I’ve always been a girl who dreams about the past. Not my past, specifically, but the past of this planet. Of times throughout the ages and what the people were like then. How did they feel without technology? Were they bored, or did they feel more free?
I’ve always had a soft spot for the 60’s, 70’s and 90’s. I don’t know why, but I’ve been obsessed with the styling and the lifestyles and what everyday life was like since as long as I can remember. I know I can ask people who grew up in these decades for their personal recounts, but it will never be the same as experiencing it first hand. If time travel was a thing I would totally be one of those lame people who simply wanted to stroll around looking at everything, and admiring all of the ornate details like plate sizes and shop fit outs and hair styles.
If I could corner one of the locals, I would pretend that I fit in, ordering a black coffee and a slab of pie (okay, I know I grew up in Australia but still – what a classic dish!) and then badger them with the most appearingly-mundane questions I could come up with. What did it feel like to be going to the first cinema in the state? What was the most forward-thinking thing a teacher said to you in high school? How do you spend your evenings? What is your current favourite book? How expensive is it to fly to Paris?
I don’t know why I haven’t just asked my grandparents these things. They’ve lived through it all, and have quite a few stories up their sleeves. I just find it so fascinating that back in the 70’s, there were 22-year-olds walking around in their ‘present day’, with big dreams and driving now-vintage cars. Did they feel like they were living in an advanced world, or did they still recognise that we had much further to go? Did they still believe that they should be married by now, or did they give a finger to the man and run away from home at 18?
Did they feel overwhelmed, with how big and innovative the world was becoming? How old were they when they got their first job, and did they like the one they were in now? Did their parents encourage them to chase their dreams, or did they settle for a suitable job in their hometown because it was ‘safe’?
Of course I would want to know about the festivals. Oh, the festivals. And the gigs. And the world tours. Tell me everything. What was it like seeing Blink 182 play in their early days? How loud did people scream at AC/DC concerts? Did they ever cry seeing their favourite band for the first time? How captivating was Jimi Hendrix in real life? Please tell me you got a chance to see The Smiths?!
I would also want to know every little detail about New York. Tell me about how wild it really was at Studio 54? How did the men dress? How did the women dress? What was it like to be in the LGBT in such crazy times? What makeup did people wear? Hell, did business women even give a damn about makeup? What was it like to walk down the streets at 3am on a Tuesday night? How did Times Square feel back then? Were you feeling inundated with advertisements, or filled with wonder by all the pretty lights?
And how often do you talk to your friends on the phone? Do you still write to your childhood best friend, or have you drifted apart? How important do you think it is to have real connection with the people you surround yourself with? Could you ever imagine relying on a piece of metal and glass to keep you connected to the world?
What do you do with your free time? Do you holiday often, or do you save up for that family vacation to the same spot every year? Have you ever been to a lake house and gazed at the stars? How does the air feel? Do you ever have any breathing problems, or get hay fever in the spring? Have you ever been on an airplane, or even out of the country? Where have you always dreamed of going, and why haven’t you been yet?
I know these may seem like weird questions, but I can only imagine how diverse the answers would be compared to that of a young adult in 2017. I would want to know everything. What was their biggest problem in life? If they could do one thing tomorrow, what would it be? Did they feel like they were born in the wrong decade too?
Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful to be this age, living in this year, with the luxuries that I have. But it doesn’t matter how many history books I read, or how many films use 1960’s inspired sets, or how many times I Pin stills from Empire Records, I will never have been in those times at this age. And I never will. Weird isn’t it, to think on this level. It’s also incredibly cool too, because well, we get to imagine the best of past, and didn’t have to experience the worst of it.
If you’re still with me, then thanks. Maybe this piece gave you wave of nostalgia for a time you never lived in. Maybe it only made you wish how desperately you were born earlier, in “simpler” times. Or maybe it just made you feel content, and glad to be apart of it all.
Till next time,