So I’ve never understood exactly what this means but every generation pines for it like it was some Utopia or Xanadu-like time filled with chocolate highways where everyone burped rainbows.
Oh sure, those were the glory days before cell phones, color TV’s, washing machines and indoor plumbing ― because peeing outside in a wooden shed was a hoot― and who wouldn’t want to go back there. The simpler days where you had to get up to change the channel and banks were only open until 3PM. When people died of polio and infections and there was no ibuprofen or tampons. Just the thought of cooking over an open flame and taking a bath in the family tub is enough to make me want to put together that time machine collecting dust in my basement.
Back in the day, people knew their place and nothing short of miracle or getting adopted by Daddy Warbucks could get you out of the social strata you were born into. Discrimination based on gender, race, religion or the color of your eyes was considered divinely ordained and nowhere near illegal. Life expectancy was fifty (oh crap, I’m fifty!) and contrary to some people’s misguided notions, no woman gave birth in the field then got up and kept on working because the truth is having babies was a dangerous, deadly endeavor. Yeah, sign me up!
But I am a hypocrite. I’ve been feeling nostalgic myself lately. The kiddies flew the coop a while ago, the wrinkles are becoming more pronounced every time I look in the mirror and those rose-colored glasses I dug out of the junk drawer sure makes looking back seem pretty spectacular. Gas was cheap. My daughters thought I was the greatest person alive. My body hadn’t succumbed to gravity and I could sleep all night without having to go the bathroom ―inside, thank goodness, but still.
There’s a comfort to be had looking to the past because it’s already happened. We know the outcome. We can relive it in our minds and it won’t change. The present is fraught with uncertainty as every day things change and while we run to try to keep up the future looms in the hazy horizon and we worry. We wonder. And we are scared.
I have no words of wisdom to allay our fears except this: Every generation before us has survived. They have come through the veil of uncertainty and prevailed. Sometimes things got rough and ways of life slipped into the rose-colored past but we the people have persevered. We sometimes take one step back for every two steps forward but life IS better now. We have cell phones and color TVs and indoor plumbing and medicine and knowledge and the freedom to do what our hearts dictate instead of what our family circumstances decree.
We are not perfect and we have a ways to go but look forward for the answers which wait in the limitless future. If you must look back, look with fondness and clear eyes and remember, one day someone will look back at today and wish for these good ‘ole days. . .