A Note on Nostalgia

     I can’t decide if nostalgia is an emotion I like or not.  I mean, it’s an ambiguous little brat of an emotion after all.  It cannot fully be described, only felt.  The dictionary gave it its very best shot, but failed.  Whatever it is, though, I experience it frequently.  I don’t so much long for the past…I’m just a sucker for it.  I have hot buttons:  the smell of the old Enka football field in Fall, various Fuel songs, the smell of cheap teenage boy colognes, seeing road signs that have been knocked down, Soffe brand shorts, watching my little sister make blue and white shirts for spirit week, various Indie rock songs, the beginnings of new seasons in general, passing Katelynn Graeme’s old house, etc…There are many.  People usually reserve thinking about these things for times they feel particularly down, and if we aren’t down we let these seemingly good memories open up some sort of Pandora’s box.  We actively seek out summers past, and times never to be revisited again just to torture ourselves in some sort of ticklish way. I’ve been guilty of this myself.  If you think you haven’t you’re lying to yourself, by the way.  The question is:  Why do we do it?  More importantly, why do we like the way it hurts us just enough?  These are good memories, but we, being all humans, use them to poke at ourselves with a stick a little bit.  After a nostalgic mood strikes we may as well end the night sucking air into a cavity, pulling a paper cut back apart, and finishing off a carton of milk just to spite ourselves in the morning.  It doesn’t matter how happy our lives are, how sound our marriages are, how good business is, or what impossible dreams are coming true…nostalgia is nostalgia.  In my case, and I’d say in most adult’s cases, the now is better than the then, but maybe the then was just so intense we never forget it.  It still teases us, and when it pops up, reminds us what newness feels like…it’s a first kiss, the first time a boy gives you his jacket in the cold, the first time you sit with a friend while she cries all night over a boy who works in fast food, the first time you lie to your parents…if only anything could ever feel that new again…but then if that could happen, there’d be no nostalgia…what then, would we have to make ourselves squirm that way in which we all seem to be so addicted?

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