Nostalgia’s enemy: Moving forward

Neha Seenarine, Associate Arts & Life Editor

When you get older, you often stop having the same interests as before. As you age, your imagination declines and adapts to the “real” world. Although facing reality can be sad, growing up is not a bad thing.

The magic from your youth fizzles out when reality smacks you. However, when you’re naive, you don’t think about the consequences that you can face. You consider your actions by wondering how they can affect others and your future.

Neha Seenarine aspired to be like pop sensation Hannah Montana at the age of seven. (Neha Seenarine)

When I was younger, I wanted to be the next pop sensation after Hannah Montana. A brown female that embodies Britney Spears, I would be a “cultural reset”’ in the music industry. Unfortunately, I realized winning “American Idol” would be difficult considering a whale has more musical range than me. It was OK for me to ditch my Y2K pop music influence and focus on a career that matches my skills.

Another reality that comes with age is the importance of financial stability, which can be a dream killer. In the U.S., you need money to survive. I dread every week when I have to fill my gas tank with my part-time job paycheck. I don’t think I could be capable of handling a full-time job working 40 hours a week in the future. It seems so exhausting to work only to constantly pay bills. However, I am strongly encouraged by my family to find a job so I would never have to face the financial struggles they did.

I often wonder if my ambition to write editorials professionally is worth my time. I also thought about other careers I could pursue. If I could be a briefcase girl on “Deal or No Deal” without worrying about if I fit their beauty standards, I would audition. I considered being a cruise director and making families smile on their vacation. However, tourism is a worrisome industry through the pandemic. These careers seem like enjoyable roles, but I know it wouldn’t be long-term.

Neha Seenarine ditched her Y2K dreams and is now pursuing a career in the journalism industry. (Neha Seenarine)

Having a passion that does not have a steady income can be discouraging. I consider my backup options if the writing industry does not give me the big bucks I need. There’s the old saying, “Choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” However, it seems our dream jobs do not pay the bills.

Growing up happens without us realizing it. For example, when I look at a box of Twinkies, I want to gag. It’s not like I woke up one day and decided to hate Hostess snacks. My palate matured, and I am thankful that my sugar intake decreased. When I was younger, I would grab countless snacks off the shelf. My father had to put me on a spending budget, but now he asks if I’m sure when I don’t want anything from the weekly grocery store flyer.

There is a difference between maturing and having an acquired taste. For example, I prefer citrus flavors in food and beverages. I stay away from anything cotton candy because it is too sweet. However, there are consumers who enjoy those flavors so much that products like cotton candy wine exist. There is nothing wrong with liking certain foods, but sometimes it comes to a point where it does not taste like the first time you ate it.

We tend to also grow out of relationships. We find ourselves creating friendships based on the same interests. However, interests can change and we adapt to the environment we live in. We’re heavily influenced by the people around us, societal status and even the climate we live in. Sometimes we get annoyed when our friend comes back from a trip to Europe, and they claim it changed their life. Maybe it did.

“There’s no silver bullet theory for explaining anyone’s taste,” said journalist Tom Vanderbilt in an interview with The Atlantic. “It’s always a mixture of exposure, of culture, of a person’s personality. And none of these are particularly static or fixed. The nice thing about tastes is that they are subject to change. We can kind of always be reinventing them and reinventing ourselves a little bit.”

It’s OK to change. We need to break away from routines that stop us from growing. There is no harm in venturing out and finding what you honestly enjoy. As the worst break-up proposal would say, “It’s not you, it’s me.”