The past is as elusive a dream as the future. Always distorted. Always yearned for. Always seen as better days. It keeps you from the truth of the present and the pain of reality.
It is seen as something beautiful, something irrevocable and somewhere that will always be better than where you are now.
Because of its distorted and pleasant qualities, you spend days wrapped up in the fantasy of it, longing for it the way some lovers do. This yearning, this distorted idea of better days and times you wish were again is known as nostalgia.
Extreme nostalgia is diagnosed as depression. Indulging in memories of the past is a sign of homesickness and refusal to enjoy the present.
Nostalgia is not about remembering memories. Nostalgia does not relate to a specific memory, but rather an emotional state.
You put an emotional state within an era, or a specific frame, and choose to idealize that specific time. You deduce that because you remember the feeling of happiness. Your childhood must have been better than right now.
Nostalgia, like sorrow and happiness, is a universal feeling. It is a feeling that all races, cultures and ages share. We all grow nostalgic for the past, even if it is not the same one we share.
More powerful than the future, the past gives us reason to carry on. Rather than facing the unknown of the future, we go back to the past to remember why life is worth living.
We connect to the memories of happiness to give us faith in the future.
I am – yet what I am none cares or knows;
My friends forsake me like a memory lost:
I am the self-consumer of my woes –
They rise and vanish in oblivious host,
Like shadows in love’s frenzied stifled throes
And yet I am, and live – like vapours tossed
Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life or joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life’s esteems;
Even the dearest that I loved the best
Are strange – nay, rather, stranger than the rest.
I long for scenes where man hath never trod
A place where woman never smiled or wept
There to abide with my Creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie
The grass below – above the vaulted sky.