - The Globe and Mail

The only exception was the family's 2010 KIA, which had the GPS system removed. Even the family home was built in the '80s.

The family ate dinner and breakfast at the kitchen table together, and the kids spent their afternoons playing in the backyard. They did their homework with an encyclopedia set, and played on the family's NES game console when they were allowed.

Neighbors donated their old VHS tapes to the family.Deborah Balc - The Globe and Mail

The family even took a car trip together, with only paper maps to guide them and coloring books to entertain the kids.

Blair admits it was probably harder for him and Morgan to adapt than their kids. Blair lost business when he refused to e-mail a client, and couldn't look at smartphone photos of his newborn niece.

While Morgan kept using her work computer, she caught up on reading to entertain herself at home, finishing dozens of books during the challenge.

The Globe and Mail

But when the one-year time limit was reached, the family decided it was time to rejoin the present.

"The most challenging part [if we continued with the experiment] would have been that we are out of the loop with everybody else," Blair confessed to the CBC.

"And we did live in our own little box in our house because we kind of cut ourselves off from the rest of the world because the only way we could talk to people was to call, and nobody does that as much anymore."

Could you live like it was 1986? Even for a year?

[H/T: Toronto Sun, The Globe and Mail]