My work life has gotten interesting lately, so I've taken to looking up the videos of 80s and 90s songs on YouTube as a sort of comfort. I looked up Phil Collins's "You Can't Hurry Love" one evening and saw the video below. I was immediately transported back to 1990--my friend Goldie had stayed over for a night at my house. We were supposed to be studying for the Biology Achievement test, but instead we spent the whole night dancing to Phil Collins Greatest Hits.
It was a happy memory (if a bit embarrassing to admit) but here's the thing. Watching old videos by Phil Collins or Billy Joel or Bananara or Michael Jackson does not make me wish it was 199X again--not one little bit--not even 1998 (the year I lived in Paris after college.)
Why? Because I was miserable for most of that time. I went to a specialized high school and a good college, so I was probably less miserable than I could have been, but I spent an awful lot of my young-adulthood being miserable. Some of this was due to depression, some of it I suspect is that it sucks being an adolescent. It also--in my experience--sucks being a recent college grad. Of course, that's my experience only. Judging by the younger folks where I work, it doesn't suck so much if you majored in Business.
Do other people forget the misery of adolescence on purpose? Does high school appeal as a better simpler world, because the pains of having that guy/girl not like you, or passing Math pale compared to the drudgery of work/chores/bill-paying?
I don't know. All I can think is that when anyone near me says "Man I wish I was 21 again." I think of crying about my eviction notice written in Latin.
Perhaps I'm oversimplifying--perhaps it high school and college look especially bad because I've viewing them through the lens of my miserable 20s. I spent some time thinking about this today ( I wrote a sloppy draft of this last night.)
On one hand, I'm not sure. I'm pretty sure I had my first bout of adult depression the summer before my senior year of high school That blew normal adolescent anxieties (Math, Drafting, will I ever be asked out by someone I like? Why did I decide to cut my own bangs? etc.) out of the water. That doesn't mean they were all fun.