The wonders of the modern world are abundant. What the arts and sciences have accomplished over the last couple of centuries has been essential to our development as a species. The advancements we have made in all branches of technology have come to define us and our Westernized culture. Not only do we rely on technological advancements to heal ourselves, work, or make our lives exponentially easier, but we also use it to entertain ourselves. In fact, one could argue that entertainment is what keeps people flocking towards new technologies, aside from the pursuit of simplicity. Think about what you do to entertain yourself each day; do you use an application, browse the Internet, watch Netflix, or play a video game? Does the bulk of your hobbies rely on a phone, a computer, a television, or a console?
If so, there’s nothing wrong with that. Such activities are becoming more widely-accepted than ever before. Modern people enjoy taking part in one or all of these modes of entertainment. The smart phones most of us have on our person have the ability to perform all of the aforementioned activities. Games, videos, music, and books are at the ready; all it takes is opening an app to jump-start your favorite distraction. It is easy to see why we turn to technology for amusement, as it is instant, simple (most of the time), and popular. It allows us to socialize, taking part in the conversation of the day. I am no exception. I enjoy watching my preferred series and movies, as well as playing games from time-to-time. I also rely on items such as my iPhone and my laptop in order to perform daily tasks and amuse myself. In this day-and-age, it is nearly impossible to stave off technology, especially when it is so expansive, speaking to various curiosities. Yet, despite all the wonderful aspects of technology, I am often drawn to the old-fashioned. I find myself captivated by relics and activities from the past, due to their aesthetics, functions, or overall intended uses. If you are like me and find the old just as interesting as the new, then perhaps you often feel embarrassed to share this with others. Perhaps you are intimidated by the, “hipster,” label that seems to get thrown around a lot these days, aimed at whosoever dares enjoy anything less than modern. However, expressing yourself freely and openly should be key, no matter where your interests lie. You never know what you will discover when you’re more open about your varied interests…you might even discover yourself.
(Just to reiterate, I am not bashing technology or anyone interested in it. Truly, I support the development of new, helpful technology. I am fascinated by its possibilities. It is my intention to express the idea that having old-fashioned tastes should be accompanied by shamelessness. Combining interests in the old and new is a grand adventure.)
Reading in-and-of itself is not old-fashioned. Most of us read every single day, whether it is an article online, instructions for a job or a project, or even a recipe. Many people enjoy reading fictional and non-fictional works on their Kindles or other e-readers, which in the minds of the majority makes reading easier and cheaper. However, what is slowly becoming old-fashioned—much to this bookworm’s dismay—is the collecting and purchasing of hard-copy books. I find that a lot of my peers bemoan the cost of printed books, or the space required to store them. There are very few who love the idea of having shelves upon shelves lined with a variety of different books. Some people cannot appreciate that new or old, “book smell,” or the excitement of coming across a first-edition.
What books you decide to collect can be just as unpopular or bizarre as the act of collecting them. There are less and less people who appreciate classic literature, especially in my age group of 20-somethings. In my experience, it is rare to find someone who wants to hold an obscure book in their hand. Often, it is that they do not understand why you would want to lug around a heavy book when there are slim smart phones and e-readers that can hold hundreds of books at once. In my view—and perhaps you share one similar—you truly get the heft and life of a narrative when you can pick it up, look at it, and clasp onto it. There is something satisfying about opening a book, hearing the spine bend and the pages turn. One book is not enough; the more books, the more a room feels more like a library instead of a den or a bedroom. It is a shelter for your pleasures. To put it playfully, some of us have Belle from, Beauty and the Beast living inside of us. All we have ever wanted was a giant library. If the world won’t give it to us, we’ll create our own. It might not be modernly practical, but it is such fun for book lovers. Some people have DVD collections, we have book collections; either is visually fascinating, comforting, and promises entertainment.
If this looks like a sanctuary to you, then books are more than just for reading...
