Nostalgia. Friend or Foe?



Friend or foe?

For those of you not too familiar with the word I will allow permit the Google definition.

“A sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past”

Remembering the ‘good old days’ is a warming notion. Being able to race back in time to reminisce on the beauty of how good life was to us. Even for myself, being filled with the deepest feeling of it always makes me want to give up my days and go back. Sometimes I want to rearrange some things to make my story sound more interesting. I wished I was naughtier so my stories have a bit more spice. (Although there’s more than enough spices in them). But even still, the love I have for my youth only inspires me to keep my childlike self aglow.

However in discussion with my dearest friend, we also discovered how much this was a danger. I did express to her that I want to be back at that former self. It’s not because I am in misery in my present it’s vaguely because of the aliveness I once felt. You know as we pass life, there are aspects of us that we should indeed leave behind.  My friend told me that it’s very dangerous an although it may “work for now but in your 30’s and 40’s we cannot be our teenage selves.

With deep affection, I do long for the days. But I figured it’s not about the people. Not about the place. Not even for my guy back in them days. But for the free spirit girl. I don’t think it’s unrealistic to want to crave to be her. But in essence I know I can never be as free as she was because she had zero responsibility and even for herself.  Why I sink into myself sometimes is because of how I behaved even with the most dangerous situations.  I was a teenager and he wasn’t. Yet I was in love, I kept saying, I enjoyed that high and when that high went I sank. And I still try to find definition of who I was before I got involved with it all. Just as I was becoming, this big mental mess is just me trying to get into a good place again.

I want to splash out all reasons why nostalgia is good and bad for us today. Whether it makes for a friend or a foe. Here are my findings:

Why it makes a good friend?

  • For the purpose of the spirit, spiritually we need to reconnect to our childlike selves. As said in the four agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz that ‘who we are childlike’. You see when we are playful and loving without shelter. But as we grow up we learn to act with responsibility. With these we become suspicious; we lose our innocence and wander. We need those days for inspirations.
  • It warms and comforts us when the present is distant from love.
  • As we adapt through life, the way Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat Pray Love describes the Augusteum as being crumbled to ruins yet still stands we still rise.
  • Brene Brown in her book rising strong speaks of Nostalgia being a good reference point for moving forward ‘wholeheartedly’
  • A good friend could be nice to us but won’t always tell us what we need to hear.


Why it could go against us…Foe

  • Threatening because it distracts us from the present moment.
  • The way to heal the past is to live fully upbeat in the moment. To fill our lives with meaning by being authentic and owning our live by the thick of it.
  • Who we were might be a fascinating thing but it’s very limiting. What we would to do is create everything again, whether that’s starting over… using who we once was as a foundations.
  • We can’t always press rewind. We might pause. But pressing play is always a lot better. Even the parts we want to miss.
  • Also in Rising Strong Brene Brown investigated that nostalgia cannot tell us the whole truth. Also that memory picks the parts it wants to remember. It sometimes can be unrealistic.

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Put both feet in the now instead of one stretching in the back. It’ll be painful if the escalator was going upwards and we keep one kept behind, eventually we have to continue going in the way of the wind. We can never get those days back. We can’t even get ourselves back. All we can do is keep a pocket of what we want to keep and forge a better us. For the sake of whom we are- Right now.

I guess the real us in stable in spirit but never stable in circumstance.  Going too far back can’t always give the answer. But as we step into time we piece the puzzle ourselves. Our real self always comes with us anyway. If let be. Leave Nostalgia where it is.





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