Adults! Stop Living in the Past – Recall. Don’t Stall.

 
I wish somebody would have told me babe
Some day, these will be the good old days
All the love you won’t forget
And all these reckless nights you won’t regret
 …
Never thought we’d get old, maybe we’re still young
Maybe we always look back and think it was better than it was
Maybe these are the moments
Maybe I’ve been missing what it’s about
Been scared of the future, thinking about the past
While missing out on now
We’ve come so far, I guess I’m proud
And I ain’t worried about the wrinkles around my smile
I’ve got some scars, I’ve been around
I’ve felt some pain, I’ve seen some things, but I’m here now
 

Here’s an interesting phenomenon that seems to be occurring with more frequency, or maybe I’m just taking notice of how more folks today can’t seem to be in the now without some type of complaint trailing their thoughts. “Social media is the downfall of all communication”, “Youth today have no direction”, and “Technology is eclipsing our view of life”. Are we truly that frustrated with the now? Are people today truly doomed? Or are we just repeating our parents own emotional history and feeling likewise trapped in our own pasts?

We’ve all had those moments… You’re sitting, sipping your favorite cup of coffee, staring blankly at the space in front of you, and you start to think about how quickly the years have gone by, yearning for your younger days, your high school days, your college years. You remember that cute boy with the beautiful green eyes and your first kiss (maybe deep brown or ocean blue eyes, hey it’s your memory!). You think fondly about your group of friends laughing at the most ridiculous jokes, and talking with your bestie on that rotary phone nailed to the kitchen wall with the longest cord. You recall the days at the beach, the movie nights, or that carnival with the pretty lights once the sun went down. You think about your first, but old used car and all your friends squeezing in for a ride to nowhere, but it meant everything just to be together. The memory of the flashy nights you’d lose yourself and your thoughts as you surrendered to the pounding rhythms at your favorite club. Feeling like a king because she gave you her number, or a queen because he asked you for it! Your backpacking, poetry reading, pot smoking days. Bonfires and 3 day music festivals… to name just a few.

Did at least one of those make the corners of your mouth tug up in to a smile? Make your heart flutter like the ethereal wings of a butterfly? Did they all convey carefree feelings of adventure and innocence? Of course it did, because those days WERE more carefree. Not though because kids back in your days were different from the ones today, but because, simply put… YOU WERE YOUNGER.

Regardless of the generation a person lives in, if you were to ask parents of that time what the difference was between them and the kids at that very moment, they would all sigh in much disappointment, shake their heads with regret at how wonderful things USED TO BE when THEY were younger. They would claim that the newer generation is one of “laziness, disregard, disrespect, lack of direction, spending too much time listening to the radio, glued to the TV, playing video games and talking on the phone”.

Sounds like the complaints of today? Well, that was the complaint of many parents back in the 70’s and 80’s. Two decades that many of us recall with much fondness, but gave way to hours in front of the television as well as hours in front of an Atari game system (a personally beloved gaming system).

Just for fun, let us go further back in time for a true wake up call, to only mention two ..

In 1790,  the book Memoirs of the Bloomsgrove Family, Reverend Enos Hitchcock wrote, “The free access which many young people have to romances, novels, and plays has poisoned the mind and corrupted the morals of many a promising youth…”

An 1859 issue of Scientific American, page 9, stated “A pernicious excitement to learn and play chess has spread all over the country, and numerous clubs for practicing this game have been formed in cities and villages…chess is a mere amusement of a very inferior character, which robs the mind of valuable time that might be devoted to nobler acquirements … they require out-door exercises–not this sort of mental gladiatorship.”

Chess, novels and plays were discouraged and disparaged. They were deemed a corruption in their time as television, games and smartphones are a supposed corruption in ours. The Beatles were hated by parents in the 60’s, just as Metallica was in the 80’s, NWA in the 90’s and Lady Gaga or Cardi B today. Older generations long for the days past with an admiration that would make the one prior cringe.

We need to stop repeating history and learn to live in the now while still loving the memories that helped shaped us to what we are today. We need to not forget what it was like to be young and carefree. We need to understand the next generation (in this case, dare I say, Millennials) the way we expected to be understood. We need to help the new generation rise and shine in all their glory and not condemn them for the things they enjoy, or for the causes they fight for. We need to learn from the next generation and put that information to good use while imparting all the things we learned from our very youth, but with honesty and not with skewed memories to fit in to our perception of a better past.

As Macklemore’s song above Good Old Days so aptly states:

Never thought we’d get old, maybe we’re still young
Maybe we always look back and think it was better than it was
Maybe these are the moments
Maybe I’ve been missing what it’s about
Been scared of the future, thinking about the past
While missing out on now

— The Pretty Platform

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