Can’t go back to the good old days

Can’t go back to the good old days

SJ is part of a local writers group in Senoia that meets the third Saturday of every month at 10 a.m. at the Senoia Library. You can also follow more of her writing at creativejuices-sjcox.tumblr.com.

Have you ever had such a bad day that you find yourself reminiscing about “The Good Old Days”? What exactly does that mean? For most people it is usually looking back on happier times in their lives, either reliving exciting adventures from your youth or rethinking and strategizing missed opportunities in the hopes of recapturing them. Usually it is a way for all of us to escape the horrors of our current life’s situations.
Recently, during my surgical recovery I had the opportunity to watch a lot of movies. I had nothing better to do and for a while I got on a Brat Pack streak. I was watching everything from 16 Candles to St. Elmo’s Fire. All good 80s movies with a moral center and good message I must say. Of all of them though, St. Elmo’s Fire really spoke to me.
For those of you who have never seen it, or it has been a really long while since last viewing it, let me rehash for you. It’s about seven young people who graduate from Georgetown University and are then tossed out into the world to make their way. We see the struggles they face as they are introduced into the world for the first time as full grown adults. Some suffer from career struggles, others from over extending their credit, to finally one particular character by the name of Billy who isn’t ready to face the real world at all.
Billy, played by Rob Lowe, is a musician. As an artist he finds it harder than most to adjust to being a responsible adult with a steady 9-5 job. His creativity and wild streak just don’t fit in to that type of world. He struggles to keep meaningless job after job and provide for a family, all the while still being the free spirit that he is. Wishing desperately that he could go back to college and relive “the good old days,” he finds that those days have passed, and he must make his way in the world whether he wants to or not.
I find I relate very well to this character. I was a late bloomer in high school and one of the youngest in my class. When I got to college I found myself blossoming into a whole new person. My newfound freedom gave me the strength to spread my wings and be a little wild. I joined a sorority. I traveled and eventually finished my college days in the south rather than close to home in Maine. While studying theatre in school was a safe bet and a blast, I didn’t realize until I graduated just how hard life was going to be. I was the official “starving artist,” living paycheck to paycheck, which was barely enough to get by on.
Though I seemed to do well at my work, it has been a constant struggle. When I am working, I am always looking for the next gig I can get. When I’m not working I have tried supplementing my income by getting a “real” job in the 9-5 sector. That has never made me very happy. I always felt like it stifled my creative spirit. Many a day over the last 20 years I have found myself looking back on my carefree college days, wishing I could go back there, if only for a little while. As hard as I wish I could recapture those days, its true what they say, “You can’t go back to the good old days.”
Knowing this, I think fondly of those days and the wild person I used to be and just continue forward. I can still be a free spirit, I just have to find the ways to supplement my income in a more rational way and be a free spirit on the side that’s all.