Getting Old and Escapism via Nostalgia

I turned 38 this week and I think I’m finally starting to feel old(er) [kinda] {I think}.

I mean, how does one measure “feeling old?” I guess the most obvious metric is how you feel physically, right? They say that as you get older things start to hurt more, you get more muscle pains, joint problems, stuff like that.

I certainly have those problems. But I had a broken leg when I was two that made me walk all fucked up. I’ve had scoliosis. Now I have fibromyalgia. I got issues that make me feel like shit sometimes, I don’t think many of them have to do with me getting older. I find I can’t drink like I used to, but that probably has just as much to do with the fact that I don’t try to drink like I used to anymore – which is probably a good thing.

And then there’s the idea that you’re old when you start getting out of touch with pop culture, but I don’t think that’s really a relevant metric these days. Pop culture has become so fractured and splintered in the past 15 years or so, who the hell is in touch with pop culture? I mean, because I listen to obscure Japanese electronic music instead of the latest pop or rock hits and watch old Hammer films instead of the newest Hollywood release, does that make me old? Again, I’ve been doing shit like that most of my life.

I think the thing that makes me feel old is my relationship to the past, what I’ve forgotten and what I hold onto. I can’t remember shit about high school anymore; only a handful of teachers and friends dot my memory. The me of 1996 is unrecognizable. I couldn’t tell you the names of most of my high school friends, or even the name of my first high school crush (remember his tight jeans though, damn). I can’t remember what my daily thought process was like, what my goals were, what I thought was important and what I looked forward to. It’s all a hazy blur. I feel that’s something that makes me old, the fact that I’ve lost touch with what it was like to be young.

But my relationship with nostalgia, my feelings about the past and how it relates to the present day, I feel that’s an even bigger indication that I’m getting up there. I find myself yearning for “the good old days” of the mid-90s, despite the fact that I can’t even remember them. And despite the fact that what I do remember of them not being all that great. You know what sucked? Being a closeted fat nerd in Toledo, Ohio. I may not remember details about those days, but boy I sure to recall that they sucked a bunch.

Still and yet, the urge to slip on those rose-colored glasses is greater than its ever been. I binged on Stranger Things largely because it gave me the warm fuzzy feelings about the 80s; I find myself revisiting second-rate scrunge just to reconnect with the me I’ve forgotten (and the fashion I could never fit in); shit, I even found myself waxing nostalgic after watching the first XXX with Vin Diesel and lametning “damn they don’t make them like that anymore.”

My Tumblr (oh god I just got a Tumblr, than’s Twitter ban) is a mauve vomitorium of retro aesthetic. Day-glo and neon gifs that showcase a past that never happened, the 80s of my dreams. A place I think I long to be.

Again though, I don’t know if this is me getting older or me being a sane and somewhat rational human being working to cope with a mad world that seems to be catapulting itself ever closer to destruction. You notice how things suck? They really suck, don’t they? Yeah, and don’t tell how they’ve been worse in the past. One: no shit and two: not in the way things such now. Things cascade, devolve and explode and an ever-increasing rate. The wonders of the internet have long-stopped worked to bring us together, now they’re doing their best to tear us apart, dividing families and friends like a million awkward Thanksgiving dinners and high school reunions all happening at once.

I’m not saying things won’t get better…I’m just…no never mind, that’s exactly what I’m saying.

You know what, fuck it. I’m not old. I’m older and probably only a smidgen wiser, but I’m not old. I’m just a man trying my best to survive whilst not losing his sanity in a frighteningly insane world. I wake up and I see a world that defends Nazis. I see a world that denies climate change. I see world the celebrates white supremacy and destroys anyone who dares to claim otherwise. And I’m not good at handling it. So I’m going to retreat into my retro-obsessed mental hideaway, watching forgettable 80s movies, listen to music from the 90s and hope that it all gets better while I wait it out. I’m too young to not care, but too old to do something about it myself. Sorry.



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