As I scrolled through YouTube in one last attempt to productively procrastinate my homework due the next day, I came across a tune that reminded me of my childhood. According to the comments section underneath the “Upside Down” music video, individuals who were born between 1998 and 2003 must keep the song alive. The iconic melody is known for its ties to “Curious George,’’ and currently, for representing a rapidly aging group of young adults desperate to hold onto their last moments of youth.
Growing up, I never watched “Curious George,” but when anybody mentions the show, I immediately think of Forrest’s fantastical journey in “Forrest Gump,” one of my earliest favorite movies. As a young child, Forrest reads “Curious George” with his childhood friend, Jenny, and as an adult, Forrest carries that very book in his briefcase, all while waiting to visit her. When I hear “Upside Down,” I travel down this rabbit-hole of nostalgia abundant with unbreakable cinematic relationships and simpler times where things worked out magically.
For students busy with schoolwork, extracurriculars and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, the day has no end. Nevertheless, there is a sense of individuality and purpose that can break up the monotonous routine, one derived from occasional sentimentality. We need a bit of nostalgia among busy times to happily remind us of how we used to be, how far we have come and more importantly, what “now” will mean to us later in life. As we move toward the end of the school-year, an increased workload paired with dwindling opportunities can induce tunnel vision, but by pausing to remember the past, students can understand the bigger picture beyond just good grades. It is easy to say that society today is too complicated and the old days are far more desirable, but in some ways it seems people’s remembrance tricks them. As high school students still connected to our elementary and middle school selves, we tend to glorify past events. Sometimes, people may feel so fondly of memories that they become overly discouraged by the possible bleakness of their situations. From there, they may think that the best is not yet to come. As long as reminiscing does not occur in excess, bringing our most basic, original feelings to the surface helps us understand the underlying sadness we all face and the intangible things we may be missing in our lives.
Frequently reminding us of the past, our school holds countless fundraisers and gatherings throughout the year, events that normally end in a reception serving Krispy Kreme donuts. Most people can agree that the fried dough rings do taste amazing, but even the chain’s most devout supporters can recognize their relative “lack of quality” in comparison to fancier donuts that may be available. Still, we always choose Krispy Kreme because, from the time of first and second grade birthday party extravaganzas, these donuts were what we looked forward to throughout the day. Whenever we bite into one at convocation, we can taste the promise of a prosperous year and hear the echoes of past joy.
In Johnson’s song, he writes that he does not want his feeling of curiosity and optimism to go away. People should not get bogged down in the past so much that their prosperous futures begin to recede, yet it seems Johnson’s statement should be refined to include nostalgia. As multifaceted individuals, people must remember the past to understand their true cores. Our interests will ebb and flow, but are also derived from our younger selves; in the end, we have fundamental values and needs that must be respected.