I like it when people say things like “those were the good old days” or “they sure don’t make things like this anymore.” I don’t know exactly why, but those kinds of phrases always make me smile.
Maybe it’s because they are always said with kindness and a sense of reminiscence. Maybe it’s the people that are saying them. They are usually older than me, and I know that even with those simple phrases they are trying to tell me something meaningful.
Maybe it’s because I’m catching myself saying those phrases more than I realize. I did it the other day while talking to a 15-year-old about video games. He was holding a hand-held game of some sort, and I told him that when I was a kid I had the very first Nintendo.
“The very first one?!” he exclaimed. “Yes, the very first one,” I said. Every generation gets to experience the first something. The first car. The first refrigerator. The first time traveling on a plane. The first computer. There’s always a first.
I grew up in the 1990s. We were thinking of lasts during my generation, and wondering if we were going to live past the clock striking midnight into the year 2000. The Y2K craze was all the rage. My parents were stocking gallons of water and dried goods. A new century, a new age with many new firsts was around the corner. We weren’t sure exactly what was to come.
Thinking back to that time, only 23 years ago, the world seems very different in some big ways. I was growing up in a generation the last to experience life the way it was. The last to not have cellphones. No Facebook or social media. TV shows had to be watched when the newspaper said they would be on. There was more living in the moment. More taking it all in as it was happening.
Today, American life is very abundant. We feel we have everything we need, and we have it when we want it. Maybe it isn’t so. Maybe we have too much of a lot of what we don’t need. Our senses are being fed, but we aren’t consuming anything that keeps us full and helps us grow.