Posts Tagged ‘ nostalgia ’

If I Could Save Time in a Capsule

The “Stop & Smell the Nostalgia” Series: Part III

For those of you who follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you’re probably aware that I’m currently obsessed with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Somehow, within the last month, I’ve reverted back to my 6-year-old ways and now I cannot get enough of those teenagers with attitude. But, last week, just before reaching the episodes where Tommy regains his powers—one of the most important events of 1994, as you might recall—I came across something that made me hit rewind multiple times.

Source: RangerWiki

During Episode 47, “Reign of the Jellyfish,” the Power Rangers are tasked with burying their class’ time capsule in the park. Rita Repulsa wreaks havoc before they can complete their mission, but the ensuing battle wasn’t what caught my attention. Instead, it was the conversation the five Rangers had at the end of the episode that truly hit home.

Jason: You know, I hope the people who open this time capsule in the future live in a peaceful and friendly world…

Kimberly: …with no hatred…

Billy: …no prejudice…

Trini: …no crime…

Zack: …and no wars.

Then, the following day, chaos broke loose in Charlottesville, VA, amplifying the message behind this episode even louder than before. While the Rangers dreamt of peace and harmony, reality unveiled a present unlike any future they could’ve ever imagined. Neo-Nazis and white supremacists flooded the streets, drowning our nation in the very hatred and prejudice the Rangers denounced nearly 24 years ago.

Unfortunately, the dissonance hasn’t relented. Racists have found validation in Donald Trump’s reluctance to condemn their actions, and protesters find their efforts infinitely more difficult now that the alt-right feels empowered. We’re on the brink of repeating history because those in charge clearly haven’t learned from the mistakes of decades past, and many feel disheartened by the overwhelming anger that permeates almost every facet of our daily lives.

But, when all hope seems lost, it’s the final exchange in this all too relevant episode that inspires optimism.

Kimberly: Think it’ll ever happen?

Jason: If we all do our part, and try to get along with each other, yeah, I do. We’ve just gotta hope for the best.

While this dream world might seem particularly distant to us right now, we have the power to change the future. It’s our love, not their hate, which will win out in the end, but we must not lose sight of this goal. Hatred can only win when there’s a vacuum—when all those fighting for what’s good and right have given up. If we insist upon holding these bigots accountable, including Trump, they will inevitably retreat.

Source: CNN

More than hoping for the best, we must also do our best. We must spread kindness and love wherever we go. If you find yourself in a position of privilege, then you must use your platform to speak for those who have no voice. As Jason said, we must do our part and try to get along with one another. There may be countless people who wish to return to a time defined by hate and cruelty, but we don’t have to look far to see that those who seek understanding and acceptance spread far and wide.

Grand gestures aside, anyone and everyone can make a difference no matter their situation. Simply holding the door for someone can go a long way in a world on edge. Smile at people who appear upset. Start conversations with people who aren’t exactly like you. Support those who feel invisible and unloved in today’s tumultuous world. Small acts add up quickly over time, especially when we all commit to becoming the best we can be. We might not be able to cut these enemies down to size with the wave of the Power Sword, but through kindness and community, we will ultimately eradicate evil every time it rears its ugly head.

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Read Part I and Part II of the “Stop & Smell the Nostalgia” series!

MTV Presses the Rewind Button, Brings ‘TRL’ Out of Retirement—but Why?

The “Stop & Smell the Nostalgia” Series: Part II

Source: ABC News

For television executives, future success seems to lie in the past. From sequel series, such as “Raven’s Home”, to reunion reboots, such as “Will & Grace”, many TV networks are turning to old favorites to attract new audiences. Yet, while nostalgia certainly seems to sell these days, MTV’s upcoming “Total Request Live” revival fails to take the passage of time into account.

When “TRL” began its initial run in 1998, life was much different than we’re used to now. YouTube was still about seven years away from its debut, internet connections were primarily of the dial-up variety, and cell phones were bulky, analog devices that belonged to businessmen and… well, Zack Morris. Texting wasn’t possible, but beepers were still popular, and killing time on the “World Wide Web” meant monopolizing your family’s landline. Without music television, video never would’ve killed the radio star.

By the time “TRL” called it quits in 2008, the world had transformed dramatically. Smartphones existed, even if they weren’t yet widespread, social media was on the rise, though it didn’t retain the same level of influence it does today, and nearly every video you could imagine was accessible on-demand thanks to Wi-Fi networks.

Now, nearly 10 years later, MTV’s already fighting an uphill battle before “TRL” even premieres.

First and foremost, the team must tackle the elephant in the studio: social media. For those of us who grew up during Carson Daly’s “TRL” days—the days before DVR and live-streaming—our idea of “sharing” was talking about the latest Britney Spears video the next morning before the first middle school bell rang.

Source: Scott Gries/ImageDirect

Today’s teens and tweens, however, will likely spend more time staring down at their smartphone screen than their TV. Perhaps that’s why the network plans to split hosting duties among five VJs during this go ’round—they need to satisfy this generation’s self-induced ADHD. How they’ll integrate social media remains to be seen, of course, but it’ll likely distract the viewers from the true premise of the show.

