I hear a lot of people saying how they long to go back to the days of old Hollywood, or how they wish they had been at the signing of the Declaration of Independence or something of the like. What they don’t realize is that unless they would like to give up things like technology, modern medicine, and for ladies, your basic rights, going back to a time period other than the one to which we have become accustomed would kind of suck. If you went back to the 1700s or the Civil War era and you became ill, because your body wouldn’t be able to fight the diseases that were so rampant. Now, many people now a days have been vaccinated, but there are lots of things that we don’t get vaccines for simply because the disease isn’t around anymore. So, for one thing, your likelihood of dying of an illness that the 21st century body isn’t prepared for is fairly high. And to ladies who would like to go back to the antebellum or revolutionary era, news flash, say good bye to voting, literacy and having a say in anything, and good luck birthing all those kids without the benefit of a hospital.
My major, as I have mentioned in previous articles, was history, so I’m quite well acquainted with the past and why it’s fascinating. It wasn’t until I had a professor ask my Jazz in American History class one day what era we would like to have been born in. I said Revolutionary America because of all the excitement and intellectual development. I was shocked when he said “Ok, none of which you are a part of because you are a woman, you have 5 kids, at least 2 of which probably died in child birth or shortly thereafter of disease and that’s only if you actually made it to 23.” I was taken a back and then I realized he was right.
It was then that I began to realize the difference between nostalgia and actually wanting to be born in another time or be transported to another time. We go to events like the renaissance faire, visit 20s speakeasies and go to Dapper Day because there are things about those eras that we like. I love the dresses and glamour of the 20s-50s Hollywood and the manners that people had back then. I love the corsetry of the Renaissance and the hearty food and archery. But the difference between the nostalgia I have for other eras and actually wanting to transport myself back to them is that I like studying and experiencing parts of these times from the comfort of the 21st century, where we are blessed with the technology and events to visit these eras and return safely with all of our medical health and rights in tact.
Just as there are things we don’t like about the 21st century such as the dependence on technology, war, and a general laziness about the culture, there are far more things we wouldn’t like about the other eras the world has gone through. Every time period has its faults. If you are interested in other time periods, find events centered around them and read about them. Then realize that while they are nice places to visit in your mind and from the comfort of the 21st century, there are many reasons you wouldn’t want to actually live in them. If you don’t believe me, check out a show called Colonial House. It was a show on PBS that placed people in a colonial town and they had to live the same way that people would have lived back then. There is also a show, the precursor to the show called the 1900 House where a family had to live as they would have in Victorian times. Check out the links below and keep sifting through shelves! You never know what you’ll find!