Youth looks forward to the future and sees fear. However bad things are now, they're only going to get worse. Dystopian futures, miserable marriages, bitter regret, impending doom, that's what getting older looks like to the kids in their movies.
But old folks, looking back, writing the past, tend to bathe their memories in a warm glow of nostalgia.
There seems to be a disconnect here. How can both things be true? How can the future always be miserable and the past wonderful? Is nostalgia just a con game the old play on themselves?
No. Nostalgia gets a bad rap, but look a little deeper, children, and see the glimmers of hope on your horizon.
Yes, it is better to be young, starting out and full of fire, than to be old, finishing up and full of waist. But if an older person is nostalgic for his life, if looking back to his memories brings peace, satisfaction and happiness, then perhaps the future wasn't so scary after all.
To write believable older people, my young colleagues, remember this: The "arc of life" isn't quite the nosedive you fear it will be.
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