The Good Old Days

 

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few weeks thinking and talking about “the good old days”, years gone by when everything seemed so much simpler, so much happier.  A mythic period in time that I’ve realized isn’t as static as it used to be.

My friend Chris is in the process of moving his family overseas, a military posting in Europe doubling the already large distance between us and leading to a number of phone calls that we both wish we’d been making all along. We’ve over thirty years of memories together but our “good old days” are the mid 1980s. Days of tree forts, Little League and all day bicycle rides. We listened to Def Leppard and Run DMC, watched Top Gun and played RBI baseball. I traded him my baseball cards for his comic books. We shoveled horse shit and hauled hay bales at our friend’s horse farm for Big League Chew money and loved every minute of it.

I was fortunate enough to be able to spend some time with my other friend Chris this past weekend, also living in another part of the country now but in town for a few days visiting family. It didn’t take more than a few beers before conversation turned to the early 1990’s. Nights spent driving around, looking for girls, Ozzy’s “No More Tears” album on regular rotation. We had our first loves, our first heartbreaks and our first tattoos but had yet to get our first clue about what life was really about. We bagged groceries and stocked shelves for beer and gas money but somehow still spent our weekends shoveling horse shit and hauling hay at our friend’s horse farm on weekends. We loved every minute of it.

 

no idea why I”m wearing a Michigan hat

 

My wife’s birthday was also this past week. I’m smart enough not to tell you how old she is, but we had a nice night out at a restaurant/bar that we hadn’t been to in quite a few years. Its far from our current home, closer to the house that I owned when we first met. She worked nights then, her mother watching the daughter I’d yet to meet, and often would choose to spend the night there instead of driving back to  her own home, a five minute drive as opposed to forty five. This was done purely to save on gasoline of course.

They were late nights. We’d tape Nip/Tuck and South Park on VHS tapes to watch after work or play pool in my basement until the sun came up. More often than not we’d just sit outside on a rickety picnic table, talking under the stars and playing Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban loud enough for the whole neighborhood to enjoy. We hadn’t met each other’s friends or family, co-workers had no idea that we were together. It was illusion, a shared fantasy that there was no outside world to bother us, but it was a moment in time over a decade ago that I sometimes miss and I know that she does too.

 

The Good Old Days
both a lifetime and a minute ago

 

It’s not just something that us adults feel. A few mornings ago my daughter asked if I could make her a chocolate milk and sit on the couch with her as I drank my coffee, like “we used to do.” When she’s overtired and emotional she tells me that she misses the days before school when we could play together all day long. Six years old and she already has her own version of “the good old days.”

It’s easy to understand how we fall into this trap, this romanticizing of the past. Memories can be malleable, molded into whatever we want them to be. Bits and pieces can be chosen, others tossed aside. The future is scary, unknowable. We tell ourselves to “stay in the moment” but that moment is slippery, a part of our past before we’re able to firmly grasp and appreciate it.

There’s a balance that needs to be found, one that isn’t always easy to find. An ability to look back and smile at where we’ve been, appreciate where we are, and look forward to what’s to come. In 1983 Billy Joel sang that “the good old days weren’t always good, tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.” I listen to these lyrics as I sit in my backyard, enjoying my home and loving all those that inhabit it. I’m drinking a Zima and remembering when this was my drink of choice, something that wouldn’t be smelt on my breath when I returned home, hopefully before curfew. Like most things nostalgic it’s nowhere near as good as I recalled it being.

I think about “the good old days” and am thankful that there are so many different times in my life that this term can now apply to. I hope that I’m blessed with many more.

 

cheers

 

 

41 thoughts on “The Good Old Days”

  1. Man, I loved those 3 guys in that picture up there!! We sure had a lot of fun during your grocery bagging days 😉
    I was fortunate enough to see Chris Friday night myself. Please wish Bailey my best friends f you speak with him again.

    1. We certainly did Karianne and I will pass that along to Chris. That picture was taken at the farm and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if you were there that night. I think Faith or Wanda actually took that pic

  2. My youngest is heading off to college in August, so I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic myself recently. But, even better, is listening to my daughter and son, now 21 and 18, talk about their childhood memories. Some I haven’t a clue or even remember (midlife brain). Turns out they had some good old days too! Awesome post…puts it all in perspective.

