It seems that a lot of people including myself feel great nostalgia for the good old days which we were too young to have any genuine appreciation for. This can be for something as simple as old timey nineties music I was barely old enough to remember. Alternatively it can be as large as feeling nostalgia for whole ways of life, and I’m sure we’ve all felt this, for say, being a swashbuckling pirate in the age of sail.
Obviously this is obvious, everyone on the face of the planet except anti-torrent legislators want to be a pirate in some way. However, its strange to think that we long for this backward, pestilent, hard life of crime and pain. Still, those romantic notions of exploring the unknown, free from the rule of international law, always win through. The challenge can add to the reward. Humans just can’t be comfortable being comfortable, it seems.
“Sure I was a sex object without basic human freedoms, I wouldn’t go back” says grandma, “but it was ever so quaint, ooh you don’t get cheese dixie dances like you used to…”
The good old days are full of these paradoxical compromises. We strive for a better world so we can be a bit bored and disappointed with it. For instance, we lament the disparity of wealth in the world and yet the image of the eighties corporate playboy washing down the coke snuffed down off a woman’s belly with a glug of grange straight from the bottle is somehow glamorous. It’s all a game I guess, and it’s only fun if someone’s losing, otherwise no one can be winning.
Alcohol was never as fun as it seems it was in the Prohibition era. The crime and danger adds to the thrill. Farming was never as fun as cowboys made it out to be, and that was mainly due to the likelihood of getting shot or lynched for no good reason. Sex in the sixties…well I guess STD risk is the exception to these things, not too nostalgic for the aids epidemics in the eighties, but the drugs were new. I like disco….
All this nostalgia for something we only know from what others tell us about it. It can make us look at the boring old world around us today. Sure we have phones, but they get boring pretty quick. It’s a computer in my hand, yay, time to watch cat vids with it. Drones are cool, but you need a license. Bloody safety. Everything is tarnished with process and bureaucracy. Freedom isn’t real, we aren’t trusted to not kill ourselves, for good reason, but it still sucks. I guess that’s why Americans are so desperate to cling to their gun laws. It’s a personal freedom that they need purely because it doesn’t make safety sense to keep it. It’s a choice they make as adults. They can feel the rules are still their’s for the making.
Despite housing affordability crises, more and more tariffs on booze and cigs and spending more of your life looking at a screen indoors, there is something to look forward to.
Good news, the future will be worse! 🙂 yay, that’s right, all the amazing technology will be drab, all the rules will be stifling, and it will still seem as busy and problem-riddled as ever.
Aren’t you lucky you live now. You’ll be old then, you won’t have to deal with that shit. No, you can just sit around and complain about how you used to be able to drive the car yourself with controls instead of telling it where to go, it was much more fun. And you will be able to rely on the modern medical technology to extend the time you have to tell all the kids how you were so much better than them at their age. Because no matter how shit it is now, it can get worse. So little things like riding a push bike without needing a road license and a rego slip might be the coolest thought in the world to those upstart little future kids.
“I built a billy cart and burnt dinosaur-juice just to cut grass with whirling knifes when I was young” you can tell them. Sparklers and candles, will be tales of the elicit and dangerous activities kids used to be allowed to do. That’s right. We used to take all our nicotine by burning it! Fancy that!!! They won’t believe you. “I remember when they started being electronicalised” you’ll groan. “They were great big things, had to be to hold the battery.”
Getting old is only any good because the world around you is shittier than before. So if you start lamenting the way the world is going, remember that’s a good thing and live up the good old days.