Nostalgia’s just the longing for a time you know you can survive.” Richard Greenberg

Disney Movie pics.

I love looking back on old memories and reminiscing as much as anyone. Sometimes a little too much. I have serious nostalgia for the 90’s and old Disney movies. I also have a strong longing for anything 80’s because I love the older feel and the style. 80’s music and movies bring a very strong comfort to me.  Even watching Stranger Things makes me instantly happy, because I feel like I am stepping into a time machine. It’s something that runs in the family because some of my siblings are the same way.

Nostalgia can be nice because it brings you to a really warm and fuzzy spot, where you travel down memory lane and think about the good times. It creates a fuzzy filter over your brain and helps you think back to really great moments. I like to think of nostalgia as a really good dream, where everything is going right and it all feels good, and then it slowly starts to turn into a nightmare. You get scared and possibly even a little depressed. When nostalgia and reality meet, it’s like two positive sides of a magnet trying to come together. They just don’t mesh.

We can be lost in old memories and fill our hearts up with feelings of nostalgia. Sometimes, it’s a little necessary because it provides a sense of comfort. But, it can easily start to mess with your head. Because while looking back and remembering and appreciating those moments feels good, once you come back to the present moment, it’s hard to face what is truly reality.

Nostalgia can be a form of a crutch. It takes you away from the present moment, which could be full of things that we don’t want to face right now. I usually feel it strongly around holidays and my birthday. Instead of appreciating those specific moments for what they are, I always look back instead. I look back on moments where I truly believed my life was better. I had all of my family, I was still a kid, and I was able to just live. Innocence and nostalgia go hand in hand. When we are pushed into the harsh realities, it can be so difficult sometimes.

It’s easier to look back and remember a time when things weren’t hard or scary. When we had our parents hand to hold onto, and when we could take naps during the day.

The last year or so I was becoming nostalgic more and more. I was really trying to live anywhere but in the present, because I wasn’t very happy. It can be hard to face what is hurting your happiness when you don’t understand that your happiness is being hurt. It wasn’t until maybe 3 months ago when I started to learn how to be more present.

There were a few things that happened with this. And I’ve started to notice it very well. I don’t feel so nostalgic anymore. The burning feeling isn’t so strong. My memories have quieted a little, and I have been living in the present more and more often. With focusing more on yourself and these moments, it can feel like you might lose those sweet memories. If we don’t hold these close to our heart, won’t we just forget? This isn’t necessarily the case. Because nostalgia has a way of bringing out old memories you haven’t thought about in months or years, or maybe even since the even happened. That’s the beauty of it, is it holds onto these memories for us. So we can focus more on the present than focusing so much on the past.

I used to have a lot of memories that would pop up randomly throughout the day. Sometimes repeats, but it was kind of like That’s So Raven when she has those visions. Except in reverse. And it really got to me. I missed things so bad.

Recently I have started to be more aware of what I am doing right now. I write every day about the day. I make sure to write down something I am grateful for. In those moments throughout the day where I feel overwhelmed or scared even, I put my feet on the ground and take deep breaths and think about what I am doing in that exact moment. Instead of looking backwards and getting lost in a hole of sad thoughts and thinking things aren’t the same, I allow myself to listen to my surroundings. I fill up my lungs and think about what I am doing right in that moment. It’s usually when I am at work and I ask myself, ‘what kind of work am I doing? Why am I doing this? What do I smell right now? Can I hear anything?’ Instead of going backwards, something that really helps is being completely aware of all of your senses. It can really help to ground you.

Our brains can float away from the moment. We can get lost thinking about what needs to get done that day, what people we need to see, comparing ourselves to others. It’s so very easy to just release your brain. But, when you really hold onto those moments and let your brain come right back into the present, nostalgia doesn’t stop by for a visit so often.

I thought that letting go of nostalgia would mean I’d be letting go of other things. But, it really is just letting go of comparing who I am now to who I was then. Instead of thinking of how things used to be so great, I think of how great things are now. And this helps tremendously. I am not expert and I know this isn’t a permanent fix. But, there are many benefits of learning how to be fully present in your life and take every moment for exactly how it is. That way, in the future, you won’t look back on this time and remember how good it used to be. Because you know you will have lived this moment fully present. There won’t be any need to look back.