Mad Men had an episode on the very real advertising ploy of Nostalgia. Nostalgia has been a huge tactic since the 1950's and has been going fairly strong for decades. But it's begun to lose its shine. In fact, my alumni association has been pushing a nostalgia agenda to garner money for the college. It's failing. I'd like to talk about why.
In general, I'd say I'm not terribly nostalgic. That aside, however, I'd say that my generation is not generally nostalgic the way my parents' generation or the generation before them was. When I talk to people my own age, I usually find that they, like me, like new and novel things a bit more than previous generations seemed to, and that's part of why nostalgia doesn't have the magic touch on us. But more important is that I don't really think we've lived lives that prime us for nostalgic thoughts. Most of my peers seem to daydream in the future, instead of looking into the past. There isn't this wonderful golden age of idyllic childhood to revisit because... as a general rule, most of us didn't have that American-dream idyllic childhood.
My parents fully remember hopping on their bike and tearing around their neighborhoods all day in the 60s. They weren't terribly concerned about being kidnapped or killed. By the time I was a kid in the late 80s/early 90s though, there had been suspicious disappearances in my neighborhood that meant I had to check-in at home every hour or so if I was out playing, and we weren't allowed very far from the house even after we got our first ten-speed bicycles. I remember getting kidnap prevention training at school, and being warned of a 'candy seller' that was making rounds at elementary schools when I was in first grade. I certainly have fond childhood memories, but they aren't idyllic. They aren't tinged with a rosy glow. I, of course, remember sharing Popsicles with my sister, arguing over the flavor before breaking it n half and sharing it. but it doesn't exactly make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I vaguely remember getting ice cream from a truck a few times but again, no warm fuzzies. I remember being terribly over-excited over Otterpops. But when I found them at Costco I didn't buy a box.
How I feel about it is, that was then. That was my childhood. Moving right along.
Same for my teen years. I remember going and seeing some movies with my friends. I might feel nostalgia for a couple of my favorite places when I was that age, but I know if I went there now it wouldn't be the same. I'm not that person. My friends aren't those people. My friends and I tend to talk about the recent past -- the last year or so. I mostly wish I'd go on more adventures with them, not that I had gone on more adventures with them. There are things I wished I'd done, but I don't want to go back to that time in my life and revisit things. I really don't want to go back to college.
Let's see, college was expensive, like, cut-out-a-kidney, pull-your-money-out-your-nose, and consider-dealing-drugs-to-pay-the-bills expensive. And this was a podunk local college. Somehow I just didn't develop fond memories of going to bed genuinely hungry. My sister once said I'd look back on my crappy college apartment (it was seismically unsafe and shifted around in a town that was built on a basalt bedrock, far, far, far away from any faults..... uh... really now) with misty eyes. Nope, don't miss freezing all winter at all. I also don't miss cooking all summer. I miss tutoring. It was fun to teach people something I genuinely enjoyed, but I don't miss my other crappy college jobs that I took to make ends meet. It's just something I did to get from here to there. I don't miss the 'rush' of the games though I enjoyed it at the time. I don't miss college at all. I know that if I went to visit, it wouldn't be, as they promise, just like it was then. And even if that was true, I wouldn't want to go back to college. Why would I? It was s struggle, a hassle. The best years of my life are yet to come.
Of course, I doubt a college could figure out a way to extort money from alumni with that tagline.
But they might try, because nostalgia is just not cutting it.