The Good Old Days- How It really Was


Paradise Lost

Throughout history idiots and people with selective amnesia constantly moaned about how much better life was in the good old days when… blah, blah, blah.  Its its similar sentiment to that of “well in my day kids were so much better.”  Right…  It appears that from the beginning of time (millions of years, or around 6000, any which way, its a lot 😉 ), children have progressively gotten worse with each generation.  Socrates was doing it in ancient Greece.  A generation spans 20 to 30 years.  So every 20-30 year cycle the little bastard we raise have turned out worse apparently.  Now multiply that by 1000s of generations and we should have about 6 billion plus Hitlers and Stalins running around.  But we don’t.  We’re not Hitlers, neither will be our kids, or their kids.  Yet each ageing generation will moan about “young people these days.”  Part of this phenomenon is perspective.  Kids of 30 years ago grew up to be uptight middle aged gits with memory loss.  They conveniently forget how they were when they were kids.  The other part is the selective amnesia.

Its gotten so bad that people from the former Soviet Bloc who used to curse communism on a daily basis now long for the good days when jobs were plentiful, life was simple, there was no crime, everything was great.  So they lie to themselves.  If everything was so peachy then why did millions of people fight to over throw the Communists?  What is it that makes us so forgiving when it comes to the past?  Is it just the troubles of today that make us think that life was not so bad then?  Is it the need for validation of our youth?  And this is not exclusive to oppressed peoples.

Conservatives today long for a simpler, better time.  It was that long ago when the conservative god Reagan led this country.  Times were great, life was good, as opposed to now when a “socialist” is that the helm.  The economy is shit, our deficit is crippling and unemployment unacceptable.  That’s great except for a few details.  Life was not all that great.  The economy was shit then too.  Our deficit was going up as well.  And our unemployment was over 10% for almost a whole year between 1982-83.  Yet, while Obama inherited the worst economy since the 1930’s its apparently his fault even though he’s been in office less than a year.  Selective amnesia.  Now of course the Left conveniently forgets that it was Bush the younger who inherited a bad economic time with the dot com boom finally crashing.  Its like that everywhere, and everyone is culpable.

The recipe is a bit of nostalgia, selective amnesia, throw in an unfavourable look at the present, a dash of “everything is better on the other side of the wall,” add a pinch of blindness to what is happening around you, plus the need to constantly moan about one’s life and the need for validation of the past and voilà.  Life is shit, it was so much better in the good old days.

Well, let me tell you something.  There were no good old days.  There were only the old days.  Some were good, some really bad.  Its the same thing when kids keep wishing they were grown up, they could drive cars, make money, make their own decisions, get laid, a lot, drink, smoke, do whatever they please.  Then 30 or 40 years later those same impatient little bastards all wish they could go back in time so this time around they would not screw up their lives so much.  This time they wouldn’t buy that car they couldn’t afford, would choose to do something they actually liked for a living, not make so many stupid decisions, get laid (that is the one constant, at least in men 😉 ), not drink so much, never start smoking, and NOT do whatever they pleased cause that was really stupid.  Yep, never happy.  And that’s where I think this “good old days” mentality comes from.


Line in front of a Communist Era Home Goods store

Many people in Eastern Europe long for the great days when they were happy.  They had jobs, crime was low, life was simple.  Well their jobs paid nothing, and they couldn’t buy anything even if they had money.  Crime was under-reported, and its not as if there was anything to steal.  Life was not simple.  Shopping was an event, long lines to buy rationed, substandard, overpriced products.  Listening to the wrong radio station could get one in trouble, speaking one’s mind, did, and quite often.  Was is really so simple and good?  Then why the hell did all those millions of people dance with joy 20 years ago?  Because the good old days sucked.  Its simple really.

People long for the good old days longing for the good parts.  Well that’s nice, but its rather utopian and stupid, and impossible.  What about the bad, ugly parts that made us change the good old days?  If everything was so great then we wouldn’t change?  But everything wasn’t so great.  That’s why the good old days are no more.  Nostalgia is historical revisionism.  If I told everyone that life was so great under Hitler because there were jobs in Germany, everyone was proud of their country, people respected authority, roads were great, etc, etc.  I would be at best laughed at.  At worst, I would get a very deserved slap.  Life under Adolf sucked, and we all know why.  So why do we do this every generation, in every country, with everything.  How was life so much better in the good old days?

