Tear yourself away from your brand new laptop or your smartphone long enough, and you’ll realize that there are things older than you in the world. But the older you get, the rarer those things are to come by. Things just keep changing.
My aunt gave me this 1886 dollar piece a few years ago for my birthday. It’s quite aesthetically pleasing, but it’s not worth a great deal of today’s money. Still, it has a large amount of intrinsic value to me. You see, I’m keeping this because I know as long as I live, I’ll always have something that is over a hundred years older than me. Heck, I’d have to live to be 104 before I outlived the age of the coin on the day I was born. I’m keeping it with me for as long as I’m on this Earth.
Too often, we get wrapped in our own egocentric perception of the world, thinking that our world right now is the only one that has really ever mattered. This is compounded by the endless problems our world faces today, such as climate change, nuclear annihilation, and overpopulation. There are so may people, and there is so much pressure to perform that the past becomes nothing but a shadow that follows your grandparents around. You’re only forced to confront its existence at certain times, and even then it’s not really a big deal. But this is a mistake. People can’t live on just the things of the present alone.
This coin has survived the turn of two centuries, two world wars, the great depression, and the invention of the Internet. It was there when we landed on the moon, when the Titanic sank, when good men were dying in Vietnam, and when women gained the right to vote. When The Legend of Zelda wowed gamers for the first time, it was there. When Tears for Fears was all the rage, it was there. When Star Trek redefined science fiction, it was there.
I was there for none of those things. All I have are artifacts and stories. The world was completely different in 1886. There were no cars, no phones, and most people didn’t even have electricity. So when I find something that’s older than me, I sit up and listen. I take note. These things are important, and they’re the only way I’ll ever experience a time period outside of the one I’m living in right now. My life is not the only one that has ever mattered, it’s merely one life in a long series of people trying to make the world a better place. But remembering the past can help me make my future better. So that tingling feeling you get next time you’re given something much older than you? That’s the way it should be. Treasure it.
[Well, here we go, the very first piece of original photography on Mars Gone Mad! I know I don’t have to say this, but please don’t steal. If you want to use some of my photography, at least link to this blog with a photo credit. Anyway, let me know what you think!]
[Well Daily Post, I tried. I really really tried, but then this blog post came to me so I had to disregard your daily prompt.]