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Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Regarding Nostalgia

Most people who truly know me, know that there is not a nostalgic atom in my being. Not even an atomic particle. I can look back to my past fondly, enjoy certain moments, remember lessons, however, I never, ever look back and wish for those days again. In short, I'm not a Glory Days kinda gal.

I think it comes from living a life with very few regrets. I came to a point in my life where I accepted me for who I am and realized that everything I've experienced had led me to that exact moment, so going back and changing anything would change me, who I am, the person that I love. Because, yes, I love myself first. All of the rest of my love flows from that self-love.

Now, in the small town where I live, they have spent the last 20 years fixing up downtown and the area around our beautiful river. I can honestly say, that area is my favorite part of "downtown". I love that they have taken old warehouses and manufacturing buildings and are re-purposing them for housing in that hipster, yuppie fashion that has most snowflakes crying in their granola about "gentrification". They obviously never saw our town before this started. Trust me, the gentrification is beauty to the eye and a boon to our dying downtown area. We now have new restaurants, a food truck area, and a nightlife that was never what it should have been for our young people, even the college students who were mostly tourists anyway. I have come to like our town more than ever. (I still despise the weather here, so first chance I get I'm outta here, regardless of new restaurants.)

This whole "woe is gentrification" is nothing more than base tribalism and a baby sucking its thumb because something new startled them. Get your thumb out of your mouth, baby, and smell the aroma of true progress. BTW, just in case, progress doesn't mean moving backward. You want to go back to the tribe, the teepee, the cave? You go right on ahead, but remember, no plumbing and no internet. I'll see you in two days, OK?

Gentrification is progress. It takes a building that may have otherwise been torn down and makes it usable by many others and revitalizes a community that would have otherwise broken apart because of flight to better neighborhoods. I saw it where my daughter lived in Houston, on the edge of a barrio. I kid you not, it was like a freakin' colonia right across the street from her first apartment, over off of Canal. Developers were coming in and buying up all of the warehouses, all of the closed and abandoned manufacturing plants and were building loft apartments, high rise apartments and bringing the young back to downtown in Houston, making it a whole lot more fun that it was when I was young and living in Houston and all of the decent places to eat and dance were in the suburbs.

Why do these snowflakes sit around wringing their hands and crying all nostalgic for something they don't even know? I highly suspect their college instructors. For people who can barely tolerate the present, they wish for a past they never knew themselves. Otherwise how else can you explain Black Studies professors preaching segregation? I wait daily for MLK to crawl out of his crypt and start slapping people.

My birthday is tomorrow. I don't sit around all nostalgic for all the years past, wishing I was 25 again. Good Lord! Why would I want that? I love who I have become, and I love the promise of what I can become. I have no wish to stagnate or wish for something that will never be. I look to the future the same way I always have, eager for the promise of each new day. I want to see the secrets we only glimpse now.  I can't wait to see what we all become.

1 comment:

Dave said...

I hear what you're saying and I agree with the premise of your argument. However, I disagree with the point that nostalgia is living with regret. Like you, I do not regret the things in my life that have made me who I am. I do not regret most anything except those times where I hurt those I care about.
But I do wax nostalgic about the Houston I grew up in and miss those things that are gone (Astroworld, the Humble six theaters) that meant a lot to the young Dave who would become the old Dave with no regrets.
I also have no problem with "gentrification" or re-purposing old (read Historic) buildings that have no other purpose than to breed pestilence or be a shelter for drug operations. I hear people throw around the label "appropriating culture" a lot by saying that this is the whitening of the bario or some such nonsense. I'm teaching myself to turn a deaf ear to those snowflakes. The only problem is that it's quickly getting to the point where I can't hear anything anymore.