Oh for the good old days when life was simpler and more fun and the world was a better place than it is now. Looking back it seems kind of nice to be a kid and let my parents worry about the bills and all of the logistics of keeping things going. All I had to do was just play and enjoy my life. Life was so much easier back then. Or so I've heard people say. But in reality was the past really all that good compared to now?
I guess a lot of young people roll their eyes when older folk reminisce about how much better things were in the past. When I was a kid I enjoyed hearing the stories of the youths of my parents and grandparents, but those older times didn't sound all that much better. What would have been so great about walking three miles to school in the snow? I doubt that my parents actually had to do that, but it's one of those cliched stories many of us might have heard at one time or another.
When I was a kid our family wasn't necessarily wealthy, but I didn't ever go hungry and we always had a decent place to live. Christmases were abundant times and summers were easygoing and gay. And back then "gay" meant carefree and happy. There were things to worry about when I was in elementary school, but nothing especially major as far as things in my immediate world.
The years of junior high and high school brought with it a few concerns, but not much that couldn't be kept in check without too much effort. I may have been tottering on the cusp of adulthood and yet I could still be stupid and get away with it without too much rigmarole. Essentially I was a good kid and most everyone else I knew back then was okay too. A few were outstanding, while some of us had our shining moments that stood out among the typical mundanity of everyday life. Glory days for some and boring days for others and for the many of us they were just the days to get through in order to get where we were going in life wherever that was.
Were "the good old days" really all that great? I remember worrying about getting drafted to fight in Viet Nam. A lot of guys my age went and thanks to a draft number near 300 getting drafted was unlikely in my case. I stayed home and muddled my way through some college. Fighting a war was not something I wanted to do and thank goodness I didn't have to go, but still it was something I worried about to some degree.
Then before I knew it the whole being a kid, a teenager, and a confused youth was over and I was an adult. Somehow being grown up didn't seem all that different in a lot of ways. Now I had that privilege of being able to look back upon my own good old days. The older I got, the older those days got until the past became dreamlike in many ways and often a unreliable source of history because it was the past of which I was a part of in some manner of speaking. Since leaving those good old days I often have to relate to them through things I read or see on television. I'll watch an old movie that takes place when I was younger and often think to myself, "I don't remember it quite like that."
The past seems like an interesting place to visit, but I'm not sure that I'd want to live there. It's not that my memories are bad. Far from that, my memories are good for the most part. But those memories are skewed because they are my memories. If I could go back in time to see what the past was like, there are many points of history I'd want to see. However the places, people, and times of my past are of special interest to me. Were they really like I thought they were or was there a lot that I missed that would be important pieces of my personal puzzle that would be of great significance to know? In many ways I think the actuality of it all would be that my life was even better than I remember. It's been a good life. Maybe the days of the world weren't always the best, but my old days were just fine.
Do you remember the past as "good old days"? What was particularly good or bad about your own past in comparison to the state of the world and culture at that same time? Is there another time in which you'd prefer to live over the present?
This post relates to the theme of my upcoming Battle of the Bands on Friday July 1st. I'll be presenting two different songs--one which is named in this post--by two different artists who worked together at times and had somewhat parallel careers. One reached megastardom while the other was known to a number of music fans only having a modest success until his passing in 2015. Give a guess if you like, but be here on Friday for the answer.
Photo credit: http://jokideo.com/i-remember-the-good-old-days/