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When the Days Were Easier: A Tale of Nostalgia and Magic Carpets

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Sometimes I think about the days when me and my sisters all lived at home, and the nights we’d sit around the dinner table laughing. Then I think about going home to Toronto, and how it doesn’t feel the same. Going home doesn’t feel like going home. 

Maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up in the house my parents currently live in. Maybe it’s because my sisters all have partners. Maybe it’s because Ottawa is my home now.

I know it will never again be just the six of us. Toronto will always be where I’m from, and maybe one day I’ll live there again, but it’s not home. 

 This is my new normal. A whole new world order. I’ll never be able to walk down the hall to my sister’s room. I’ll never sit around a table with just my parents and my sisters. I can never really go home. 

The refrain of 10 Yearsby Classified says, “do you remember when the days were easier and everybody took the time?” I highly suggest you watch the music video. It’ll get ya right in the feels.

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The song follows Classified and three childhood friends, from being 10 years old playing in the forest, through their 20’s hitting the club, and into their 30’s at someone’s house for dinner. 

He talks about how he still sees his friends, but not as much. He says they’ve grown apart, but find time for each other. While reminiscing about being 10, he says ‘I miss those days, I miss those days, but after tomorrow I’ll miss today.’ 

How bitter sweet is that? Longing for days past while making new happy memories. I feel that way when I’m with my friends sometimes. I want everyone to move back to Sandy Hill, “when days were easier and everybody took the time.”

The world is living in a time of longing right now. Nostalgia is everywhere, especially on the big screen, and no one is cashing in more than Disney. From Alice in Wonderland to Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast to The Lion King, the one I was most worried about most was Aladdin.   

Will Smith as the Genie… I had doubts. 

When I saw him big and blue in the early Aladdin commercials, I feared the worst. I feared no one would be able to live up to Robin Williams. How could they? 

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I feared that not only would the film crumble around Smith’s performance, but with our current social culture, anyone who criticized him would be deemed racist. 

Turns out, anyone who criticizes him is just an idiot who hates fun and probably kicks puppies in their spare time. Mr. Smith, I owe you an apology. I’ve never been happier to be wrong.

WAIT! That’s not true. 

I thought the Raptors would lose in 7, but when we saw Lowry’s smile in the final seconds of game 6 with the crowd, nay, the country going wild… THAT’S when I’ve never been happier to be wrong… but that’s off topic. 

The day after watching the 2019 Aladdin, I re-watched the original. I hadn’t seen it in years. Maybe it was for the best. I was comparing the live action film to a distant memory. I was comparing this new Aladdin to a feeling. To nostalgia.  

This watch/re-watch also made me realize that Jasmine was kind of a badass. She has a new, more dominant plotline now, but even in the cartoon, she knew what she wanted and wouldn’t take less. 

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In 1992, Jasmine planned to escape her life, not just visit the city, and only returned to the castle to save Aladdin. She refused to marry someone she didn’t love, she figured out that Prince Ali was the boy from the market, and when it came time to distract Jafar, she outwitted him, even as the Genie was explaining the rules of wishes. 

I’ve read a few ‘not good enough’ and ‘should have been, could have been’ articles in the last couple days about this movie. I just wanted to remind people Will Smith wasn’t trying to replace Robin Williams, and the 1992 Jasmine was all right. 

The 2019 Aladdin had me smiling from ear to ear. Will Smith made me laugh, just like Robin Williams had. The songs made me happy, just like the original did. The movie made me feel, just like it did the first time around…and that’s what’s important. 

Not what was, not what could have or should have been. What is. I was watching what is, and I was fine with that. 

For a lot of people, I think their nostalgia for the 1992 Aladdin will stop them from loving, or even just liking this new one. I think nostalgia stops a lot of people from experiencing a lot of things… but not me. 

Sometimes, when I visit my family in Toronto, we still sit around the dinner table and laugh. There are just more of is now. My friends from Sandy Hill still hang out. But there are more of us there too. 

No, I can’t walk down the hall to see my sister, and I can’t walk down the street to see my friend, but I have this new version of my life, a whole new world order. Not what was, not what could have or should have been. What is. I’m living what is. I’m fine with that.

“Do you remember when the days were easier, and everybody took the time? I would like to say that there is still a way to live this life and end up fine.”

HannaH Sunley-Paisley