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J.J. Bitters


How do we overcome being nostalgic for brands?

This list may sound harsh, but I can only be honest. Here are the first thoughts that hit me:

    1. Realize that brands only exist to get your money.

    Yes, I liked the Ninja Turtles when I was a child.

    When I got older, I realized that they (and every other cartoon) only existed to sell us toys. And while they sold us toys, they sold advertising space to other companies (to sell us more toys).

    The same is true for Star Wars and Marvel.

    They exist to make money. Your entertainment is an afterthought.

    2. Ask yourself what they ever gave you / why you like them so much

    I liked my Transformers action figures when I was a kid. They were neat.

    Beyond being neat, did they stir my soul? Did they open up my imagination to new possibilities and inspire me to view life as a profoundly poignant mystery of love, joy, and deeper connection?

    No. No they did not.

    3. Grow Up

    Harsh, yes. But come on.

    When I was little, I loved Nickelodeon. My friends stopped watching as we got older, but I still loved it. I feared that I'd never outgrow it.

    But eventually, it happened. I just wasn't interested.

    I let it go.

    And that's the essence of growing up. Learning to let go.

    "Kill the boy, Jon Snow. Kill the boy and let the man be born."

    4. Cultivate more social activities that connect you rather than disconnect you

    Brands sometimes hold fan conventions. This is a place to connect with people who enjoy the same stuff you do. This is fine. Sharing an enthusiasm for something and then connecting with others over it is great.

    But most of the time, you're just passively watching alone. Or maybe you watch with a friend, but you're not actively engaging with that friend. Rather than focusing your attention on each other, you're turned away and focused on a distraction.

    So be social. Go bowling. Play board games. Learn pickle ball. Enjoy your friends.

    Be an active participant rather than a passive consumer.

    5. Find a creative hobby and/or learn a new skill

    You can't "improve" upon being a fan of something.

    When you work to learn a new skill or practice your creativity, you release dopamine. This makes you feel good.

    But this isn't cheap dopamine, which happens with simple thrills and sensory pleasures. This is dopamine that's earned.

    Earned dopamine is a nutrient. Cheap dopamine is corn syrup.

    Nostalgic brand-names are feeding you corn syrup.

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