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June 17, 2013

Lisa Madras: It wasn’t Nirvana, but it certainly was better

NEW CASTLE — When you look into the past, what do you miss the most?

For a bunch of my co-workers, who are still floating around on cloud nine from last week's concert, the answer would probably be New Kids on the Block.

I missed that whole boy-band era. I think I was in college at the time, either diligently studying or trying to "find myself" with the likes of Nirvana and Sonic Youth. (Grunge metal and flannel shirts — a heck of a great time for music. Not so much for fashion.)

I can think of a ton of stuff I miss about the past — a healthier body, a less complicated mind, the innocence and ambition of youth, gummy bracelets.

But like most people, what I think I miss the most is the world we used to live in. Things seemed so different then than they do now. And I'm not talking about the world being a different place, where girls were more interested in boy bands than street drugs, and the Internet wasn't our roadmap to the world.

I'm talking about how much EASIER things seemed then, and not just because I was younger. I don't remember having to take out a loan to buy a tank of gas, or work two jobs just to pay the bills. I remember people disliking whatever president was in office, but not enough to divide the country into such distinct factions, where the mere mention of support for our country's leader could possibly lead to a violent altercation.

I remember thinking that I would have to work a lot of hours to pay my way through college, but not that I would someday live in a world where college seems like a fantasy for my own children.

When did life get so rough? Why do so many of us seem to be living life as if we're just struggling to get through?

At the risk of being called a conspiracy theorist, I'll be the first to tell you that I firmly believe our second Civil War is imminent. We're stockpiling guns and food, and making our lines of distinction very, very clear. I shudder to think of where we're heading.

But could it be that we simply want too much because there's so much available? Let's face it, we complain about the price of milk and diapers — and we jump on our smart phones with our unlimited plans to tell our friends of our discord, and fire up one of our three computers to see where we could buy things a little cheaper.

Our children have no less than a half-dozen different gaming systems, and we drive cars that cost as much as our homes. We think nothing of shelling out $10.50 for a movie ticket or $40 for a manicure ... and one for our 5-year-old daughter.

I don't know, maybe I'm wrong. But instead of coughing up a couple hundred dollars for another gun, maybe we should stop to think about what it is we're really fighting for. Yes, times ARE tough, but our priorities aren't really in a great place either.

I guess that's what I miss the most when I look into the past — all of us, not lying to ourselves about who we are and what really brings us happiness. I want it to be like that again.

"Life should come with remote controls. Then I just rewind it to the time it was better." — Backstreet Boys

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