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Kentucky Kernel

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COLUMN: Was our childhood really that great, or is the world just exponentially worse now?

Illustration by Akhila Nadimpalli

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I want to talk about what’s on all our minds — our childhood.

Or at least that’s the case for those of us who are single and blame our upbringing on why we are single (it has absolutely nothing to do with our personality and inability to commit).

Nostalgia is trending, and not just amongst us, but amongst our government, too.

It seems that every day another old man or woman shouts about how it was better in the ‘60s and how America has never been racist, which leads to proposed bills that would have sounded progressive in the 1880s.

It begs the question: was our childhood really that great? Or is the world just exponentially worse now?

There were definitely wonderful aspects of being young heathens, such as reruns of “Whose Line is it Anyway?” And reruns of “Saturday Night Live.” And gathering sticks and random plants outside in the dirt to pretend we were living as hunters and gatherers. Also reruns of the original “Whose Line is it Anyway?” (We had the same childhood, right?)

But I also distinctly remember not having access to sushi on a daily basis. Or having money. I still don’t have money, but at least now if I ever get money, I don’t put it in a piggy bank, I immediately go spend it all on sushi.

And that’s my decision.

That’s all being older is: decision-making power. You want to get boba instead of coffee? Your decision. You want to get a burger instead of a salad? Your decision. You want to get tiramisu instead of chocolate cake? Your. Decision.

I’m realizing now that my decisions are mainly food-based, and it might be slightly different for you. Maybe your vibe is spending $6,500 at a university to study Greek mythology and then wonder what you’ll do for a living. And that’s your decision – you do you.

As the world feels more out-of-control, having some control over lives makes us feel less powerless. And sometimes that control comes in the form of getting sushi after getting a paycheck.

Younger us had decisions made for us, and we had dreams of making our own decisions one day. But it feels as if even that dream was “just a sweet, sweet fantasy, baby.”

People older than us are still making all the decisions, and those decisions don’t just dictate our diet, but our livelihood.

And there’s a whole other conversation about marginality and discrimination contributing to lack of representative power, but I don’t have anything funny to say about that because I go into a depressive spiral whenever I start to think about it.

So I honestly don’t know if the world is worse now, or if our childhood sucked, or even if they both suck in equilibrium. What I do know is that for now, single or not, go out and get yourself that tiramisu or buy yourself some chocolate. If you’re looking for something non-food-related, enroll in an art-deco class — whatever that is.

Try not upending your life, but if you have to, that’s your decision.

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