I am a very nostalgic person by nature. I often look back at my memories of the old days with fondness for those aspects of life which are now long forgotten.
Now more so than ever.
Over the past two years, life has changed so dramatically that nostalgia for the old way of life is more prevalent than ever, even among the younger generations who don’t have the same long, lost experiences that I do.
I remember listening to elderly relatives and friends of my parents as they spoke of the changes and transformations of day-to-day living over their lifetime. My grandmother told me about the first time she ever saw an automobile. Theirs had been a poor fishing village populated by horse-drawn carts and wagons. My mother-in-law spoke of the first time their home had a telephone. She has vague recollections of Black Tuesday, the stock market crash of 1929. She was 5 years old at the time.
My mother regaled me with tales of standing on the sidewalk watching TV through the window of a shop that sold the latest technological advance in home entertainment. Her family was one of the last to indulge in such an expensive contraption. And on July 20th, 1969, she watched, in black and white, as the first men landed on the moon. Technically, I did, too, but I was too young to remember.
In my own life, there are firsts and innovations that “new adults” will never be able to comprehend. The first video game consoles. The birth of home computers. The first mobile cellular phones (that’s what they were called at the time) that were as heavy as a brick and which only the rich could afford because the service was so expensive. Answering machines, microwaves, hand-held video cameras, digital photography. All new during my lifetime.
Only adults of a certain age will remember the ear drum shredding grind of the modem as it connected to something called the World Wide Web.
Over the past thirty years of my life, technology has changed so quickly that it’s hard to keep up. No one can afford to have the latest of every gadget. It’s simply too expensive to keep upgrading to have the newest features and the most fashionable version.
Two years ago, the world changed again. Drastically. And life will never be the same.
At first, the world seemed to pool its resources and energies into fighting the scourge of the Covid-19 pandemic. We went into lockdown. We wore masks and PPE. We were careful and only went out when necessary, or chose instead to have food, groceries, and other necessities delivered to our doorstep. We got vaccinated.
But that was two years ago.
Nowadays, fighting that invisible enemy is akin to holding back the ocean tide when you’re afraid of getting your feet wet. Instead of fighting the pandemic, there is talk of learning to live with it like the flu. Albeit a deadly flu that moves through the population like wildfire. People who used to say “if I get it” have now succumbed to saying “when I get it.”
We want to be able to go back to the movie theaters and restaurants. We want to go shopping at the mall. We want our free food samples at Costco.
We don’t want to fight anymore.
So we have a choice to make. We can live with covid and go back to the malls and the theaters and the restaurants. But we will never have free food samples at Costco again. We can’t sit next to each other in the theaters and restaurants. We will have to learn to live with social distancing, travel restrictions, surgery backlogs, attending church by video conference, and we will never appreciate the beautifying effects of a lipstick in the same way again.
Each day is a brave new world with new experiences that, if we appreciate them, will become fond memories of a life we once took for granted. They will be the tales we tell our children in hopes that they will not take life for granted. Especially now, when life can be so easily taken.
“Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.“
Aldous Huxely – Brave New World