Awwww the good ol’ days, we’ll sigh as we braid our hair milkmaid-style, hop on our bikes and head to the farmers market. Stopping at our favorite roaster on the way, we’ll proceed, double macchiato in hand, to fill our organic cotton totes with local eggs and other bounties of the land. Surrounded by a steady stream of tourists and honking cars, we’ll dream of simpler days where we’d wake up with the sun, frolic across fields and kiss our milking cows good morning, before reaping the daily lot.

The remainder of the day would get lost in a joyous fog of baby goats, laughing children, clean white linen drying in the sun, and the smell of freshly baked apple pie — and end with a wild whoopee in the barn, with our sun-kissed and toned significant other — before sinking into a warm, claw-foot tub, accompanied by our favorite book and a glass of home-brewed wine.

In our romanticized, rustic daydreams of times far gone, we selectively forget that a the so called “simple life” was everything but just that. A few generations back, my own grandparent’s siblings, in Norway, were dying like flies from a country-wide tuberculosis epidemic. Those who weren’t, were hustling, dawn till dusk, to bring food to the table, and transforming their bedding into winter coats during the WWII nazi occupation. With a life expectancy of about 20 years short of today, concepts like “following your dreams” and “exploring the world” had not even been invented.

Every now and again, things like a broken washing machine (just happened yesterday), prompting us to spend upwards of half an hour (I know right…) squeezing water out of soaking wet laundry till our hands tremor, remind us that the cute vintage washboard we picked up at the flea market and repurposed into a magnetic, chalk-painted message board for our hallway, actually used to be a bare necessity.

There is so much to learn from the generations before us, but for us, and other incurable nostalgics, it’s critical to acknowledge and be thankful for the fact that we now are fortunate enough to have a choice. We can choose to upcycle that blanket into a warm, winter poncho, grow our own carrots or pickle our own cucumbers. We can go off the goddamn grid and tweet about it! As I place an order on my smart-phone for a new second-hand washing machine to be delivered the next day, I contemplate just how unique of a position we are in, to be able to choose the best from the past and combine it with the technology and countless benefits of our time — as well as the responsibility that comes with it.

Above: Cows, Sign, Drying Laundry, Cloth pins

In our romanticized, rustic daydreams of times far gone, we selectively forget that a the so called “simple life” was everything but just that. […] With a life expectancy of about 20 years short of today, concepts like “following your dreams” and “exploring the world” had not even been invented.

Above: Harvesting beets, Dining table, Rain boots, Girl with Cow

We can choose to upcycle that blanket into a warm, winter poncho, grow our own carrots or pickle our own cucumbers. We can go off the goddamn grid and tweet about it!

Above: Girl in summer dress, Farmer kitchen, fresh eggs, baby goats

Featured image via Flickr.