Golden Age Syndrome

Allen Nguyen

I can’t help but think that I suffer from Golden Age Syndrome, except that age is each passing year. Using Timehop and glancing back at the life that I had, and person that I was, and seeing the gilded layer of youth and adolescence with a path, or supposed path, where I go to school every day, do my work, rinse, repeat with the world at my fingertips.

It ignores how I couldn’t find myself as an Asian American, or how I struggled with my racial identity for so many years. It ignores the pain of home, and struggles of white supremacy that I dealt with and accepted at face value as being the way the world was supposed to work. It ignores the constant anxiety of “what’s next? am I doing this correctly?” Golden Age Syndrome ignores the pain and makes you pine for a revisionist history. It plagues your thoughts and dreams.

I still have those anxieties. But there’s a clarity to growing up and being aware of them, and slowly but surely living each day by questioning the status quo. The blues of early adulthood are real. There’s something intangible, ungraspable about how we view nostalgia and how it moves and changes from generation to generation. But the real thing that we have are our interpersonal relationships. Proof that we live in a real world that defies the rules of the past. Internet communities, friendships, Tinder hookups, coed post-work soccer teams. There’s a world of people accessible at our fingertips and there’s something daunting, yet totally exciting about that.

We’re generation characterized by a constant state of fear (both internally and externally through global conflict) and disillusionment. But to be able to share that experience with one another, and to (hopefully) learn and contextualize our collective confusion…that’s something that makes us unique. It makes us stand apart from the repression of the boomers and generations past.

At least we’re open to talking about our fears, problems, hopes and dreams. At least we can talk.