Why Millennials Yearn For Simpler Times

millennials-yearn-for-simpler-times-illustration-nostalgia
Image Via Harvard Business Review

Millennials are probably the most nostalgic generation ever. The proof is in the pudding — nostalgia marketing has become a go-to strategy for most brands we know and love.

If that wasn’t enough, it has made its way in pop culture too. Social media trends like #ThrowbackThursday, #FlashbackFriday and Facebook’s ‘On This Day’ are all the rage for this very reason.

Come to think of it, it is only natural, isn’t it? Our growing up years and adulthood have literally nothing in common. We are the last generation to have an unplugged childhood and life today couldn’t be any more different.

Disconnected in a Connected World

For example, back then there were no smartphones, so it urged us to meet people up personally. Thus, relationships were so much warmer.

Playing was typically synonymous with indoor and outdoor games, not the Playstations and iPad games we see kids hooked on these days.

We have been on both sides — with and without technology, and when life gets overwhelming, it is only natural to pine for a screen-free period.

Image consultant Ritvik Tuteja, 24, agrees. “Being a millennial in my mid-twenties, my childhood and teenage comprised simplicity, natural beauty, and genuineness. I loved those years.

“In contrast, today my generation is being polluted and carried away by instant gratification and overuse of the online world such that they fail miserably in every arena of the offline world. Being a motivational speaker, I strive to make the world the way it was in the pre-millennial era.”

Stress & Competition

Our stressful fast-paced lives are also a major cause for seeking out the past. As kids, we saw our parents working for years on end at the same stable job with more or less fixed hours. Cut to now, and the scenario couldn’t be any more different.

We have to put up with unbridled stress and competition — whether it’s finding our passion and being able to make money off of it, or simply getting and staying hired at reasonable pay.

Work pressure is tremendous, and most of us struggle to maintain some semblance of work-life balance. Looking back on fond memories on occasion enables us to slow down for a bit and take a break from our hectic present.

Craving Something Real

Lastly, reminiscing brings with it a certain je nes sais quoi, particularly when one is not doing so well in some aspect of life.

For example, the quality of relationships now has seriously deteriorated. What with little time for family and friends, inauthentic social media profiles, convenient moral values, and callous relationship trends, we are becoming increasingly disconnected from each other.

Social worker Riya Malhotra*, 33, says what we’ve all felt at least once: “I crave for real relationships that were easier to find earlier, unlike today, where it’s all about appearances and everyone is busy being a one-minute celebrity.

“I really miss the way relationships were so important. They would provide the much-needed anchoring during tough times and were a source of pride.

“For example, to have a best friend or a romantic relationship that lasted was an achievement. I genuinely miss that; it’s a rare breed in today’s world, where virtually everything and everyone has become disposable.” (*name changed on request)

With the times gone by being so uncomplicated, can anyone blame us for remembering them fondly? Life today is hard — and in small doses, nostalgia is something we can rely on for some moments of peace and sanity.

As for the bittersweet sting that comes with it, owing to the knowledge that we can never go back and relive those memories? We’ll take it.

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