Recently I stumbled across a really old video of a commercial from Disney’s expired “Playhouse Disney”. This commercial was narrated by a character named clay, whose body was made of clay. He could bend into different shapes and turn into different colors. The immediate pang of nostalgia overwhelmed me. Of course this character means nothing to me now, and provides no entertainment, yet it brought me back to a time where I felt only happiness. I thought to myself as I watched this commercial; I would give anything to go back.
We feel nostalgic about things such as sights or smells because these things are usually associated with strong, happy memories. Although you may have not realized how happy you were in the moment that you experienced these certain things, your brain does, and remembers. Nostalgia is really bittersweet because although it makes you feel that initial happiness again, you can’t help but to compare it to the present. I find this to be odd. Twenty or so years from now I will probably feel nostalgic about something I’m currently experiencing, yet at the moment I feel nothing (figuratively of course. Expect a future blog about nothing). After thinking about that for quite some time, I feel like I should enjoy every day for what it is, because someday I will miss it.
However, what if nostalgia didn’t exist? Imagine a life in which you would wake up every day, go about your normal routine, and fall asleep at night without ever being able to experience a memory as emotionally as it was when it actually happened. If we could think about a memory and feel absolutely no emotion about it, life would be almost worthless. What would be the point in experiencing something if you can’t think back about how it made you feel? In the last year of my life I would like to reflect on all of the years that I lived, whether that is 26, 49, or 103, and feel an overwhelming amount of nostalgia about them. Although these memories are just as painful as they are happy because they are long gone, I enjoy playing them through my head.
I might not even have a full understanding of nostalgia. I am only seventeen years old so I don’t have nearly as many memories as the majority of the world. If I feel this nostalgic over a commercial from a TV show I use to watch as a child, how nostalgic will I feel if I live twenty more years?
It is slightly frightening, yet very exciting.
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