Lifestyle / Opinion

Digi cams and vinyl in 2024: Making peace with the present 

“Bring your digi cam,” a familiar hum in group chats, is something that I’ve been instructed to do many times. My digital camera is not new, in fact it previously belonged to my dad, or maybe my grandmother. It is so old that I simply can’t recall its origins. I’ve even purchased a special cable so that I am able to upload my pictures directly to my phone. Technology has clearly been adapted; iPhones have significantly better quality than digital cameras. So, why am I going to lengths to buy newly imagined cords that I can plug into both my SD card and iPhone? Why not just skip that step and use my much better phone camera? I’m looking for a specific aesthetic that my iPhone just can’t offer. iPhone pictures are clear and pristine, but I’m looking for a slightly blurry, bright, and almost washed out look that’s provided by the flash of my digital camera and its somewhat outdated lens. Outdated is the key word. 

The past and the future are often intertwined through pieces of media. New fangled SD card readers with the ability to plug into iPhones are just one example of this. The list continues with Bluetooth accessible record players and the circulation of old songs via TikTok. As we bring back old trends, they are modified so that we can enjoy them without the extra time it would’ve taken to get film developed or go to the store to buy new vinyl. Although we would like to believe that we have the patience of our parents in the 70s who had no other choice but to wait a week for the next episode of their favorite show, we do not. Our culture is fast paced, with opportunities and information literally at our fingertips. As we move back, we must also move forward to satisfy our lack of patience that’s evolved with technology. 

So, what is it with nostalgia? We are not pleased with our current state. The adage “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” applies perfectly to this situation. We struggle a lot in our everyday lives; school, social media, and friends all find ways to cause us grief and anxiety. Living with this anxiousness is no easy feat, and I often wonder if my life would be easier if I did not have to deal with the constant pressure to post, comment, like, and check my texts. In this sense, the grass is greener in the past. I long for a time where I’d have to open a map to find my way while driving or spend my days outside with friends instead of inside, retreating to my bed and watching shows. I sometimes spend my time watching Stranger Things or Gilmore Girls, two shows that reveal to me what it was like to live in the past, in a pre-mobile phone era. It’s no coincidence that these shows have had a surge of popularity in the past few years, or that 2000s romantic comedies have a large teenage fanbase. Our limited idea of the past, which is primarily viewed through media, is seeped in a golden haze. It’s out of our reach, and we want it. When we look to the past, it seems simple and pure. We have no idea what the future holds, but we sure know what happened in the past, and that stability makes us long for it. 

As we comfort ourselves with commodities of the past, I want to emphasize the importance in staying in the present. History will forever be essential in keeping us from repeating past mistakes and forming us into who we are. However, if we cannot find some peace in the present, we’ll be condemned to a life of unhappiness. I’ve been trying to find joy within my current life, and to veer away from filling the holes in my heart with thoughts of times past. I capture moments on my digi cam, but I am making friends with my current life, with 2024, with my enemies, and with my laments. I stream 80s movies on Netflix but I don’t forget to ground myself. I admire the past, but I make peace with the now.

Comments are closed.