Nostalgia, is such a powerful thing, isn’t it?
The other day, a bunch of us were talking and someone said, ‘I feel sorry for our children, they will never enjoy the carefree childhood we had’.
That had me thinking. I didn’t agree or disagree at that point but the more I think about it, the more I feel that more than anything, it is just nostalgia colouring our lenses for us. When I see my daughter, she is having a happy childhood of her own. She and her friends have the same carefree fun we had. Yes, they might have parents who are a little more aware of the dangers lurking about. Yes, I refuse to believe that there were NO dangers in those days. That, in my opinion, is just being naive.
I’ve been reading a book in which the author muses about people in some cultures spend so much time and energy on cooking, apparently focussing on the most ‘important things’, while some cultures just pick up food from supermarkets. He misses those days when everything was perfect. I can’t help wonder how many people end up spending so much time cooking elaborate meals because they have to and not because they want to. Given a choice, wouldn’t they have opted for simpler options? Why are modern time saving conveniences considered so bad? Isn’t it just nostalgia making everything seem rosier?
I’ve heard people say that the older generations had more content lives. Did our parents and grandparents actually have more happy lives? Does hardship always translate into content lives? I don’t know. I’m not convinced. I believe that people are content/happy based on the type of personalities they have, not any other factor.
After all every generation has it’s own challenges, and difficulties. Take my parents, for instance. They lived in a much ‘simpler time’ when they were young. Travelled by trains. We as children have fond memories of those days. Communicated through letters with their parents and telegrams during emergencies. Yes, those wonderful days when people used to write letters. But nothing can match up, for me, being able to pick up a phone and talk to my parents. I might not live next door to them, but then neither did they. But I can talk to them whenever I want to. Those letters we romanticize about, well, they are great, but nothing matches being able to hear the voice of a loved one, in my opinion. And if you can write a letter as well, fantastic!
Do I sound totally materialistic? I probably am too. Because I enjoy today. I would much rather enjoy today than pine for yesterday or yearn for tomorrow. Because I know that while my daughter’s childhood is very different from mine, it is her childhood and it will make for nostalgic memories for her. Nothing wrong with nostalgia at all. We would all be nostalgic about things. It would be impossible not to. But I do feel that it should not be at the cost of today.