I must really be getting old. I’m beginning to sound like my mom—I catch myself beginning my statements with “In my time…” or “When I was five...” I used to cry when I watched sad movies. Now, what I watch does not have to be sad to make me cry.
I guess this nostalgia thing really comes with age—when you’ve been through so much and somehow survived! Merriam-Webster says it’s “pleasure and sadness that is caused by remembering something from the past and wishing that you could experience it again”. First coined in 1668 by Johannes Hofer, a Swiss physician and scholar, the term referred to a homesickness disease that was said to be fatal.
Good things are always nice to remember and who wouldn’t want to experience wonderful moments all over again? But sad, unfortunate events that we survived evoke the same sentiment: nostalgia. We are also nostalgic when we remember loved ones who have passed.
Some would insist, these are bittersweet memories—and yes, they are but the whole package gives us a sense of belonging, of having owned or at least, having lived.
As the old year passes, and we hear the New Year anthem “Auld Lang Syne,” we see those bright lights explode in the midnight sky amid tooting horns, firecrackers and other noisemakers. We hardly have time to be nostalgic about the passing year—until everything is quiet and we remember what-could-have-beens and what-ifs.
Tonight, I look forward to nostalgia once again as I prepare for the New Year. I have long given up preparing a midnight feast but continue some of my mother’s rituals like filling small glasses with essentials, putting coins on window sills and turning on all the lights.
I’m not really that old—I can’t retire yet, but I do know that I am old enough to feel nostalgic about the past year and all other things that make me cry!
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