Thoroughly contemporary Claire

Claire Kelloway, A&E Editor

Surrounded by old posters and dressed in neon Queen T-shirts, the freshman me wanted to live in an earlier time. At a certain point I think we’ve all wished this, whether it’s the 70s when our favorite artists were alive, or the Middle Ages where our nearly translucent skin was actually a sign of beauty.

People love the past. And with modern issues like energy crises and exponential technology growth boding the destruction of the planet and human interaction, it’s easy to understand the draw to dream. But as someone who still enjoys old music and vintage clothes, I’m here to say that we can appreciate the old without idealizing it. In fact, we shouldn’t dwell too much on what was, because there is a lot right here that deserves some love.

This revelation came in two phases, each sparked by works of art. The first was the film Midnight in Paris. Nominated for Best Picture, this Woody Allen chronicles the tale of a nostalgia-stricken writer who travels to the 1920s every eve to bask in the talent of his expatriate idols. But even his heroes like Fitzgerald reject their present, revealing that no era will be appreciated if everyone glorifies the previous. The second was a lesser-known article from my treasured Reader’s Digest. It provides 17 reasons why the twenty-tens are a great time to be alive. The article brings up points on how poverty has been reduced more in the past 50 years than the previous 500, and that urban living is actually better for the environment. It is the type of thing we don’t hear often enough in the news: things aren’t actually as bad as we think. Until that point I had rejected the social network-obsessed, gas-guzzling, mass-producing world of today. However, seeing that endless nostalgia cycle in Midnight in Paris and reading all that optimism made me understand how foolish that denunciation was. We can’t go back to the past (yet) so we may as well have pride in this wonderful present.

Also, as graduating seniors, we may be tempted to look back on how much we will miss high school, and all those baby pictures at grad parties may make us long for simpler times, but this is no way to be. Yeah, having to do your own laundry might seem daunting now, but the chance to grow up is a once in a lifetime opportunity. To be hackneyed, we shouldn’t cry because it’s over, but smile because it happened. Find a balance between belonging to another generation and living your one wild and precious life.