Thursday, June 5, 2014

Back in My Day

It isn't possible to live in the past. You have to live for the time you're in now, embrace what is available to you and accept that the world around you will change. That's why it drives me COMPLETELY CRAZY when I read or hear people saying things about how everything was better in the past. Was it really? Was life simpler in the 1950s? Do you feel like if you could go back, you would, because back when you were a kid it only cost 25 cents to go to the movies? That is the only difference between now and then?

I hate that people cannot see the good in the world around them now. Instead, they complain about kids these days and how everything used to cost less. It is easy to look back at a time in hindsight and only think of the good. Parents look back at when their children were babies and the sleepless nights and dirty diapers all but disappear, instead they focus on the cute baby laughs and chubby cheeks. At high school graduation you think of all of the fun you had with your friends, but no one wants to remember how mean teenagers can be or the piles of homework or cafeteria food. When people look back with nostalgia at a particular decade like the 50s, they might think of poodle skirts, diners, and sock hops. That's a pretty broad generalization that basically skips over any and all problems in the world during that time. Women and minorities did not have the same rights then as they do now, Jim Crow laws were still in affect, people lived in fear of communism, and nobody had invented TiVo yet, this doesn't really sound like a glamorous time to me. I doubt anyone really wants to go back to a time when drinking fountains were designated "White" or "Colored" and nobody could record television on demand. You might as well live in the stone age people.

The world might be different now. People have smartphones and cable and Facebook, things that used to be cheap aren't anymore because that's how it works people, and chances are you are going to run into people that are different from you. They might look different, dress different, have different standards than you and your family. And everyone's natural inclination is to shelter their children from all of this, because having your children grow up to be tolerant and understand the nature of humanity being a diverse group of people is the worst possible scenario. Since I'm raising tiny socialists I try to teach my kids that people are different, and that's okay, they can still be their friends. That doesn't mean I want my kids to do the stuff they see out in the world. I would prefer that they not twerk onstage in front of a bunch of people, or wear shorts where their butt cheeks are hanging out, or get pregnant when they're in high school, but stuff happens. I want them to understand and be tolerant, that doesn't mean I want them to do the things they see in the world. There is a difference, you just have to recognize it.

The world isn't all bad all the time. There will always be good things to see, and that's all I want my kids to be able to recognize. We will look back at this time with nostalgia at some point, remembering how cheap things were because there's always room for them to get more expensive, remembering how nice social media can sometimes be when it comes to keeping in touch with people, remembering a time when our kids were little and everything was simpler. But you have to also be aware that the time you are living in is good too, even if there aren't any as many poodle skirts or diners.

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