Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Saturday, April 16, 2011

N - is for Nostalgia

I think nostalgia is a dangerous thing.

Wikipedia defines nostalgia as "yearning for the past, often in idealized form". That pretty much defines what my life has been for the last year - yearning for the "idealized" part of my past.

I know all the cliches.

Life is about changes. Nothing stays the same. We all change. When life sends you lemons, make lemonade. I know all that! But when I think about the past - and it is idealized I recently discovered - I can't help but be nostalgic for what I preceive to have lost.

Even if it was not as good as I remember, I would like maybe one of these back.

A time when:
  • My husband had his full eye sight and could drive. We could hike and enjoy the outdoors.
  • Mom was able to think and function on her own. She didn't need a caregiver.
  • Broken family relationships were whole.
  • I wasn't pre-diabetic.
  • My grand-dog meathead wasn't epileptic.
  • I vacationed and spent holidays with my extended family.
  • I could sleep through the night without interruption.
Of course, nostalgia steals from me the wonderful things I have now.
  • My husband still has sight.
  • We have a happy and healthy marriage despite the extreme pressures of the past year.
  • My mom is still alive and living with me.
  • I have a wonderful family generally - better than most despite recent losses.
  • I have my health.
  • My adult kids are part of my life. They are successful and happy.
  • I have friends and family that have been there for me ... and not just when things are going well.
  • Meathead's seizures are finally - after many years - controlled with meds.
  • My son is engaged to be married to a beautiful and caring woman who fits our family perfectly.
  • I have more wonderful bullets here - than in my nostalgic first list.
The word nostalgia has a nice homey feel to the ear. But when the emotion of nostalgia is examined under the microscope, it is an emotion that puts you at a disadvantage. It takes rather than gives. It is only good when looking in photo albums, not in living your life.

So my mantra?
Wanting what you cannot have from the past (or the future) - is bad. Focus on the now - and enjoy it!

I work on that every single day.


  1. I am facing the same reality right now. Im so glad you can see the positives, its very inspiring, thankyou.

  2. Ahh, nostalgia, how well do I know it! :) I find it strange because when I look back, things are always better than when I actually lived them. I hate that feeling. And you're right, we should rather focus on the things we have right now than to live in memories.
    - andrea, an A to Z participant

  3. I liked the message, Retired knitter.

    Now is what is real. :-)

  4. I really enjoyed reading this post - It is easy to get nostalgic and miss life as it is happening - I used to spend a lot of time in this state until I realised that the memories were growing further and further away and I wasn't replenishing them. A blog friend of mine sent me this message, and I hope you like it - Please remember Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and only the present is mine.

  5. This was a good one. Good sensible advice. I am as guilty as anyone of reliving the past, and, of course I only relive the good stuff. Why would anyone want to revisit the bad stuff? This is why nostalgia works so well. We all know we don't want to go back and do it again. Hmmm....I think I just had an idea for a post.

  6. It is interesting just how common an emotion this is. Our basic human experiences are very similar.

    Thank you for your comments and sharing.

  7. I like your reflection and how you transition from the past to the present.

    Great post, Elaine!


  8. Being thankful for what you have now I think is so important. It's hard to complain or feel sad when you are thankful.
    It is one way I deal with things on those days when things don't seem so happy.

  9. Absolutely agree with your sum up at the end of your post - and I need to remember it more often :-)
    Thanks for the nudge!
    All best

  10. I would agree with this. There is some good and some bad in everything and we should focus on the aspect that makes our present life better and steers us on the best course for the future. I enjoy remembering the past, but I like to look at it realistically, including the fact that I can't have it back.

    Tossing It Out


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