Ah, the good ol’ days. Why can’t we let them go? What is it about the past that keeps creeping back into the present? Or, is it what’s lacking in the present that makes us yearn for the past?
Perhaps it’s our lack of knowledge about the future. I mean, it’s absolutely uncertain. And that can be scary.
So we cling to the past like we would an afghan that our grandmother knitted. It’s familiar and comfortable and it allows us to be ourselves.
Nostalgia keeps us grounded in who we are. It reminds us how simple life used to be. It’s regression, but it’s also progression. Especially when it helps us tap into our memories, and lets our deepest emotions flow.
Part of what we love about the past is that it’s unpretentious and kooky. Kitsch is cool. And the mustache is just funny. So why not bring it back? I’ve heard rumors of a Sixteen Candles sequel. Will they call it 37 candles? Did they elect Arnold Schwarzenegger governor of California because they loved him in The Terminator? And wasn’t it Austin Powers who gave the Mini Cooper its comeback? He was the Prince of Nostalgia, with his shagadelic lingo and bright, velour suits. It’s all about Vintage baby, yeah! Vintage cars, vintage clothes, vintage furniture, vintage haircuts…I mean, the mullet has its own fan club.
It’s also nice to be reminded how strange and unusual things were before mass production zapped design of its personality. We just miss all that silly stuff. We go looking for it like pirates at flea markets and thrift stores, which are ever so popular. Where the treasure is often a vivid memory, brought on by a set of mushroom cookie jars that are exactly like the ones you had on your gold Formica counter as a kid. Suddenly you can see the house you grew up in. You can smell your Mom baking (causing static on the TV while she’s using the mixer). You can feel the shag carpet between your toes.
I heard someone say that it’s been “scientifically” proven that people never stop listening to the music they loved in high school. I guess I will always have George Michael and Depeche Mode on my iPod. At least until that iPod becomes a relic in a flea market bin, so someone can stumble upon it in the future and say to their friend, “Oh my God, do you remember these things?”
Does it mean we’re less creative than in the past, because we keep rehashing old trends? I don’t think so. I think we’re a generation of recyclers, which is a form of creativity. And we give props to the past every time we dig it up and refashion it in our modern world.
Nostalgia could be its own passing trend. I mean, isn’t glamorizing the past a contemporary notion? Do you think they still partied like it was 1899 in 1905? Will nostalgia itself become nostalgic? I guess only time will tell.