My husband asked me to help him bleed the brake lines in his '69 Mustang convertible this weekend. Pumping and releasing the brakes several hundred times gave me a moment to observe and ponder. I had a '74 Mustang as my first real car in the 80s, and the technology of his convertible was close to my yuck yellow one with the avocado-colored top. (I saved my money from my part-time job to have it painted red.)
I drive a 2015 Mustang now, so looking at the gears and switches was a trip down memory lane. The '69 has slides for the defroster and heat (no air conditioning), a cylinder on the floor for the high beams, a cassette player, metal slide seatbelts, windows that wind down, a hard plastic steering wheel with a mental arc for the horn, and a square key for the ignition and a round one for the trunk. It also has an ashtray and cigarette lighter.
Juxtaposed to my '15, I don't have to take the key out to open the doors or start the engine as long as it's in my purse. I can even start the engine remotely if I want to warm the car up. And the kickin' sound system, phone, and climate controls are changed on the touchscreen in the dash, or I can use voice commands. I can get music through AM, FM, satellite, my phone, or a host of other devices. And I can enjoy my tunes from space in my heated or cooled seats.
This week is all about memories. My high school reunion is coming up soon, and I'm looking forward to seeing friends who've known me since kindergarten and the old high school. We're going to the homecoming game on Friday. At some point, we're the same people from back then, but in other ways, we're not. We've changed (on all levels), and had a lot of experiences outside of those school walls we shared for twelve years.
We've come a long way. I love the nostalgia of the reunion and the classic cars. It's fun for a summer cruise with the top down, but for every day life, I like my airbags, computer-controlled engine, anti-lock brakes, power steering, and padded steering wheel.
I love visiting the past. The nostalgia and memories are great. But like with the cars, I've adapted to the technology and ways of today. And, there's a reason that the rearview mirror was designed to be a lot smaller than the windshield.
Enjoy the memories and where we've come from, but celebrate the present and where you're going. Every decade has its own surprises.