Nostalgia for the Inglamorous
There’s a certain kind of nostalgia that we have for the shitty times we lived through… whether it’s bad relationships, bad living situations, bad jobs, it happens all the time. Just talk to anyone who’s been in the military. “Ah, remember that time we were in that ditch pissing ourselves thinking we were gonna die? yeah those were the days, man… they were REAL.” Okay, I admit, I’ve never heard anyone say that, but they say it in the movies. And it always makes me think “wtf is wrong with you?”
But I get that nostalgia too. And I can’t wait to have it about where I am now.
It’s a bit crowded in the current place I’m living. Like… overflowing crowded.
It’s easy to get frustrated (especially when I come back with groceries and am trying to fit them in the fridge or when I need to use the restroom or use the stove), and there’s little sense of privacy. But the things that are bad now…
…really don’t compare to the places I’ve been.
I’ve lived in places with poisonous bugs crawling under our doors at night, with spider bites that turned into fungal infections, shaking cockroaches off of pots and pans, getting my food devoured by crackheads and zombie girlfriends in the middle of the night… and for all those places I have a bit of that weird past-tense-masochistic nostalgia. I’m not sure what it’s a mix of. “I survived that shit” mixed with “hey it could be worse” and some sort of weird bragging rights. They make good stories.
And right now, a budding entrepeneur (or bootstrapper, Seth Godin’s term which I rather like, as it sounds more appropriately flying-by-seat-of-pants-ish), with only meager paychecks from a part-time job, there’s nothing glamorous about my living conditions. Maybe Gates and Zuckerberg get inglamorous nostalgia for “those days when we were surviving off of pizza and making shit up as we went along”… but then again, though I’ve heard the media talk about that nostalgia in an odd vicarious way, I’ve never heard of any interviews with them about that period of their lives. Maybe they can still remember how unnerving it was (is), to not know if they were (I am) going to succeed or fail, how terrifying and thrilling and crazy it all feels. I’m betting everything I have on the belief that if I bust my butt hard enough on this project I’m passionate about, I’ll somehow come out the other end alive and financially sound.
There’s nothing safe about it. But maybe that’s why we do it. We know it’ll make one hell of an inglamorous nostalgia story on down the line.