Nostalgia is a crazy thing, and it affects all of us. While people’s past may not be all happy sunshine and rainbows, in fact most aren’t, we still tend to hold things that we came to get used to pleasantly in the past as dear to our memories. It is very possible that we simply did not have standards back when we were 12, but regardless memories back then seemed so fondly and vague. Nostalgia is a truly powerful thing, affecting tastes all around. Later in life we have “acquired taste”, but earlier, it’s just childhood. Ultimately, what to make of ‘the good old days’ are for you to decide, but there’s nothing quite like taking a hit at the past.
Nostalgia is based on the fallacious notion that things were better when you were younger. Unfortunately, that usually is not at all the case. People were younger, more innocent, more influential, and tends to accept everything thrown their ways as part of their identity. It henceforth becomes so ingrained in that person’s mind and thus a hard thing to let go of. It clouds judgement, and it was the reason I make such a big deal of never seeing the movie before in my Wizard of Oz Tea Tales. Nostalgia is bias, and bias isn’t necessarily bad. It is, however, subjective as all hell. Thus, many art industries rode the nostalgia train like it’s the highway express, essentially lodging it into our minds, constantly reminding us of how we were back then. It’s also why we have this ’90’s kid’ bullshit, because the internet can’t let go of itself in a few years and have to make sure everyone constantly evokes the memory of a long-lost past.
Do you not remember when things were simply better? Back when everyone was normal and your teenage children’s compromising pictures were not on the internet, available for all to see? Back when there were no gays or scantily clad women, immigrants or terrible economy? To quote, “rhetoric rhetoric oppress oppress”. It depends on how old you are of course, but people are simply to limited in their scope of thinking. It’s like in the old days, people were so much closer and more trustworthy, and you can actually see a smile when they pass each other (I’m clearly not talking about America here). However, then I also remember that my bloody country was under war, people were dying left and right, and few people had enough to feed their own families. Everyone was smiling and trying to be positive, sure, but they were also doing that inside an underground bunker, with the risk of being blown up by (un)fortunately timed explosives.Perspective, as always, is crucial.
I have recently discovered a collection of native-language stories I used to write years ago, thanks to my mother who reminded me of it. All of them were dramatic retelling of my high school life, when I was in high school, so it was absolutely cringey as all hell. There is, however, a certain endearment I got from reading them again, even the crappy love letter I wrote to my first girlfriend. I became rather nostalgic and then sought to just contemplate on how life was back then for about an hour. Trust me, I know fully well how nostalgia can be. However, that is no excuse to the fact that all those stories were terribly written, regardless of how tear-shedding the subject matter was. It was essentially a matter of simply blinding myself momentarily from accurately judging what I have written. It is a painful process tearing my own work apart, but it would be for naught if I didn’t learn a thing from it.
After all, an inventor who gets attached can no longer invent. I suppose that’s the good side of nostalgia, where you’re aspiring towards a better tomorrow, or a better expression of whatever you happened to be nostalgic about. People usually don’t remember the context for those warm feelings, but that doesn’t mean they cannot help to replicate what was actually good about their past. It only truly becomes bad and destructive when people simply cling to the past and hold that as gospel, forcing others to bend to their version of the good old days. This kind of nostalgia does nothing but stifles progress, which is why I never regarded tradition as anything worth fussing over. If it’s nice and sentimental, nothing wrong with it, even if its beginnings were highly suspect and ingenuine. Those that get in the way, however, are prone to be discarded. Clinging to the past has never been considered a good thing, after all, except when people veil it as ‘culture’.
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