MTV will also have to pad the show’s latest incarnation with plenty of appearances and performances by today’s top artists if the network hopes to gain and retain the interest of these fickle viewers. Anyone can watch the hottest music videos of the day via YouTube now—a luxury unavailable to its original audience—so even the countdown alone won’t draw people in, no matter how interested they might be. Plus, anyone who’s ever watched “TRL” knows that they only play videos in their entirety when they premiere and when they retire, so if they stay true to the nature of the show, they’ll need to find a way to alleviate the subsequent disappointment.

While “TRL” was our reason to rush home back in the day, it doesn’t hold much allure for modern audiences, at least not in its original form.

MTV lost its way for years as executives focused on developing reality programming that disregarded the “M” in “music television” entirely—think “Jersey Shore” in all its spray tan glory—but the current leadership hopes to return the network to its lyrical roots. If executives can channel today’s young music lovers’ fascination with social interaction and use these behaviors to enhance the “TRL” experience, they might just attract the audience they seek.

As for us oldies? We will probably take the Carson Daly route and leave well enough alone. If you need us, we’ll be off in the corner relearning the dance moves to “Bye, Bye, Bye” for old times’ sake.

(This post originally appeared on Storia.)

To read Part I of the “Stop & Smell the Nostalgia” series, click here.

It All Started With Warm Noodles…

The “Stop & Smell the Nostalgia” Series: Part I

Smells can transport us to another time and place. We might not yet have time machines to alter our physical position, but our senses can trigger memories that elicit forgotten emotions, moving us in ways that transcend literal location. Musty buildings, for instance, will always remind me of my “haunted” college dorm, while old books take me back to the period when my mother and I read “The Amityville Horror” every night after dinner. Some smells, however, hit us unexpectedly, revealing memories we never knew we had.

For me, it all started with warm noodles.

My mother would often make elbows earlier in the day so we’d need only warm them over at lunch. On the day in question, when I removed the container from the microwave to test the temperature, the smell sent me reeling. Suddenly, I was back in my grandmother’s kitchen, doing homework after school while she cooked dinner over the hot stove. Elbows were her noodles of choice, so the faint smell of warm pasta was always in the air. It wasn’t until that moment, though, that I realized how closely intertwined those two seemingly disparate memories were.

 

Ever since, it’s as if I’ve been on an endless spiral back to my single-digit days—days when I’d listen to the radio on my Sony “My First Walkman” or ride my “Beauty & the Beast” bike in rapid circles around my grandfather’s basement. Even the quietest sound or the briefest sight will take me back to the days of stirrup pants and Dunkaroos.

But I guess I’m right in style, wouldn’t you agree? Nostalgia seems to be “in” right now, or so the impending “Will & Grace” reboot would have me believe.

Coincidentally, I’m exactly two months away from my 30th birthday, which seems like the perfect time to reminisce about my first few decades and reconnect with the moments and the memories that have made me who I am today. If you couldn’t tell by the introductory subhead of this post, let me confirm your suspicions—yes, this entry will serve as merely the first in a series of entries dedicated to “the past” and whatever that inevitably entails.

Don’t worry! I have no plans to fixate on myself explicitly. (I’m not going to make you read about my high school crush or the time I skinned my knee in kindergarten, if that’s what you’re thinking.) What’s ahead? Well, only I know, for sure. You’ll just have to keep checking back! Because I truly hope that you will take the time to “Stop & Smell the Nostalgia” along with me between now and October.

The Art of Crying Your Eyes Out

There is nothing more depressing than turning on the television at nearly one o’clock in the morning only to stumble upon the series finale of The Golden Girls.  As Rose (Betty White), Blanche (Rue McClanahan) and Sophia (Estelle Getty) stand there, hoping Dorothy (Bea Arthur) will pop in for just one more hug goodbye, you realize you don’t need to watch the whole episode, or series, to cry along with the cast.

By looking at the faces of everyone on screen, you will see their eyes say so much more than any dialogue could ever express.  The audience feels an overwhelming sadness because the end of a long-running program – a show with which they invested time, and often, emotion – looms near, while the actors cry not only because it’s what the script dictates, but also because a chapter in their life is drawing to a close.

And, with this being the season for graduations, we cannot help but look upon the current hour as one of melancholy and nostalgia.  While the majority embrace change and eventually accept it for what it is, memories flood in and only relieve themselves in the form of tears.  Even for someone like me, who graduated over a year ago now, the outpouring of sadness cluttering my Facebook News Feed in the form of photo albums and status updates is enough to make a girl misty-eyed for the good ol’ days, when my best friends were only a short walk away.  Life goes on, and the aftermath isn’t really as bad as one may imagine, but the idea that what once was will never be again creates a dark cloud that will only dissipate with time.

This week, the last Harry Potter film wraps up shooting.  The film franchise that launched the acting careers of its stars, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, will enter its final post-production phase, capping off its ten-year stint at the top of the box office with a two-part send off in the form of The Deathly Hallows.

