In Defense of the Old

Vintage New Year postcard. Via Kudzu Jungle.

It’s the new year, and a lot of us are making resolutions, cleaning out closets, and letting go of a lot of junk. “Out with old, in with the new,” so they say. It’s the time when we all want fresh starts, clean slates, and all things new. But before we haul those old books and clothes out, let’s take a deep breath and pause for a moment.

Not everything that’s old is old-fashioned. Not everything that dates back a few years is dated. Not everything of the past is passe. We all need to look back on our experiences — we need our memories.

Besides, there are a lot things that with the years become more beautiful, more valuable, more fabulous. Aside from the usual things that people say get better with age — friendships, certain wines, certain cheeses, certain people… I thought I’d mention 3 old things that get just to good to let go of.

Old Trees

Image from Garden Pictures

Don’t axe that tree in the garden! The older trees get, the stronger, statelier and more graceful they are. Their trunks get chunkier, their branches reach higher and farther, and if they are fruit-bearing trees, they yield better fruits. Birds and other living things, including humans, like them better too.

Old Jeans

Image from Wendy's Lookbook

Also from Wendy's Lookbook

So a pair of jeans is no longer the same deep color as when you first wore it. And maybe it’s worn, and frayed, and faded in patches. It doesn’t mean goodbye — at least, not just yet. There’s a certain comfort and style in old jeans that make them favorite closet staples.

Image from Style Tips 101

Oh, would that we could all age as gracefully as denim… Maybe it’s all about a wabisabi vibe, or maybe it’s just that old jeans fit better, having known its owner’s hiney longer. They fade like they were meant to fade. And somehow they fray where frays and fringes look flatteringly best.

Old Songs

Sometimes we get too engrossed in the latest albums, the newest artists, the current number 1 song. Hype is how recording companies make their profit, after all. I personally like to give songs a bit of time before I give them room to embed in my head.

Time, for me, is the true test of a song’s substance. It separates the music from the fluff, and only the good ones last. If I can listen to it being played and overplayed in the radio and TV, in the mall PA system, and covered by showbands, and badly sung in karaoke joints, and if it still does not make me want to puke, then it may well be on its way to being a classic.

Same goes for movies. I just saw P.T. Anderson’s Magnolia again last weekend and was once again blown away by the craftsmanship that went into weaving all its mini stories together into an awesome cohesive whole. And I fell in love again with the music of Aimee Mann.

Watch the trailer.

So before you throw anything out, you may want to rummage through that discard bin again. There might be some keepers yet in there.

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