Admiring and Collecting Antiques from Centuries Past
Shopping or viewing antiques, (also referred to as, “antiquing”) is a practice most often associated with the elderly or, “junk lovers.” Perhaps more offensive to some than book collecting is accumulating items, both large and small, from centuries past. Certainly, this activity is not for everyone. A serious collector needs space, time, and money to be able to put together a display that looks more attractive than Uncle Joe’s garage full of century-old car parts. Many collectors are quite meticulous about what they want in their collections, as well as what they are willing to buy or sell from others. For some, it is about the small items, such as plates, stamps, cups, or toys. Then for others, it is about the large items, things that really transform a room, like chairs, mirrors, wall hangings, or beds. These objects all have their own time period, aesthetics, and styles attached to them, making them all the more vexing. There are a lot of specifics when it comes to antiquing—I’m sure watching one episode of, American Pickers will clue you in on that—but for someone like me, admiring items as they are can be just as fun as purchasing them. I am quite fond of all things Victorian and early 20th century.
There is something quintessentially beautiful about all that these eras have left behind. Expressing my appreciation for objects such as advertisements, calling cards, photographs, medical equipment, and artworks from those days can be admittedly daunting. It is often difficult to explain the strong desire to have such items in my home, or use such items as inspirations for my work to people who feel as though the past should remain in the past. While this point holds validity in some circumstances, I think it is important to preserve relics of our past. Not only does it remind us how far we’ve come, but it can inspire us to go further. There was some wonderful work created not so long ago; to retain it is to be connected across time. If you find yourself enchanted by antiques of any sort, do not feel as though you are living in the past. You have an appreciation for something antiquated, true; however, if this appreciation enriches your present, there is no harm in it. You do not have to be a massive collector to appreciate the viewing of such items and oddities.
This is the Antique Mall, located in Crown Point, Indiana. Just recently, I visited this historical building, rife with antiques from many decades, and found some interesting pieces for my shadow box. Make sure to drop by if you're an antique lover in the area.
Listening to Music
A great many people enjoy is music; however, the methods of listening to music have evolved over the years. It was not too long ago that we were carrying around CD cases to switch out CDs in our Walkmans. Before that, we were changing and rewinding cassette tapes, of course after flipping records on turn-tables. Today, we have all the music we could ever need available through digital downloads. There is no need to have records, tapes, or CDs to sift through. Yet, similarly to collecting books, some of us find it more pleasing to have physical copies of our favorite musicians’ albums. Being able to hold a vessel for music in your hand and pull it from its sleeve or case is part of the listening experience. The crackling of a record brings joy for many people; in fact, the sale of vinyl records hit a resurgence in recent years. It’s become, “hip,” to have a record collection of one’s own. For me, what makes albums so special is the artwork. My favorite CDs have been accompanied by fantastic album art, something that realizes intangible melodies. It becomes almost like an art piece all its own, as if the music wasn’t artistic enough. Truly, something can be said for the beauty of such artwork; nevertheless, digital downloads threaten the CD’s existence. Even so, I will always cherish the albums I do have and the ones I might come by in the future. Some people detest having to store and rotate CDs, but I find that it is worth any difficulty. I support the musicians I admire, and to have not only their music in my hands but their artistic visions as well goes unmatched. If you are a collector of CDs, records, or even tapes, take comfort in knowing that purchasing these items supports your favorite musicians, and the artists that work with them to create the final product.
A well-kept, personal collection is something of which to be proud.
There are plenty of other old-fashioned interests in which to invest and discuss. The old methods of photography, for example, are preferable over digital photography in the eyes of some photographers. There is prospectively something satisfying about developing film, watching your artwork organically appear before your eyes. Some find enjoyment in running old film reels, harkening back to the age of home movies and classic cinema. Perhaps you enjoy restoring classic cars, feeling satisfied when at last you can take your refurbished vehicle out for a drive. Maybe you like to draw with pencil instead of a stylus, or make a pizza from scratch instead of picking it up at the grocery store. No matter what passé activity or interest you might do or have, it is good to keep in mind that, despite others’ grievances, these are important aspects of your life. Participating in them helps create you, along with your own identity. Your love for the historical does not mean that you reject or deny the present; simply, it means that you include the past to expound upon your contemporary life. Even if someone cannot understand why you dedicate yourself to older amusements or items does not mean that it is worthy of condemnation. Be shameless in your celebration for all of your interests, outdated and current. After all, someone has to reserve the practices and possessions our ancestors have left behind; shouldn’t they be attended to with a loving hand?