It’s All About That Time in Someone’s Life

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I’m guessing a lot of us has encountered people of older generations saying “back in my days, things were bla bla bla”. Whether it’s in a conversation we have with older family members or on social media posts, it’s probably a thing our generation encounters. Whichever generation you are, this most likely applies to you. Older generations might grind your gears, making you think that they’re glorifying days that have gone by where they are at their prime. The thing is, you are also probably guilty of doing the same thing. “Oh, songs of this year are better than what we have today”, “this year was the golden age for movies”, “that style is so outdated” are the sort of sentences you’ve said and have heard said to you. With newer generations coming into the conversation of anything and everything all of the time, you probably have compared their experience of the world with yours when you’re at their age. . You probably thought that younger generations’ ideas are stupid and they don’t know how the world works.

You probably don’t realize that all this generation game is always facilitated by social media, pop culture, and trends in general. Even if you do, you probably proceed to participate anyway. When it comes to fashion, trends are always cyclical. Everything that was in style a few decades ago would always come back and finds its way into our wardrobe and shopping bags. Things like high-rise jeans that were popular in the 70s, bright neon colors of the 80s, or bucket hats of the 90s, all have found their way back to our outfits these days. Music has also had its portion of cyclical trends, though not as clear-cut as the trends of fashion. When you hear Silk Sonic’s “Leave The Door Open”, it reeks of the 80s style of smooth R&B, or Olivia Rodrigo’s “good 4 u” that’s very reminiscent of Paramore, especially “Misery Business”. The cyclical trends of music are usually, I think, impacted by the influence of the artist itself when writing certain songs. In music, however, nostalgia isn’t just achieved by certain songs sounding like certain eras, as things like covers would definitely do the trick. The one big drive of nostalgia in music is undoubtedly TikTok. I don’t use TikTok and I don’t have an account, but I’ll admit that I watch certain types in the Explore section of Instagram (which has now developed to have its own thing which is Reels). TikTok with all its songs and sounds is bringing back songs from eras of gone by or even “forgotten” and “underrated” songs from just a few years back. People, especially younger generations, now can recognize Paul Anka (although through one song) or make new discoveries about music in the 70s or 80s.

It seems like everybody is in a constant battle of claiming that certain times in their lives are better or worse and other people wouldn't understand the joys and pains of those eras. This condition makes the phrase “let people enjoy things” seem like a big load of crap, I think. The generation game becomes a way of preserving certain aspects of our lives, whether it was a blessing or a curse, a good lesson or a bad one. All this, whether you like it or not, to the human being’s tendency to actually love the idea of nostalgia. Humanity just can’t seem to actually move on from certain things and concepts in their lives. The fact that we weaponized social media and make it our battleground is just our way of making sure that: a) we find people sharing the same nostalgia with us and make them our friends, and b) we actively bash on other people’s nostalgia because we think their nostalgia is silly and irrelevant. I mean sure, the latter works if you encounter a boomer who thinks that we should all be grateful because we didn’t have to walk a billion miles to school and we didn’t live in war times, but all around the world there are children still living in fear, making that argument totally crap. The former only works in a “contained” situation where no one suddenly comes in and bashes your nostalgia, because then the fights start all over again.

Nostalgia, cyclical trends, and the past, in general, are things to enjoy and, more importantly, learn from. There is no need to push the agenda that certain times are better than others. If certain nostalgia becomes a drive for you, then carry on with it. If people’s nostalgia doesn’t suit you, it doesn't mean that their nostalgia is wrong. Just don’t ever forget that nostalgia is a big marketing drive as well. At the end of the day, you and your generation are only as relevant as you think you might be.

Thank you for reading, trust no one, and see you in the next post.



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Patrick Aditya Sitanggang

Patrick Aditya Sitanggang

Bachelor's degree in International Relations from Universitas Indonesia. Football. Cars. Pop culture. Current affairs. Personal rants. Random thoughts.