By: CHRISTINA CLARK
I’ve noticed more and more Van Halen sneaking into my Oldies radio station at work. Van Halen has never been something I considered an “oldie” (they’re certainly a goodie, when the mood strikes).
I’ve begun to realize that though I’m in my mid-twenties, the world is shifting faster and faster, and things that I hadn’t noticed changing before are suddenly disappearing.
I had noticed that Elvis, Buddy Holly and songs like “Soldier Boy” by The Shirelles (not to be confused with “Crank That,” Soulja Boy; this song is actually about staying true to a soldier who is away) have all but disappeared from my beloved Oldies station.
Maybe it’s because singers like Beyonce and Justin Timberlake have continued to top charts since I hit puberty. Maybe it’s because Metallica was huge for my cousin who is nine years older than me, and Metallica was a huge discovery for me in middle school. Everything old is new again, right?
This feeling of change and age has been most prominently felt in the 100-level courses that I am working through.
It took me a little bit to realize that the points I was attempting to make with examples that were relevant to me (presenting protest songs about 9/11 and the Iraq War were deeply personal to me), but to my classmates, who had no recollection of the Twin Towers or 9/11, nor the news reporting and hearing of friends going overseas to fight, they couldn’t understand the depth I was trying to communicate.
It hit me: this is why learning history is so important.
In wars past (and other economic situations and political climates), I’m sure those who have experienced hardships, fought, or known people who fought and died have a similar feeling when blank eyes meet theirs on a subject they hold very dear to their hearts. The feeling that you can’t make someone understand something on your level is very reminiscent of my younger, angrier, hormone-filled years.
Situations like these (as small and insignificant as they might seem) have created an appreciation for history in me.
Often I’ve heard Winston Churchill’s quote: “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Up until recently, I thought that meant obvious things, and maybe not personal attitudes.
The more I notice things changing, the more I find things seem to stay the same in some ways, when attitudes are not evolved.
Listening to others can create a world of difference in your perspective on the world. Disagreeing and speaking up about it is great, and promotes change when enough people get together and voice grievances and create change.
However, in everyday life, listening to people and paying attention to their stories will be what really preserves them and helps shape the future for us both personally and as a population.
So while “YOLO” (“you only live once,” and yes, it was painful to type) is all good and well, don’t forget to pay respect to elders and learn a little bit about what they’ve been through. It can be as easy as just offering a smile and a positive attitude to someone, or sitting down with a parent or a friend and letting them tell you a story. Finding roots is important, and from the past and learning about heritage, a new future can be born.
Or in the very least, find the roots of rock and roll music and girl-groups/boy-bands and appreciate them.