At this point in the year, many of us have already given up on our flimsy resolutions to lose weight or finally finish writing the Great Canadian Novel (although I might be projecting a little bit).
However, there is one New Year’s resolution that I, and every other Millennial, should strive to achieve in 2016—to ditch our obsession with nostalgia.
Of course, a generation longing for an idealized past is nothing new. However, this kind of experience should be of concern as our generation has unprecedented access to information and file sharing via the Internet.
Thanks to this new digital age, bingeing on your favourite old TV show or getting your hands on a long lost toy is as easy as buttering your toast. However, some people take these new capabilities a little too far.
These days, my social media feed is clogged with obnoxiously nostalgic hashtags like #tbt, and #fbf, as well as BuzzFeed quizzes about classic Nickelodeon cartoons. I love these throwbacks as much as the next ‘90s kid, but the volume of these posts is unbelievable.
And this kind of social media activity hasn’t gone unnoticed either.
Every year it seems like more and more corporations are using this metadata as a launching pad to sell us the same cheap crap with a different paint job. In 2015 alone, companies like Pepsi, Coca-Cola, McDonalds, and KFC all resurrected dead mascots and old brands in the hope of making a quick buck. Sports teams are also guilty of this when they release classic or vintage jerseys of their teams.
This creatively bankrupt money making scheme even extends to our entertainment properties. Increasingly, movie studios only put serious capital behind a project if it has a distinct nostalgic edge to it.
And why shouldn’t they? The two big movies that the most people went to see this year were Star Wars: the Force Awakens and Jurassic World, both being derivative retreads of previously existing properties. Hell, even Netflix, one of the best modern curators of original TV programming, is capitalizing on people’s blind nostalgia goggles by airing a sequel series to the abysmal ‘90s sitcom Full House in February.
Millennials love to make fun of Baby Boomers for their pedantic “back in my day” rhetoric. But how long before this becomes our mantra as well? How long before we start putting a halt to societal progress and artistic innovation in the name of clinging to an idealized version of the past? After all, many of us have already committed a lot of our disposable income to this ideal, so who’s to say this won’t evolve over time?
At the end of the day, it must be said that indulging in nostalgia can be enjoyable or beneficial to your health—in moderation. In fact, many physicians have found that sharing memories of the past can help counteract anxiety and foster a stronger bond with friends and family.
Just don’t forget to take off the rose-tinted glasses every once in a while to make sure that your current life is in order, and that you aren’t being taken advantage of by shady corporate schemes.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to purchase a wicked Johnny Bravo themed laptop decal that I found on Etsy.