If you could have one wish would it be to revisit your past? Over the past week I’ve gone through old photos from when I was in band and choir during high school to listening to songs ranging from Avril Lavigne and the Fray to Kingdom hearts, Girls Generation and Avatar the Last Air Bender. You can probably guess the type of person I was in high school and while I may have seemed like a total “geek” I have been missing a lot of those times.
The amount of negative connotations associated with nostalgia are endless. People may assume that those who reflect on their “good ol’ days” dread living in the now. And you know what? I think people who believe that may have a point. Some individuals probably do dread living in the now because life isn’t easy. As a person who enjoys escaping reality through writing stories, reading and netflix I can’t necessarily fault individuals who choose to daydream or who take time out of their day to reflect on the past. On the other hand I believe in doing everything in moderation.
When is reflecting on one’s past life healthy or unhealthy? Is there a time to let go of reminiscing on the good ol days?
These are just a few of the questions I have about nostalgia that I do not have answers to. I only have opinions and circular thoughts that seem to have trouble setting on a solid stance. One thing I know for sure about nostalgia is that if reminiscing is preventing you from moving on or growing then I would say that is unhealthy.
Personally, I have always looked down on reminiscing on the past because I feared it. I believed that constantly looking at “what was” would keep me from thinking about “what could be”. Somewhere between then and now I changed.
I think what changed were my beliefs about myself. Once I learned that my past did not have to be a chain is when I realized that it can be a catalyst. Our past can serve whatever purpose we want it to for our future. We have so much agency as individuals over our own lives and sometimes we need to decide how our past experiences (good or bad) will influence our now.
I think one way to use nostalgia is to ask ourselves, “what can I do today” that I will enjoy reminiscing on four years from now? In other words, “what can I do to make my now enjoyable and spectacular?”. Each person has their own answer to this question, but I think one thing we all can do is to continue to take risks and to make ourselves uncomfortable with complacency.
Some practical applications can be to discover new music instead of listening to the same songs or genre, find a new hobby and if you can travel.