I ate some M&Ms yesterday and was struck by one simple fact. I knew of a time before there were blue M&Ms.
It’s rare that I think of myself as old. I haven’t even hit the age of 40, let alone a time period where anyone thinks of me as “older,” but the longer I live — the more I realize how much I know of a world that is no longer here.
Some of it I see through my son’s eyes. To him, everything is new just now. I tried to tell him two years ago that Mario was a video game from when I was a kid. There was disbelief and even confusion (until I played it with him and my reflexes kicked in and I beat the level on the first try).
I marvel at this before world. At Christmas, I marveled again at how Christmas presents have changed. My grandfather still remembered fondly the childhood where his dad found a beat up toy truck and refurbished it for him. My mom talked about receiving a beloved doll. I remember a Christmas where new bedding was my “big” gift. Now, my son, was longing for a new iPad. How far we’ve come in just four generations.
I lived in a world that knew the fear of a cold war, where Pluto was still a planet, and pay phones were still on every corner. All these things have been dead for awhile. And yet, these things don’t feel like they should be in a museum fact sheet.
I can touch those things still in my mind’s eye. I remember big plastic glasses, neon shoe laces, and when gel was the coolest thing you could put in your hair. It doesn’t feel like actors like Michael J. Fox or Robin Wright should be playing parents. Not enough time has passed for me to understand the need for a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.
Maybe some gray hairs are creeping in and maybe I feel old when I have to explain She Blinded Me With Science to my coworkers, but is this world before so far gone?
Memories are a tricky thing. They slip and slide like rocks on a beach. Over and over they grind down their sharp edges until only the smooth remains. There’s few moments that I would want to relive from this time past. I bear no illusions to it being a better or more significant time. I may be as old as Celine Dion’s career, but that doesn’t mean I want to relive it.
And yet, so many of those pieces from the time before have built me into the person I am now. Is it any wonder why a blue M&M can send someone into such reverie? I take another candy from my son’s stash and wonder what things he’ll remember as being a before. Will it be fidget spinners and that year where everyone on the planet dabbed? Or will it be YouTube and Minecraft and school lunches? I hope it’s a good thing and that he doesn’t mind losing it to the land of before. I also hope he doesn’t mind that I ate more of his M&Ms… I think I’ll leave him the blue ones.
About the author: Tabitha Grace Challis
Tabitha is a social media strategist, writer, blogger, and professional geek. Among her published works are the children’s books Jack the Kitten is Very Brave and Machu the Cat is Very Hungry, both published under the name Tabitha Grace Smith. A California girl (always and forever) she now lives in Maryland with her husband, son, and a collection of cats, dogs, and chickens. Find out more about her on her Amazon author page or follow her on Twitter: @Tabz.