A bitter sweet dichotomy
I want to kick off this year with an entry i drafted towards the end of 2022, it feels like the right time to express how i felt/have been feeling about being overindulgent on nostalgic feelings and how detrimental it can be by swaying our attention sometimes from reality and our current predicaments as a result of the warmth, sweet melancholia and perceived “pleasant” memories we can associate with the nostalgia we feel. Primariliy, it should be a good feeling, something that soothes us, leaves us feeling so connected and inspired enough to recreate those fond memories or even better ones in the present and foreseeable future as a result of the secure, safe , and comforting emotions evoked thinking about those simpler times.
Nostalgia can be toxic.
It is good to look back and smile at the “good old days” but in the same breath it can foster some sort of jadedness if it’s done in an excessive manner. You can lose track of your journey, get stuck in the past. Yearning for people, things and experiences that cannot be recreated and have already run its ideal course in your life as opposed to forging right ahead in the “Now” of life which is exactly the predicament i found myself in. I was not just in a reminiscent state but longing to have a taste of those friendships, music, feelings and experiences that once were the highlight reel of my life. I found myself constantly thinking of when life was supposedly “easier” and the things i once considered worrisome in that era of my life were miniscule in comparison to the modern day dilemma we find ourselves in but such is life. struggles are relative. I was lost in the past to a great extent just trying to hold on to memories of people, places and even emotions i could have sworn i killed off years ago but there’s nothing a deep breath, introspection and good old self-auditing cant fix.
Nostalgia blinds us to the flaws of our timelines because what we choose to remember are the “good” aspects of our memory banks. sometimes we are blinded because we totally ignore the imperfection and blemishes of those “good times”. The opposite of nostalgia in my mind would be regret and naturally the human mind would shy away from unpleasant memories so sometimes the good times are exaggerated to a small degree.
“Remembrance of things past is not necessarily remembrance of things as they were” — Marcel Proust
What then is life if we aren't forming/building new core experiences and memories with our people?
An indicator of a person(s) relevance in my life in more recent times has been determined by a couple of factors ranging from character, consistency, care, competence, core memories created, the quality and quantity of experiences I've not just had over time but actively continue to create with said person(s). If the foundation and core of our relationship lies in certain things that happened over 5–10 years ago, a connection based on so many “Remember when” scenarios and we cant actively point to more recent commonalities in our growth from “Then” to “Now” unfortunately; we may not be “Guys” as much as you'd like that to be true. i can instead say “you once knew me” simply because the person i am today and hopefully the person you are today also differs drastically from who we were in said time period. New found beliefs, ideas, ways of thinking, actions, experiences and mannerisms have been formed over the developing years to support our growth “if any” has even occurred which is why a level of relativeness and commonality in the the human/growing experience is an essential indicator for someone like myself.
“Nostalgia is sentimentality for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations”
Yes! nostalgia ultimately is a good feeling, Collective or personal, it has its positive effects; dealing with anxiety and reducing stress but this particular entry is speaking to the adverse effects and how easily these good feelings can turn into brooding and regrets like i said earlier.
Now more than ever, entertainment and pop culture feeds on our nostalgic tendences by targeting our vulnerabilities and we see and hear it clearly in the samples of music we listen to, tv shows being remade to “fit” into the new timeline all in an effort to recall positive emotions linked to a past time in our lives that was so “rosy” which in turn leads to indulgence as a result of said recall. Dwelling on these emotions sometimes can lead to misery, it blurs the lines (we sometimes remember romanticized versions of events which creates a false security blanket), takes your attention away from the present, keeps your mind stuck in the past and sometimes leads to isolation when it is excessive like i mentioned earlier.
“What you end up remembering isn’t always the same as what you have witnessed.”
― Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending
Grounded in “now”
My goal lately lies in the “Now” of things, the current situation and creation of new connections, moments and some of the best memories that i can look back at a year from now and call positive nostalgic recalls. I don't want to have to reach so far back in my memory bank before i can access these feelings which is something i suffer and why a mindful approach is one i will actively take going into not just my personal but also our collective growth and development as friends this year. We need to have some sort of relativeness and solidarity if the intention is to build genuine friendships and a solid support system of like-minded individuals.
“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you; spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” — Amy Poehler
Wishing everyone a wonderful and fulfilling 2023. Hoping its a year to be fully immersed in our personal and collective development with intent and all attention on the “here” and “now”, making ourselves useful as friends and i ask again that each of you hold me accountable to my contribution(s) on this planet. Don’t let me off the hook!
Some of my love🖤,