Nostalgia can come in all shapes and sizes, provoked by the most mundane of things, and often immediately tugs at the five senses with vivid detail in remembered points of the past. With social media so readily available at the fingertips of the masses, this sensation is very easy to obtain and embrace. Memories of last night’s shenanigans start their upload to take their place next to last week’s, scrolling through weeks, months, and years of your own adventures or highlights from the lives of others, whether they be friends you have long lost touch with or ones you met just recently.
Though I do not typically reminisce, everything seemed to fall into place for me to do so the other day. A new cover photo based on March Madness brought likes from those I would not have pegged as being basketball fans; I figured that I actually had no idea of knowing as I had not seen some of them since 2007. A quick scroll down the Facebook feed brought up the usual array: some posts from Spotted At Mac, people’s comments on statuses old and new that included some more designed exercises in nostalgia with the #tbt hashtag, pictures of old hookups, friends of all sorts, and artists barely listened to anymore.
I sent a quick message to someone to buy something from their post that connected to media influential to my teenage years. Why not? I figured that I might as well add something new to the old collection.
As thoughts raced about events and memories that pertained to each, individual person or event seen, there was one rather lengthy status from an old friend that created the highest emotional toll. I always thought of myself as not just a friend, but a mentor to him as we both enjoyed performing, perfecting, and discussing music. It was a release for the both of us and most certainly one of the best parts of our day as it was for most of the musicians I knew. While I went onto other pursuits at McMaster, he went onto a prominent music college in the states with dreams far more passionate than mine. Unfortunately, he dropped out due to mental health issues, primarily depression, and moved back to be closer to home and the support system there.
This status in particular was a complete opening up. It revealed rather personal details about his upbringing and situation; he seemed completely willing to expose the less-than-ideal aspects about himself in a way rarely seen done by anyone. While some things may not be desirable to hear, I could not help but feel quite happy for him as he seemed to be progressing towards being happier and letting go of some mental frustrations.
Nostalgia is a very odd emotion in that it can make you happy that you experienced certain events in the past, but maybe a little upset that you cannot go back and relive those moments again. It can fuel our decisions in the present and future to reconnect with people and it can even change our perception of the past over time as any negative aspects of great times are forgotten in favour of the total emotion.
Some memories, however, have to be fully embraced and opened up to release mental strains in any forms of anxiety, regret, or whatever other negative connotation may be associated with the past.
It was Edgar Allan Poe who stated, “It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think our present existence, as a dream,” to which I encourage you to make peace with your past and attempt to embrace all forms of nostalgia in an effort to make your present self one that your future can look back on in a positive way.