You’re driving to work.
You turn on the radio and Adele’s “Someone Like You” is playing. You think, it’s Adele, how can I turn it off? The lyrics begin and once you get to the chorus you’re completely in her trap.
“Never mind I’ll find someone like you, I wish nothing but the best for you…”
The feelings start. Now you’re thinking about your last boyfriend, how he has moved on to someone else and maybe you shouldn’t have let him go so quickly. Maybe things weren’t so bad; you might have been a little hasty. You hope he is doing well and think about catching up with him through a text.
The second verse starts.
“You know how time flies, only yesterday was the time of our lives…”
That is it, you’re done because now you’re at the, “OH MY GOD WHY DID I LET HIM GO HE WAS THE LOVE OF MY LIFE,” phase. You show up to work mascara running down your face, geared up to relive every Facebook picture from the two years you dated and already having left him a “I’m thinking about you and I just want to say I’m sorry for everything,” voicemail.
Our generation has a fascination with the past. Blame it on Adele and rapid technological advances in a short period of time. We feel like we look back and our lives are incredibly different because now we use smart phones instead of those passé flip phones from less than ten years ago. Then there is Adele, who at twenty-seven makes holding on to an old love fun and glamorous. Here are the five dangers of nostalgia.
1. We compare all present moments to the past.
One of the biggest dangers about being too nostalgic is relying on our already flawed memories. Most of the time, there is a reason why we are where we are. We’re still growing.
Think about two years ago or even just a year ago. Have your goals changed? Are your daily obstacles different? In our 20’s we experience so many different people and environments that who we are and what we want is constantly developing into who we are going to be and what we are going to want one day. It is impossible for us to look back on the past and think we were the same person.
Our memories also tend to only play the highlight reels. We remember the best moments about a time instead of the ones that caused us to move on from it. We should strive to live in the present rather than reflect on the “what if’s.” Living in this in -between place causes the great things and people in our present lives to be overlooked.
I mean, ask Adele’s boyfriend how he feels. Don’t you think he would appreciate a number one hit about how happy she is with him instead of her longing for someone else? Okay, you’re right, he is probably sitting poolside, enjoying a cocktail, counting millions of dollars in cash, while I’m the one who’s mad about it.
2. It prohibits us from looking forward.
How many times have we heard, or even said ourselves, “Oh my God, I’m so old.” Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re not old. As a general rule, if there is a forty or fifty –something year old woman using our age to lie about her own on a dating site, then we are not old.
If we start thinking we’re old now, what kind of crisis will we feel when we actually are old? What is there to look forward to if our best days are behind us? Are we going to spend all of our time just trying to relive our youth? At twenty-seven, this sounds incredibly depressing.
Instead of not letting go of the past, we should look to the future as a new adventure that we still have tons of energy to conquer, because we are so young. Amazing experiences are to be had, change and betterment is yet to come. We have at least another six years before our parents really start to ask for grandchildren. Our responsibilities are generally minimal; these are the years that someday we will wish we could go back to.
As another general rule, the fact that there are people younger than us does not mean we are old.
3. We live for creating tangible, documented memories.
Basically, put the phone down.
4. We become the guy at the party still doing keg stands.
We all have that friend, the one who will probably still want to play flip cup at our kid’s birthday parties, he never left our college town and took six years to graduate. The guy that frequently drinks too much and says, “Man, sometimes I just want to go back.” Let us work to not be that guy.
Most of us had incredible college experiences. Spending all day living in a place with people just like you, studying a subject you are passionate about and enjoying discovering who you are as an independent person is an incredible time. They are some of the best days of our lives. Nostalgia has the power to make us believe our lives peaked during this time. When we feel this way, we constantly try to recreate those years.
Sure, we have jobs now, we don’t have summer breaks or long Christmas vacations, and we pay bills and are starting to think about contributing to a 401k. What we have a little more of now that we didn’t have then, however, is money.
Now we not only can buy beer, we can buy the nice kind! We don’t have to settle for half priced appetizers, we can order off the main menu. We can travel somewhere and stay in our own room. We can buy that dress we want without having to ask our Mom. Life is a little better now guys, admit it, getting older and still being young is pretty great.
5. It makes us feel like we’re always chasing the green light across the lake.
Have we learned nothing from Gatsby? We can’t go back to the past. When we try we end up shot by our ex girlfriends husband and dead in the pool in our backyard only to be found by our adorable but very naïve and impressionable Paul Rudd- type neighbor. Whatever made us happy in the past has very little success of being recreated or making us happy in the present. And Adele, girl, you’re twenty- seven, a millionaire and doing what you love, it’s time to move on from the guy plaguing your songs and please stop making us cry.