I experienced my first real bout of nostalgia the other day. It was so unexpected and eye-opening, and it took me by surprise.
I was ripping music from my CD's onto the computer so that I would be able to put them on my iPod or listen to them in random with all my other music. I came across a CD that I hadn't seen since before I was pregnant with my daughter, from back in grade 10. It was from a band that was made up of friends of mine from that year; they had made their own CD and sold it in the high school. I started listening to it, and memories of high school came rushing back to me.
This made me think. Nostalgia is typically something that you experience many years after the instance or time in your life, or so I thought. It always seemed to me that people became nostalgic of things that were over 20 years past, things they could never return to. Maybe my impression of nostalgia was incorrect, but it had worked for me so far.
Is nostalgia just wishing for what is past? Can a child experience genuine nostalgia? These are questions that have populated my mind. So I looked it up!
According to Dictionary.com, nostalgia is: a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one's life, to one's home or homeland, or to one's family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time.
Based on this definition, surely everyone can experience nostalgia, whether it is for something 50 years past or only one.
Memories are surely a very important thing in life, and they keep us looking forward and back at the same time. Nostalgia can be a negative thing, as much as any form of remembering the past. The key is to not let it take over. Remembering the past can keep you from repeating past mistakes, and help to warn you when there is something unsettling around. But they can’t be allowed to take over the primary part of the brain, because then nothing will move forwards.
Allow yourself to remember things that have passed, and think of them fondly. Remember the good times, and the bad times, and use these memories to move forward in life.
Have you ever experienced nostalgia? Did you feel that it affected you positively or negatively?