Nostalgia is a very funny feeling to me. The main reason is that when I am nostalgic about the past, I always remember the glory days. It’s just that in my experience of time, the past is always wonderful. The future is always inviting. And the present moment is not the one that I want to be in right now.
The past and the future are wonderful moments to me because I am not in it. If I think about my childhood, it is wonderful. If I think about my college days, and similar events, they are all wonderful. If I think about what the future holds, I get excited. But when I think about the current moment, I just wish it would be different from what it is.
If you are in a situation that you don’t want to be in, then avoidance is a common approach that people take. I do the same thing. Are all my past days wonderful? Of course not. I hardly remember most of them. I just believe and think that those days were amazing because I am no longer in those situations.
There is a distance between those situations and me. Because many past events only exist in me as memories, they no longer play an important role in my current life. Memories are just like reading stories from a book. There is a first-person perspective to my stories, and I am also the writer of those stories. I choose to remember what I want to remember.
The same logic can be applied to the future. It is just more story writing of what has yet to occur. It is the projection of my expectations, a play on imaginations and desires.
Anytime when I am nostalgic about something, I feel an incredible surge of longing within me. It is just that certain moments in my life were so wonderful that they left a deep impression in me.
These moments can be coming across a song that I haven’t heard in years, eating a certain meal prepared in a similar fashion as a deceased loved one, watching an old cartoon show, and so much more.
Nostalgia takes me into a world of fantasy and make beliefs. I don’t really remember my past events the way that they are. The past only exists in me as memories. And all of them are exaggerated in many ways due to my bias perspective on life.
For example, there are so many memories in me. There are memories in my eyes. Certain people would stand out more than others. There are memories in my ears. Certain sounds and music are more pleasant to me than others. There are memories in my mouth. I like sweet food more than bitter ones. And so on and so forth.
If I make so much distinction between what is desirable and what is undesirable, then how can I ever look at life the way that it is? How are the past events not an illusion to me? I only remembered the bits and parts of them that I want. The rest are history and made-up.
Past, Future, and Now
The past and the future do not make any sense to me. I don’t think they even exist. My reasoning is that they only exist in the present moment.
For example, past events that happened ten years ago can only be experienced now. If you don’t recall your past, does it exist? It doesn’t exist anywhere in reality. It is just a memory in your brain.
The past is my imagination and memory of yesterday experienced today. The future is my imaginations and predictions of tomorrow projected today. Everything is just happening right now.
There is no timeline where past and future exist. Everything is superimposed on each other. The past is now. The future is also now. There will only ever be now, now, and now. Not past, present, and future. What happened ten years ago was now. What will happen ten years in the future will also be now. These moments are not separated. They are all one, superimposed on itself.
What does any of this have to do with nostalgia? Nostalgia is the projection of the past onto today. It is a certain longing for the beauty of what was. A certain longing for what has been.
One of the most beautiful things about being a human being is our capability to think whatever we want. We have an enormous backlog of memory to think about. If you have a strong, vivid imagination, then using it to create wonderful memories at this very moment can be an amazing experience by itself. You can take a memory and load it up in your brain. You can rewind it just like a video tape.
There is nothing wrong with thinking about the past. There is nothing wrong with wishing for a better tomorrow. I spend a lot of my time fantasizing about past events, or even nonexistent scenarios.
The issue is that if you linger in the past or the future for too long, you forget your very existence here. Your psychological process would become stronger than the fact that you are alive right now. Truth is, memories exist only as a part of the thinking process. They are mental constructs created by you.
We can ponder about the wonders of the past, but essentially, we remembered them solely because those were normal moments in your life when you were truly alive. This is true for me because most of the things that I am nostalgic about were things that made me ecstatic.
If I am incredibly happy and excited at this very moment, then I won’t need to dig into my memory bank to create anything in my mind. If this moment is incredible to me, then it will become a memory that I will reminisce about later.
So being nostalgic about the past is a certain longing for how you feel within yourself. If you come alive right now, then the desire of wanting certain things to be this way or that way won’t arise. You’ll be okay with anything.
Moment by Moment
Life didn’t happen yesterday. Nor will it happen tomorrow. It is happening now and always now, so don’t project yourself too far into the future. Don’t dig too deep into the memories of yesteryears.
Life happens moment by moment. It doesn’t happen in years. So conduct your life in moments. Make each moment the best it can be. That is how you should live your life. Because if this moment is conducted well, then it is eternity to you.
The quality of your life is essentially how you are this very moment. It didn’t matter what happened to you years ago, or what will happen to you years from now. It is how you are at this moment that defines your quality of life.
Yes, I can’t stop thinking about some events in the past. I think about close friends. I think about love interests. I think about tragedies that occurred. I think about all these past events because they are no more and never will be anymore.
But you know what? This very moment is just like that. It’s 3:40 PM of November 12, 2018. There will never be another moment just like this! Every moment is special because every moment is once in a lifetime and never more.
There will be many moments in my life when I reminisce about the past. But I won’t resist the process. I will do this because I understand that there is no such thing as separate events and days. Everything is interconnected.
Because of those unforgettable events in my past, I am here where I am today. I am nostalgic about the past because it connected me to where I am now. What I am experiencing now is the consequence of my past actions. It always has been.
So there is no separate event here either. It is just one continuous life. This is true because what I experienced ten years ago, I can experience today. Even what I suffered many years ago, I can still suffer today! Our mental capability is limitless. We can experience so many things as reality.
In fact, even falsehood can be experienced as real. There are so many things that don’t exist, but I can experience them to be more real than reality. I know this because pretty much everything that I experienced are not real. They are illusions and desirable scenarios created with a deep sense of yearning and attachment.
I know for sure that I have a huge attachment to my past because I have unconsciously empowered my emotions over my awareness. Because my emotions were energized to a high level, certain past events stood out more than others.
I have an emotional investment in my past, so naturally nostalgia is my interest. Anywhere I go, I tend to carry the same thing within me. It is no wonder I experience so many things the same way.
The amazing thing is that life is so generous. It allows us to experience anything. It doesn’t limit you to what you can experience. For that I am thankful, but I know that I don’t want to be lost forever. Still, I want to see things just the way they are.