You know how, as kids, you would listen to people older than yourself reminisce about the good old days and you couldn’t help but sigh? Perhaps to you their nostalgia was a touch embarrassing; the way they’d cling to the past almost felt desperate. Things couldn’t have possibly been that great or they wouldn’t have changed, you might have thought to yourself. That was then and this is now! Stop trying to make 1975 happen (again!) and get with the times already! We have the internet, how can you not be excited about this??
You know you’re getting older (or at least growing up) when you stop quietly judging the people stuck on their past and start becoming one of those people.
The further I get from student-hood (this is my fourth consecutive September of not starting a new school year. Well, not as a student, anyway) and the closer I get to 30 the more wrapped up in nostalgia I seem to find myself. I never anticipated becoming this person. In fact, there was actually a small part of me that always wondered if people who held on to the past were simply afraid to move forward.
I can’t say for sure whether or not that’s true (there’s a lot on my horizon so maybe I am subconsciously starting to linger in the past a tad just to feel like I’m safely in the cocoon of the familiar for a little bit longer). What I do know is that I’ve officially become one of those “remember when?” people and I can’t even say that I’m sorry for it.
Case in point: This past weekend I almost forgot what decade it was.
On Saturday night Kyle was officially fed up with our portable record player. The sound warbled and paled in comparison to a set-up we had witnessed in a record shop in Penticton. He was on the hunt for the real deal. After prowling through Kijiji listings and firing off a message or two he had a hit before we even went to bed. The next morning we were on the road to pick up our new player, receiver, and speakers. I had Queen’s “A Night At The Opera” spinning before dinner time.
That night my brother came to hang out with us and we decided to bust out my Super Nintendo. Y’know, for old time’s sake. And also Mario Kart. A few harmless rounds of that devolved into a long night of screaming and laughing as the three of us played our way through some of the classic games that my brothers and I had enjoyed as kids.
It was as I sat on the floor switching out records and watching the guys howl through NHL Stanley Cup circa 1993 that I experienced that moment of, “wait, where am I? WHEN AM I?” Everything about that scene screamed back to my childhood. To my father and the time he would spend at his record player, methodically leafing through his vinyl collection and delicately swapping one for another. I remember watching his movements and being mesmerized by the ritual involved in listening to records because you didn’t just listen – you participated in the experience. Those motions now, ingrained still after all these years, come naturally to me. I laid on the floor, my head at the speakers and an album cover in my hands, appreciating the experience for myself.
And the video games. Oh, the video games! These games, this console in particular, were daily staples in the lives of my brothers and I back in the early 90s. Say what you will about video games but I don’t regret a single moment we spent engrossed in the adventures and stories doled out by our SNES. And it all came back to us so quickly that night; every combination of buttons, each sneaky cheat. Those pixels were like a wormhole that sent through them waves of youthful glee and excitement and left hints on nostalgia lingering when it was all over.
That night I felt like we had the best of everything. Who needed computers and streamed music when we had pristine vinyl and 16-bit entertainment? It was then that I really started to understand – without the bitter jadedness of “kids these days” ringing in my ears – why so many of us like to hang on to the past. Those relics that ring back to time we’ve grown out of but would rather not forget.