Playing in front of 2,000 screaming fans was my musical crowning glory. I was 18 and my band had won the prestigious “Battle of The Bands” competition. The prize, was to support X-Factor winner Shayne Ward (maybe it was a concert for artists who had won talent competitions.) It was in my home town at Halloween and the stage was in front of the beautiful Town Hall. I rode the high from that gig for weeks and it acted as my conversational go to for even longer.
As a self-contained story, it’s fairly impressive but if we get into the finer details, not so much. Ward was a Z list one hit wonder, we were an obscure metal band, it was a Halloween variety concert tailored to suit kids and suburban parents, we had maybe 15 actual fans there and our music wasn’t received well in the slightest. The screaming I mentioned was from agony, not the elation generally associated with Beatle-mania. The reception was so poor you could have heard a pin drop after each song (that in itself is impressive given there were 2000 people there!)
The point here isn’t about perspective but about living in the past. We all know that person who tells stories from their glory days “I used to get all the hot girls”, “I met David Bowie in London”, “I was getting paid $1000 per day.” It’s wedged into conversation as a cute tidbit but its real motive is to impress us. It’s meant to improve the persons worth as it demonstrates value. In certain cases, with certain people, that may work but when it’s incongruent with the storytellers current lifestyle it does the exact opposite. A drunk 40 year boasting about “getting hot girls back in the day and driving a Porsche” doesn’t hold any weight when crumbs of Salt and Vinegar crisps decorate his unwashed Man United shirt. If you’re relying on achievements from the past now, this will only get worse as you age.
We have a tendency to romanticise the past when we had less responsibility and were care free. “I’ll never meet another girl like her again” or “I’ll never have a job like that again.” This grass is greener mindset is unhelpful when it comes to turning back time mainly because it’s physically impossible. What you can do though, is identify features of those experiences that brought you happiness and aim to recreate them. It would be more helpful to think
- That experience was special but it’s over
- My life is now moving in a different direction
- What steps am I taking to ensure the best chance of me having a better experience in the future?
That concert was full of glory day artists. Anyone over 40 was able to take a trip down memory lane for a few hours. Everyone else had to deal with reality, an inappropriately billed metal band.