Yet, while we as an audience are mourning the impending end of a series that has entertained millions over the past decade, for Radcliffe, Watson and Grint, this ending shall be bittersweet.  As if they are actual graduates of Hogwarts, the threesome will now be free to spread their wings and dapple in whatever they see fit.  And though this change may be liberating, it also holds that same melancholy severity that comes at the end of all things.  The cast has grown up before our very eyes, right along with many of us as we too matured alongside Harry, Hermione and Ron.  But as the overly used cliché does state, all good things must come to an end.

Perhaps this is why many of the world’s self-induced endings come at this time of year.  Have we strategically timed sad events with the beauty of the budding, nice weather as a way of buffering the inevitable?  Sure, our eyes may be clouded with tears for a moment as we say goodbye to television shows and the characters that became members of the family as they celebrate their series finale.  And it is safe to say that the tears will fall like rain on a mortarboard as caps are tossed toward the sky and we wave goodbye to the friends who became brothers and sisters.  But, once the cloud lifts, and we begin to see again, the beauty of the springtime and the world around us dries the tears and bombards us with a sense of life and vigor that proves to us endings truly are just a way to begin again, that everything has its season, and that all will come full circle no matter what the circumference.

Power Rangers and Pokémon

There must be something about the train that induces thinking, for every time I’m on one lately, I feel the need to write. (Having to waste time during the 20 minute delay helps, too.) Whenever one connecting train is late, there is a trickle down effect, delaying everyone else (even though most everyone is seated already.)

With an abundant amount of downtime, one has much time to think about whatever may pop into their head. (For instance, my immediate thoughts are on the annoying person behind me shaking my seat and the atrocious smell of the woman who chose to sit next to me.) But even more so, my thoughts keep landing on something that’s crossed my mind rather frequently the last week – my childhood.

Looking back at photos of me as a child, I see a much different person than I was used to seeing for the majority of my life. My three-year-old self was fearless and confident, wanting to sing and dance for anyone who would watch. The older me, the one that existed from about the start of middle school until the end of high school, was shy and independent, avoiding the limelight at all costs. Even the me I was merely a year ago is an entirely different person.

However, the more I reflect upon the changes made in just one year, the more I can see myself reverting back to my childlike characteristics. Where I was once too shy to express my potentially unpopular opinion, I now share my feelings, knowing it is better to be honest than to blend with the crowd. The me who used to think I wasn’t good enough – that there was always someone better – now believes my work is worthwhile and will lead to good things sooner or later. I’ve learned to embrace the individuality that once would’ve been looked down upon in the cookie-cutter world of teenagers.

We need to remember what life was like when we were children, when the biggest issue was who would get to play as the Pink and Green Power Rangers that day on the playground, or which starter Pokémon was better, Bulbasaur, Squirttle or Charmander. We need to reconnect with the younger version of ourselves who would run around confidently in the most mismatched outfits during a time when fashion wasn’t about status but about freedom of choice.

Children know how to wholeheartedly enjoy their increasing freedoms as they grow, but the fear that settles in as we age tugs at our confidence and willingness to take chances. But like a group of kids at the other end of the rope, we must tug back and reclaim the person we once were.

It is that person, and everyone you were in between, that trickles down into the personality you exude now – a personality that would have never existed if not for the others. Learn from who you’ve been, for delaying your own development will only hold others back from getting to know the real you.

Something Blue…

Melancholy and nostalgia: hence why it qualifies as ‘blue’.

No matter how wonderful or terrible a book may be, reaching the last page always brings with it a touch of sadness.  Like a fading relationship, or a turning point in one’s life, we are sad to see things come to an end.  Even if we are ready to start anew, leaving the past behind can bring a sense of melancholy to anyone.

But what we fail to realize is that, whether painful or heartwarming, we carry our memories with us forever.  Nothing ever truly ends as long as it lives on inside us.

It is hard to move forward when the grip of the past holds you in place, leaving you stagnant and depressed.  And with your head constantly over your shoulder, admiring what once was, you miss all the joy and wonder that lies ahead.  Of course, no one said it was easy.  There will be peaks and valleys in your climb ahead, but the view is what you make it.

We all have the power, no matter what the obstacle, to make our future the bright one our parents always told us about, even at the most difficult and trying times of our lives.  Sometimes the only way to achieve our dreams is to go to extremes; go out on a limb.  Maybe that limb will snap and you’ll come crashing back to the ground, only to have to climb back up again.  And maybe – just maybe – that branch won’t snap.  Maybe it will provide the support you need to reach your goals.

There’s a time to hold on, and there’s a time to let go.  There’s a time to fight for what you’ve got, and there’s a time to move on.  There’s a time to treasure what you had in the past, and there’s a time to look ahead to what the future may hold.

Like the lyrics from a Billy Joel song, “The good ol’ days weren’t always good, and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.”  So look ahead and enjoy what tomorrow has to bring, learn from the past and carry the fond memories with you on every journey you embark upon.  And even when challenges and hopelessness block your way, “keeping the faith” you have in yourself will surely pull you through.

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