  3. Remember when we used to listen to our own parents talking about the good old days? When I was young, I didn’t think theirs were quite that good because they didn’t have the toys or technology that I had. I was wrong.

    1. I had a lot of GI Joes and a black and white television. I thought my music was a lot better than theirs, but in retrospect that wasn’t really the case

  4. So true… “memories are malleable.” On the good days, we’re fondly remembering how heroic we were, how hilarious. On the not-so-good days, we remember the hang overs, wrong-place-wrong-time moments we wish we could get back.

    Here’s to making a whole new series of good ‘ol days!

  5. Wonderful piece to read here, I think memories are the asset of one’s life. It always feels good whenever you are alone in life. Many thanks for sharing this article.

  6. Funny how we all long for “the good old days” no matter what our age is. But I have to admit, something about a 6-year old already having those longings really gets me in the heart.

  7. Having turned 40 last week I have been going through a lot of “the good ole days” memories. I was looking through old photo albums and listening to all the old music I used to listen to. I even made myself a playlist of every song I ever loved from Pat Benatar’s Hit me with your best shot, to Aerosmith’s Walk this way and Def Leppard Pour some sugar on me. I have plenty of Bon jovi songs and New Kids on the Block (I remember the boys hated those guys back then, lol). Then I started binge watching Friends which first aired when I was a junior in high school and watching Sixteen Candles and the Breakfast Club on repeat. Yeah, I’ve been spending way too much time with the good ole days:) #anythinggoes

    1. I listen to most of those songs anyway. Back when music was fun. The teenager has recently discovered ’80s movies, so we’ve had a lot of those on repeat here also. Happy birthday Michelle

  8. loved this for many reasons but mainly because my daughter also says “I liked it how it used to be when I was little” I’m both wracked with guilt and curious as to how she, who is so young can be so nostalgic. Loved this. A lesson I need to remind myself of constantly.
    #Anythinggoes

    1. I think having an older sister, my little gets nervous sometimes about the future. She knows that she is happier than her sister, but doesn’t understand why completely

  9. I often reminisce and think longingly back to the good old days of simplicity and irresponsibility and just mucking around with my mates without a care in the world. I’ve just had a birthday so those days seem to be stretching even further away from me, and I feel like they were only yesterday. Time is flying and sometimes it scares me, but you’re right, it’s good to think back but also think where we are, and be happy with what we’ve got. #AnythingGoes

    1. Its funny the things, like birthdays or a meeting up with an old friend that can lead us down these roads

  10. The good old days – when life was so much simpler and everything was fun. I wonder if we felt like that at the time or if our memories make it seem better now
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes 🙂
    Debbie

  11. Ah the good old days, it’s so nice to look back on with such fond memories. We often spend hours looking back on old photos of when we use to go out every night or have parties. Those days have long gone but still nice to look back on. #ablogginggoodtime

    1. as I was looking for an old picture for this post I fell down the photo album rabbit hole for much longer than I care to admit.

  12. What a brilliant statement:

    There’s a balance that needs to be found, one that isn’t always easy to find. An ability to look back and smile at where we’ve been, appreciate where we are, and look forward to what’s to come.

    Absolutely spot on! I am struggling to find that balance at the moment.

    Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉

  13. I like to think back my childhood with fond memories, they really were the good old days. Everything seemed so much simpler then, but then I guess that’s because we had no responsibilities and could live almost care free. Thanks for linking up to #ThatFridayLinky

    1. No responsibilities would certainly make things a bit less stressful. I tell our teen all the time that she is going to miss these days

  14. Ahhh the good old days!! 😀 I lived reading this post and it has triggered lots of memories of my own and I’m heading off to YouTube right now to find some “good old music!”

  15. Ahh I love this, the good old days – we all reminisce from time to time. I recently met up with my friends from high school and, over a few bottles of wine, we reminisced about our teens and our twenties, before life got tough and hearts got broken. Sometimes being a grown up isn’t all it cracked up to be. #thatfridaylinky

  16. What a wonderful post, Jeremy! I love this. It is amazing all these moments that weave together and make our histories. My good old days had me analyzing every Billy Joel word in every song, so you hit the high mark with this one for me. May you all have very many more! <3 #ablogginggoodtime

  17. Love this post, got me to thinking of my teenage years in the eighties omg! They were great times ade me nostalgic mate Thank you for linking to #ThatFridayLinky Please come back next week for

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.