Think about how many times, in your own life, you have heard someone say how the past was so much better. In fact, you have almost assuredly said it yourself.
I know I have. In fact, I say it quite a bit. It’s kind of my thing.
Not to brag or anything.
But is it true? Or are we simply romanticizing the past? And if we are guilty of romanticizing the past, why do we do so? Are there benefits to doing so or is merely a losing game? Can it be a little of both?
The short answer is this — everyone has their own thoughts about why we romanticize the past and what, as a result, happens when we do that. Whether someone thinks that we are merely lying to ourselves, whether another opines how one should be particularly careful not to do so, or whether a former law professor writes how we are simply making it more difficult for our present-day self, I will tell you what I think — it depends.
Way to go out on a limb, eh? But it truly does depend on a particular person’s experiences.
There are instances when the past can be objectively better, no? When you are a kid, you view the world through the prism of someone who has not been hurt and battered by the trials and tribulations of life. As such, it makes sense that you would long for the days when your biggest concern was whether Cindy Smathers from homeroom liked you back or not. You have had a crush on her since 6th grade and she has yet to reciprocate. How dare you, Cindy? How dare you?
But what about when it’s subjective?
If you grew up in the United States during the counterculture era of the ’60s and ’70s, you may very well long for those days — and for good reason.
As per The Huffington Post, “The counterculture moment revived many ideas from Transcendentalists like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, particularly the notion of getting back to nature as a way to reconnect with the self and with one’s inner truth.
Hippies of the 1960s spent time in nature, finding their own “Walden” spaces to reconnect with themselves through the power of nature. “We need the tonic of wildness,” Thoreau wrote in Walden. “At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”
Sounds peaceful enough — let’s bring those ideas back. Sign me up for Woodstock 2019, 50 years since the original one in 1969.
At the very least, let’s bring oldies back.
What’s not to love about those times, right? Wellllllllll, part two continues here.