Was The Past Really Better?

audrey hepburn breakfastHave you ever felt that the past was better than the present? I’m almost sad to make this confession, but “yes”: from past memories to music, films and fashion. However, I do wonder: “Was the past really better?” or “Am I romanticizing it?”

I believe this particular matter should be split in two parts. First, let’s about past memories. Were they really that good? In my opinion, it’s all about perspective. Who said we can’t change the past? Yes, we can and I’m not talking about “time-travelling” and trying to undo things. No. I’m talking about perception. The past itself sounds like a very distant concept, almost unreal. If perception is a choice, then we have in our hands the power to manipulate our memories however we want. I mean, why not? If I choose to look at my memories with rose-tinted glasses, then it’s my choice.

Now, let’s talk about music, films and fashion from the old days. Personally, I believe it’s all a matter of taste and context. Pop culture from those days was “cleaner” because it was filtered. However, a fabricated reality doesn’t need to have a negative connotation attached to it. If your current reality is somehow sad and dull… Wouldn’t you like to escape to a “prettier” world?

Take the example of Brian Wilson. Who is he? You might have heard about a little band called “The Beaches Boys”? Yup… Brian is the founder and the mastermind behind the band’s biggest hits. However, topping the charts with feel-good music wasn’t enough for him, therefore he decided branch out a bit. Brian wanted to write songs with a little bit more “substance”. Guess what? They didn’t do as well as the “happier” songs, something that did not surprised me at all. From a music consumer point of view I don’t need music that makes me sad, I need something that will help me escape from my current reality!

Let’s talk now about films, “Vertigo”. It’s an “old school” film directed by a man named Alfred Hitchcock. Some magazine even named it the “greatest film of all time”. Do I share the same opinion? I’m going to be honest, I was expecting more. “Greatest film of all time?” You better bring me something mind-blowing. Don’t get me wrong, it was enjoyable but it wasn’t the greatest cinematic experience I ever had. Just take a look at the clip below and you’ll understand what I mean:

Who talks like that? Who kisses like that? Who reacts like that? To be honest, it wouldn’t be fair to use today’s standards to judge the film or the actors, otherwise, the whole thing would just look stupid. Context is very important, in this case, what you’re seeing here is not bad acting. This was considered the “standard” back then, this was people acting “normal” back in the day.

Last but not least, the fashion. Great design stands the test of time. I’m not a big follower of fashion trends, but I do believe in classics. Remember Audrey’s classic black dress from “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”? If someone decides to wear the same outfit for a special occasion it would still look ultra-chic. Any piece of clothing designed by Coco Chanel during her living days, would still be wearable today. Jackie O’s oversized sunglasses are still a popular fashion statement. And the list goes on…

By the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where you get your inspiration from: past, present or even future. The goal is always to feel inspired and create happy memories. If everything fails, just take the negative episodes and manipulate them into something positive. A pair of rose-tinted glasses never hurt no one.