I really hate those “Remember back in the old days when things were better and we weren’t so precious.” kinds of posts. You know the ones that crop up on Facebook all the time.
I do remember the old days. I remember having the living shit beaten out of me while friends, teachers and neighbours “minded their own business”.
I remember going hungry because teachers didn’t check that kids had reasonable lunches.
I remember being not being able to afford decent shoes, school uniforms or to participate in school activities. I remember the constant worries about how bills would be paid, how food would be on the table.
I remember two boys dying in one year from head injuries while on their bikes, because helmets were not mandatory.
I remember the boy who broke his arm in the most HORRIFIC way playing on shonky playground equipment because there were no regulations then and has never lived the same since.
I remember when nobody on television looked like the people I knew in real life – they were ALL thin, white, straight, able bodied and affluent. They had nice clothes, cars and homes and didn’t have to worry about paying the rent or the electricity bill.
I remember when I got food poisoning at a Brownie camp because there were no regulations to ensure the kids were fed decent food.
I remember when women were treated like shit in the workplace and not only had no way to challenge it, but it was ENCOURAGED by management.
I remember being discouraged from pursuing tertiary education, because I was a girl.
I remember when the Indigenous kids in my class were told that they “came from savages” and there was nothing here before white people came.
I remember when people with disabilities were locked up and then had to endure school trips of abled kids coming to “Visit the poor cripples.”
I could go on and on and on. But frankly, it’s exhausting to have to constantly educate people on how their rosy past only applied to a tiny portion of the population.
Nostalgia for the past is for the privileged. The rest of us are desperately glad the world has changed and can’t wait to keep pushing more of those changes through.