I long for a past I didn’t live.

I was watching some old adverts from the 1950s, and as the scratchy music saturated the room around me, my retina display screen flickering with the erratic film of times of yore, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of deep sadness and great nostalgia.

I felt as though I belonged somewhere, and left it a long time ago, and these jingles reminded me of a time I was a part of, and yet missed.

It was so strange.

You see, I was born in 1994, the turn of the century. I would say I am a millennial, if even that, right on the cusp of one generation and teetering on the edge of the next.

I grew up with dial-up internet connection, satellite TV and the iPhone revolution. Of course, we didn’t have any of these things, because my parents had old fashioned notions about technology. My mum still thinks she doesn’t need a mobile phone, and laments days of yore when she could do what she wanted without somebody being able to get a hold of her whenever they wanted. It works swell for me, I am an anxious person and I need to check on my mother’s safety, much to her vast irritation!

Of course, there were aspects of my life that were still very reminiscent of times of yore. My grandmother’s kitchen was time capsule, not changed since 1971, and her habits and ways were very much what she had been brought up with in the 40s and 50s. Can you believe she was born in 1935? Before the second world war? My own Nana? The thought fills me with wonder. My mother was a70s – 80s teenager, and the pop songs of the time were what she sang when in a good mood. Songs I never heard but knew off my heart, so when I did hear them I was pleasantly surprised and suddenly sad.

‘Video killed the radio star, video killed the radio star’ over and over when she fried eggs or mopped the kitchen floor. I heard this song throughout my life from her own mouth, and then last month when I was watching Take This Waltz (directed by Sarah Polley) – the song played in one of the scenes, and I had to pause it, sitting up in shock. Hey, this is an actual real song!

When I was in a museum once, a song from 1904 played over and over again, scratchy and faint, and I stopped and stared at a wall for five minutes because I felt as though a rope had suddenly jerked me back through the curtain of time, and I was in a place I had never been, but ached for. I wanted to stay there forever, but at the same time I wanted to run far, far away.

I ache when I watch those old adverts. It’s so strange. What is this phenomenon?

When I scrolled down to see the comments under the video, I noticed quite a lot of other people felt nostalgia for this time too, despite never existing then and never experiencing it.

My husband scoffs at me, he has no time for the old, he is always looking ahead at what is new and innovative and what the future will be. But I seem to be a sad little ghost peering in through cloudy windows at years gone by, straining my ears to hear the voices of decades past. I want them so badly. I don’t know why, or what I want, but I want those sounds, that scratchy record player, those brown shoes, the clatter of forks, the dull brown wallpaper, the 1960 Cadillac, the haze of cigarette smoke, the jingles, the streets, all of it.

My logical mind tells me that this, here, now, 2017, is my time, just like 1962 was their time, and forty years later this will be vintage nostalgia; but I do not see it like that.

And I know I am not the only one who feels this way.

Its the strangest thing, because I am certain I would not particularly like life back in the 1950s. Men were incredibly sexist and women did not have many chances in the world, life was more difficult, and the economy was trying to recover from the Great Depression.

However, I know there were good parts too, else the elders wouldn’t want to talk so much about it.

What do you think? Do you ever feel nostalgia for a time you never lived?

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Here is a train of thought.

Today I discovered that I was a ‘Millennial”.

I have heard of these cohort categories. My eyes skimmed over them in articles and books, previously, but I had never understood what they meant.

Baby boomers, Generation X, Millennials, Generation Z.

What are these categories? Why am I in a category I know nothing about? I don’t particularly want to be put in a division. Why am I, and other people born in the era I was born in, defined by a set of observations?

I decided to do some research.

I found out that I have only just scraped the ‘Millennial’ category by a nose hair. If I had been born nine months later, I would have been a member of ‘Generation Z’, a generation people still don’t know much about as they are only just coming of age.

What are they like? Who knows. How have they been socialised? Some people have theories, but they won’t know for sure until those kids start becoming proper members of society and contributing more. It is thought that the members of this cohort will be more technically savvy than their Millennial forerunners, who, like me, grew up using dial up connection and still have VHS when they were very little. They will be highly diverse, and highly sophisticated.

I discovered some interesting things about Baby Boomers, and Generation X, the category my parents fall into.

I still don’t know why we are categorised like this, but it is interesting from a social perspective, seeing in words how the trends and politics of our eras have an effect on us as a  whole generation, that each generation will have something similar the unites them. It’s interesting because parents are always saying things like ‘when I was your age’, even though we are in a society that is extremely different.

For example, my mum had black and white telly, there was no ‘satellite’ (cable TV) and certainly no internet and computers. She didn’t get a mobile phone until she was forty. Social gatherings for her were very different from social gatherings for us. Now kids aged two know how to swipe phones and access the apps they enjoy. My seventy year old neighbour is putting off using her new smartphone (which she bought in defiance of her daughter who told her to get a simple keypad phone.. “I’m going to show her I can use these new phones!”) because she keeps touching the wrong things on the screen and it makes her frustrated. Three generations right there, of course they are going to speak different ‘lingo’ and have different lifestyles.

People are not only socialised by their families. They are very much shaped by their societies.

We are now in a society which is progressing technologically at an alarming rate. I can give you a small example using my iPhone 4s, which is no longer compatible with the new wifi router my mother has had installed in her house. My phone’s wifi connection cannot connect with the new wifi technology, even though my iPhone was released only 2.5 years ago. You see?! It’s crazy. What impact does this have on us now, and what impact will it have on our future children, born into this technology? I wasn’t born into the technology. When I was born, the internet was only just starting to tick its gears. Now it is zooming full steam, and it’s not one of those chuggy trains, it’s a sleek silver snake going at 200 miles an hour.

I don’t quite know exactly what my point is here. This was a bit of a ramble.

Which generation do you come from?

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