The Golden Age of life is alwaysfive to ten years behind you. At least, that’s how it seems to me, and I’ll explain what I mean.
I don’t remember exactly when it started, but when I was in high school, I can remember thinking fondly of my long lost youth, and casting my mind’s eye back to those halcyon days of junior high school (ninth grade, in particular).
Of course, when I was in college, those bright days of junior high school had shifted to the brighter days of high school. In fact, during college, I can recall thinking that the two week period in 11th grade when the L.A. school teachers were on strike was a true “golden age”. (Honestly, it’s true to this day that I look fondly upon those two weeks now some 17 years in the past.) Many of the friends I made back then are still my best friends to this day.
After college, I can recall looking back fondly on my college years, in particular my first year at UCR, living on The Hall, where I made more life-long friends.
And now? The camera lens has slipped forward a few frames and The Golden age now rests firmly upon a period of time between 1997-1999 when I lived in Studio City, on Tujunga just north of Ventura Blvd. Life seemed carefree. Everything was going well. There were little or no worries. It was a time that I was truly happy living in L.A.
So why is the Golden Age always behind you? Clearly its because you mentally evaluate the times of your life, and the only way you can do that in any objective sense, is when enough time has passed to compare it to other times. Still, that doesn’t explain why the past is always golden, and not the future. Why does it seem that we don’t look to the future as eagerly as we look at the past? The future provides endless possibility while the past is already written. And yet we latch onto that past as though it were some kind of security blanket.
I don’t know the answer to this, but I will be exploring it this weekend; it is the main theme in the next short story that I will be writing, a story about a boy who discovers the future, who is fascinated by it, and who works very, very hard to invent a machine that will take him there. It’s a very unusual time-travel story, not what you might expect. But it’s really caught fire with me and I might be able to finish the whole thing this weekend.
That’s what’s great about science fiction. While it has been said that the Golden Age of science fiction is 13, I don’t buy it for a second. The Golden Age of science fiction lasts a life time if you let it.