The good old days…or the bad old days?

The good old days; we talk about them often, wish we could return to them frequently and they rarely sit in the past as something never to be thought of again. But are they really as wonderful as we sometimes make them out to be?

In the good old days people were nicer, crime was less, you could leave your doors unlocked. Once upon a time people were happier, there was no such thing as depression and jobs were easy to come by. A long time ago life was easier, people knew their place, children were disciplined and the world was safer.

Right?

I think a lot of people just be deluded, or perhaps they’ve only remember the good parts of their childhood/adulthood/earlier years.

People have always been a mixture of nice and not so nice.

Crime has always happened, I imagine the figures probably fluctuate, but the population has grown, so naturally there will be a higher number of crimes committed.

People left their doors unlocked? Well, I could probably leave my door unlocked. The majority of the time it would probably be okay, it’s just those rare occurrences when it wasn’t. Whilst we’re on that subject, doors were a lot easier to break back then, perhaps it was cheaper to let the thieves walk in than have to replace broken glass too?

It’s a myth that everyone was happier, that depression and other such ailments didn’t happen. They did. People just didn’t recognise feeling down as a medical condition, they all just felt a ‘bit sad’. Now we’re smarter about the concept of mental illness and for the better, if you ask me.

Jobs are a contentious issue for me. Maybe they were easier to come by, in some respect, but there was also less aspirations amongst some people. You had a set job whether you liked it or not. Young men often went to do apprenticeships in manual jobs and women stayed at home and looked after the children, or worked in offices. The world’s changed a lot since then, the way we apply for jobs has changed too, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Life was easier? Was it? Was it really? In the good old days we had two world wars. Were those years really that much better than 2013? I think we’re kidding ourselves if we believe that.

People knew their place…well, perhaps they did, but that doesn’t make that okay. The poor stayed poor, the rich stayed rich and nothing ever changed. Except that it did. Women fought for the right to vote, slavery ended, racism has been curtailed (to a large extent, even if it’s not perfect now, it’s a lot better) and homosexuality was made legal. People knew their place? That’s something they tell you when they want you to submit to prejudice and accept your lot in life.

Children were disciplined? Really? They might have been frightened into submission, but I’m not really sure that can be considered discipline. Sure, children and young people today have more freedom, they’re allowed to grow up and have a childhood and be free and independent. That wasn’t allowed in the good old days. A long time ago children worked and when that was banned, teenagers finished school at fourteen and went straight into a profession. I say a profession; I mean an apprenticeship or a job in a factory. Did they want to do that? Some of them might. But I can guarantee that some of them had aspirations of something more. My grandma was one of them, she wanted to further her education, but she wasn’t allowed.

The world was safer. Again, really? REALLY? My mum played in empty factory buildings, she was left in cars with a bottle of coke and a bag of crisps whilst her parents sat in the pub. This is the safer world some people think we lived in? That’s ridiculous.

The good old days, do I want to live there?

The good old days had its good points and its bad points. There’s no denying that it feels like a very different world to 2013. I’m not sure whether I want to live in the good old days, for many reasons:

1. Blogging about random stuff; back then, I wouldn’t be writing this. I might have kept a diary, but I doubt I’d have talked about such things as the good old days.

2. The internet; the downsides to our world wide web aside, it’s a bloody good invention which has revitalised the world.

3. Mental health; regardless of the advantages of living back in the day, I’d rather know that my mental health is cared for in an effective way, rather than passed off as just feeling a little sad.

4. Career choices; let’s face it, the career choices in the good old days were a lot less. My options right now would be limited. I may have a job, but I imagine I wouldn’t necessarily enjoy it.

5. Laws; there are many laws which back then were very different. Once upon a time it was illegal to be gay. I’d be in trouble. It was also legal for a man to rape his wife, what? Seriously? And we’re only going as back as far as 1991.

But the good old days wasn’t all bad, and there are some aspects of it which I would like to take:

1. Simplistic; the world was once a lot simpler. People didn’t have three million choices over jobs, partners, even toothpaste. There were certainly less snack foods and other such things, which made it a lot easier to know what you were eating. These days, it’s all just so complicated. I know I said I like the idea of having a career choice, and I do, but I also know how miserable it is having too many choices.

2. Health; the difficulty with this point is that it should really go in the section on why I don’t want to live in the old days. Health wasn’t always very good. We didn’t have as much of the modern medicine we have now. Except, we did have people working in very manual jobs. If you owned a farm then you would work on the farm. I imagine people were a lot physically healthy back then, as long as they didn’t catch any of the illnesses that we now rarely face.

3. Freedom; children had more freedom a long time ago. I had more freedom when I was a child. Nowadays we over complicate matters. We assume that a serial child rapist is living on our street and will kidnap our children if we dare let them play out on their own. I don’t believe the ‘threat’ is any more severe now than it ever was. The Moors Murders happened ‘in the good old days’, but did everyone run for the hills taking their children with them? No. So please, if anything of the good old days can be returned, make it this.

I think the good old days and modern days are very different places, we have aspects of each which aren’t very good and we have aspects of each which are so much better than the other time period. That’s life, unfortunately. There will always be the good and the bad. We can’t change that and we can’t go back to the ‘good old days’.

That’s not to say I don’t wish we could have some aspects of our history back…but the rest, the good old days can keep them!

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