On Nostalgia

My childhood teddy bear with inappropriate paraphernalia via my friends

My childhood teddy bear with inappropriate paraphernalia via my friends

It is only so fitting that a weekend spent home in stereotypical suburbia would induce a post on nothing other than good ol’ nostalgia. I’m neither old nor poor enough (yet) to have a real understanding of what it’s like to miss things like being young, waving my prepubescent brother off to recreational soccer practice on a crisp fall afternoon, or hearing the never-ending hum of my teenaged brother’s shitty Windows laptop (a hand-me-down from moi) as he grunts in dissatisfaction at Dungeons and Dragons (or whatever games he plays on there). To my misfortune, all of the above is yet to change. Actually, it all happened this morning. But it’s still weird to be back in my hometown for the first time in a long time. It sort of feels like I never left. Then again, it sort of feels like I never lived here at all.

Nostalgia is a feeling–it is an emotion or a way of thought. Similarly to the way I’m Shmacked turned the intoxicated state of mind into what they call “a movement,” nostalgia took those “remember when…” thoughts and turned them into an even bigger movement, but a slightly less obnoxious one. Nostalgia has become laced like a bad drug into many aspects of our everyday lives. Yet, we keep smoking life by the pound and barely realize the affect that the past has on us. “Throwback Thursdays”? My relentless need to wear ankle socks with tennis sneakers? Overalls, overalls, and more overalls? The past isn’t just ever-lingering… it’s fucking trendy.

Trendy then...

Trendy then…

Selfie now?

Trendy Selfie now?

 

I was one of the kids that waited my entire life to grow up. I used to try and manipulate the game of MASH so that I would get the life that I wanted. In elementary school I knew where I wanted to go to college, what job I wanted to pursue, where I wanted to live, and how many kids I wanted to have (none of these opinions have changed, literally). My wedding plans are already a decade old, at least. I knew in kindergarten who I wanted to marry, too. And although that changed by the time I hit seventh grade, I still consistently had someone I wanted to–no, I was going to–marry. My best friends consider one of my defining characteristics to be my necessity for pre-planned baby names. Once, someone asked me about my future husband’s opinions, or any relatives of his that he would want to name our children after. My response: “What opinions?”

At the same time, someone like me who has always been so eager to grow up was also so eager to wear a “spin-spin” dress every day to school as a sixteen-year-old and cry for someone to tickle my back whenever I didn’t feel 100%. I am also, obviously, a huge fan of the #tbt. My favorite game is “remember when?” which is a game I made up where, basically, the rules involve one person saying “Remember when…” followed by a funny memory that happened in the recent past. It also has to be ironic in the sense that of course everyone remembers when it happened because it happened so recently, but you had to ask just to make sure anyway.

We could be so obsessed with the past because of the obvious reasons: we miss it, there is an inner child in all of us, it’s fun to dress up as a slutty 90’s Mary Kate and Ashley for Halloween, etc. etc. etc. But it isn’t why we’re so obsessed with it that interests me; it’s the fact that we spent our whole lives waiting to be in the ripe decade we’re barely beginning and now that we’re here, we use our mature social media skills to go back to where we started. So, what is it that we want? To be old, or to be young? Then again, I’m a Jewish woman, so I’ll never make up my mind no matter what.



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