In America its mainly a conservative trait.  Not all conservatives mind you, but enough.  Some long for the idealized society that never was.  Life was never like “Leave it to Beaver.”  No matter how much we want it to think it was.  There was poverty, crime, and injustice.  Just because no one openly talked about the social ills it did not means they were not there.  Kids still got pregnant, they did drugs, people had abortions, there was infidelity, divorce, there were gays, there was crime.  And worst of all, there were bitter old fools who sat around and talked how life was great in their good old days.

What brought this little rant on?  A few recent discussions, but mostly reflections of the past, and some of the idiotic comments I have heard and read over the years.  And yesterday’s anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall brought some of those comments back.

My little advice is, get over it.  Your good old world did not exist.  Life was not better, nor worse really, just different.  In a different age.  And they wont come back.  Live what you are living now.  The present is not all that bad.  The world is changing, accept it, adapt to it.  Because the world you long for has never existed outside of your selective mind.


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10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. A great one Rob.

    I’m fortunate enough to be around people who understand theres a good and a bad side to everything, even times. Yes every now and then my grandmother will be telling us how a certain thing was better in her days, but she watches tv, uses the internet and she travels .. I’m sure she appreciates whats good in this day and age just like most people who use a bit of common sense.

    “Kids of 30 years ago grew up to be uptight middle aged gits with memory loss”. Hey those are my parents youre talking about! Sleep with one eye open Robert, the Arab is coming to get you and we dont mess around, we go straight to the point =P

  2. LOL, thanks mate.

    I think I published it too early, and one yet another sleepless night. There is a lack of honest self reflection in people that makes us do these things. Glorifying an bad past, overlooking our mistakes, finding excuses. It goes beyond the personal, its even worse when it comes to our respective histories. We glorify our own countries while we demonize other countries. Historical honesty is a rare thing. The need for patriotism kills the truth.

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  4. Excellent read, I know exactly what you are talking about. But then again, good, days and I don’t get along 🙂

  5. Applauses ! If you’re not happy with the situation, please begin to think of what you’re able to do to change it … and do it ! It’s named to give sense.

  6. Cheers.
    I would say, as an emigrant who came across this often enough, that its not only people having trouble with the time they live in. They also don’t like where they live. So often I hear how life was great back in the old country, and how America comes of worse in comparison. Yes, people who’ve been here 5, 10, 20 years and have no plans to leave get nostalgic about their own little countries and idealize them. All the while they conveniently forget why they left and why they are still here. Again, I feel its the need for validation of one’s past, some good old fashion whining from people who always see the grass being greener wherever else they look but their own back yard.

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  8. Stfu with your cry babying. Life WAS better you liberal revisionist

    • LOL, how cute. HOW was life better? For who was life better? Just because you claim something doesn’t necessarily make it true you deluded twat. And how am I the cry baby when I accept life as it is, and it’s the likes of you who constantly bitch and moan about how life was really great in the past? Get over yourselves and learn to live in the present instead of the past. Nostalgia is not history. It’s revisionism.

      Speaking of revisionism, only a deluded revisionist could think that life was better in the old days. With disease, inequality, racism, misogyny, religious persecution, and backward ass thinking being the way of life, etc, etc. Life is not perfect now, but it keeps improving and at no point in time were we more equal, and safer, as well as healthier, than we are now. And it will keep getting better unless conservative morons have their way and will try to turn back the clock. Whether it’s the likes of religious freaks like ISIS, or the American Taliban, or economic conservatives who think that laissez-faire capitalism was a good idea, with its monopolies, child labor and abuse of workers.

      Sorry, the good old days never existed, your silly selective sentimentality is a delusion.

  9. Well finding real true love in those days was certainly a lot easier than today the way that our family members had it which today it is like trying to win the lottery for many of us good men that are still single unfortunately.

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