Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ancient History

Growing up and hearing older generations tell stories of their childhood and adulthood, it seemed like they experienced some of the most unimaginable changes. The things that older people experienced in their lifetime (Wars, The Depression, advances in technology) seemed like myths, as if these things only happened because the people and the world were "older" back then. I didn't think that much could possibly occur in my own life because we had already come so far...how much more could happen in such a relatively short amount of time?

Maybe because I've reached my quarter-life crisis, or because the world now seems to be teetering on the brink of big change or collapse, I suddenly understand how easy it is for change (and a lot of it) to occur in one's lifetime. I'm only in my mid-twenties and can already think of several things I did/saw that my own children will not: they may never be served a free meal on an airplane in coach; they won't shop at Linen's 'n' Things, Mervyns or countless other stores I did; they will never drive (maybe even see) a Pontiac, one of the first cars I started driving; they won't know life without caller ID (when I used to have to screen calls by lying...I told my parents to tell people I was in the shower all the time); they won't be able to drive directly over the Hoover Dam like I did on my way to California; they won't place metal coat hangers on top of their TV to get a clearer picture; and they will just know that women and people of color can run for and become President.

Already, I have experienced war, a recession, technology I can't even follow anymore.  My grandchildren will read about the world I grew up in, and these moments I am living will become their flash cards for history class. It's hard to fully understand a time before our own lives because learning it is not the same thing as living it. I want to remember all these moments as best I can because they are most alive when they are happening, and they flicker in our memories for some time after until the last person who lived that moment passes on and it's no longer documented in a living mind but exists only in the library archives.

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