The ‘Good Old Days’ Are Relative
Spend any time on Social Media where baby boomers hang out, particularly Facebook, and you’re sure to find a post…or several, about the “good old days”. It may be the one about how, as kids, they left the house after breakfast and didn’t return until dinner time. Perhaps it’s someone reliving the glory days of having only three channels on the TV, or remembering those great times when they didn’t even have to lock their doors. Nothing says OK Boomer than starting a sentence with, “When I was a kid…”
Good Old Days Don’t Exist, Memories Do
The reality is, for every one of those good old days, is a memory. Sometimes that memory is good, sometimes not. Yes, I have memories of playing outside from morning until night with zero accountability all day. We had fun, but some of it was as unsafe and unscrupulous, as it was unsupervised.
I have wonderful memories of hopping on a bicycle, helmet-less, and running all over town. I didn’t get hurt, but that was as much luck and Providence as it was anything else. My reflection of those days doesn’t change because we weren’t burdened with helmets like “those pansies of today”.
I fondly remember my 8-track collection and 12-inch black and white TV. Those days weren’t better, they were just different. If they were the good old days, it was because I was discovering music as a pre-teen or Star Trek reruns after school. I wouldn’t trade my iPhone for either of those items. As for the memories…I still have them.
The Good Old Days of Cars
I’ve already discussed what the classic cars of the good old days mean to me here. Suffice to say that most of what was produced in those days doesn’t hold a candle to what is being manufactured today. My 3-ton Chevy with hand crank windows and no air conditioning was definitely NOT the good old days. However, the memories of driving and owning my first car, are great memories, but they don’t make those days better. Most of the cars on the road in the early 70’s are gone. They simply weren’t made well enough to last. They are old, but they aren’t good.
Our Carefree Memories Come from Being Kids, Not Better Times
Our memories of those wonderful, carefree times are not because those were the good old days. Those days hold a fondness in our hearts and minds because we were younger. We either didn’t know enough to be concerned or we had boundless amounts of energy to deal with problems that did occur. We struggled with different issues; peer pressure, grades at school, what kind of clothes, friends, and which expressions were cool.
Those were difficult and challenging at that time, but we tend to forget that. All we remember is that deciding whether to put on bell bottoms or not is now an easier decision than whether or not to refinance the home, or deciding how you are going to send a kid to college.
Better Memories, Not Better Days
God has built us to forget trauma, and over time, remember only the good things. There were fewer mass shootings (that we heard about) back then, but we did have war…real war that young men didn’t come back from. Civic leaders and presidents were assassinated. We had gas shortages, and countries that took our men and women hostage.
Today I have the power of a television studio in my pocket. I can see and hear my children or grandchildren at a moment’s notice with that technology. My car is expected to last 200,000 miles, and I can earn a living from my own home.
Every generation has days that they remember fondly, in retrospect. Those are good old memories, nothing more. Right now, America is still a mostly free country. I acquiesce that if that goes away, we may very well have some legitimate good old days to talk about.