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The Grass is Always Greener in the Past

By Dale Spangler

I wondered to myself recently whether it's cyclical for older generations in society to look back with nostalgia at decades from their past.

As we age, reflect more on our lives, and get worn down by the unrelenting march of technology in the name of "progress," it becomes harder and harder not to pine for the past.

But was it really better in the past?

And so I can't help but wonder if someone back in 1950, say at age 54, looked back on the 1920s as their "good old days" with a sense of nostalgia: like how Baby Boomers look back on the 1960s and 70s as their magical years.

Hindsight must come with a pair of rose-colored glasses because of how fondly we often think of our past. A past that relies on memory (and a few old family photo albums) to recollect.

At age 54, I look back to the simpler times of the 1980s with my own personal sense of nostalgia. I know it's probably ridiculous—and more than likely over-inflated. Like when we idolize a movie from our younger days "we loved so much"—only to watch now in disbelief as to what all the fuss was about.

The 1980s. They were simpler times.

But there was also chaos and turmoil—garbage in the streets and pollution in the water. It wasn't all roses. We just couldn't see it in the past as much as we do today.

Today we carry a mobile recording device at all times. Every disaster, misstep, or dastardly deed is recorded, shared, reshared—then made into a meme. So it's hard to avoid the horror, death, and destruction we're exposed to daily.

So it seems worse today.

Especially mentally.

But the past had its share of problems, too.

I wonder if someone in the future will look back at the 2020s with nostalgia as their "good old days?"

It's hard for me to imagine that right now.