A few years ago my mother gifted all of her children with a flash drive of all our old family photos. Over the years I have had a bitter-sweet relationship with those photos. Sometimes I can look at them and it brings back forgotten happy memories, but more often than naught it brings back reminders of just how unhappy I was during a certain time and I was trying desperately to mask. Despite all of this I keep going back, keep looking at these images, and keep remembering. Why? Because I have a theory on why we love old things.
When you were a kid did you ever like something? Could have been a band, a movie, or maybe even a book…then one day you shared that like with a group of “friends” and they made fun of you for liking that thing. Has that ever happened to you? What happened after that happened? Did you go on liking that thing, but in secret? Did you put the movie, CD, or book into a box and hide it away in some dark closet? Did you stop wearing that band’s t-shirt? Did you stop playing D&D?
Maybe none of these things happened…Maybe you were just interested in a subject and wanted to learn more about it, but never did because it was perceived as unpopular or uncool to participate in such things. So you didn’t…right?
This kind of thing happened A LOT to a lot of kids. From the moment I turned 8 years old my father’s favorite quote, that he recited to me over and over was “When I was a child I thought as a child and acted as a child, but when I became a man I put away childish things.” So as I grew up I always felt guilty for liking certain things…bands, comics, POGs, cartoons, movies, etc…because I was constantly told either by family members or friends that I shouldn’t like those things. So even though I wanted to…I didn’t.
At some point in my mid 20’s, I actually convinced myself to throw away a large collection of movies, music, and comics that I had accumulated over the years because I thought it was time for me to be an adult and “put away childish things”. I hate that I ever felt that way about myself and my interests because I lost out on so many years that I could have enjoyed those things.
Why do we love old things? Because we were never allowed to enjoy them safely when we were younger, and now that we are older, we have come to understand that people’s opinions of us matter less, that our time is short here on earth, and we gave ourselves permission to like and participate in whatever we want without judgment from ourselves.
We can play D&D without having to find excuses for why we play D&D, and just enjoy the company of good friends and a good story game. We can read comics for no other reason than because we like the artwork and enjoy the plot. You can watch a cartoon or TV show without guilt because the characters make you feel comfortable and safe.
See the whole idea of “when I became a man I put away childish things” is wrong. I think The Doctor said it best when he said “There’s no point being grown-up if you can’t be childish sometimes..”
So go like what you like. If someone doesn’t like it ignore them. It is your life, not theirs. If they want to live their life without, let them! Just because they do it doesn’t mean you have to. So go out and enjoy all the things you were not able to enjoy when you were a child.