Why Am I So Nostalgic?

Erik Bascome, Sports Editor

As I scramble around campus day by day—from classes, to meetings, to club events—I constantly find myself think-

5yqAK3Hcing back to simpler times. Times when my biggest concern after coming home from school was deciding which video games to play, not desperately searching for a job as I am now.

Over the past few years I’ve become a very nostalgic person. While some write it off as “living in the past,” I have embraced it to the fullest. I still play Pokémon, I reread the Percy Jackson series I finished in 8th grade, and I even have a box in my bedroom back home labeled “Memories” that’s full of various toys and trinkets I collected growing up.

So, why is it that so many young adults like myself have this overwhelming desire to go back in time?

First and foremost, we yearn for the carefree nature of our youth; a world without stress and responsibilities. As young adults, we are in the most tumultuous time of our lives, shifting from the comfort and safety of childhood and adolescence into the independent responsibility of adulthood. It stands to reason that while freaking out about getting a job, finding an apartment, and paying bills, we would want to go back to a time when we didn’t have to worry about such things.

Instead, we think back to the wondrous days of our childhood where the sun was always shining, the birds were always singing, and everything in our lives was perfect. But was it? When we think back to past events, we don’t remember them as they truly occurred. Our brain distorts the memory, leaving us with a personal idealized account of what happened.

We selectively recall the memories that made us happy, while ignoring things that may have upset us. You may remember hitting that walk-off homerun for your Little League baseball team but probably don’t remember your pet goldfish dying that same night.

But nostalgia isn’t really about the memories themselves at all. It’s about how we felt at the time. It’s about getting back to the emotional state of youthful will and exuberance; back when life was carefree and fun, and the idea of stress was foreign.

It’s not necessarily that we want to relive our memories; we just want to feel the same way now as we think we felt then.

So, are there any benefits to nostalgia? Or am I really just “living in the past”?

According to John Tierney of the New York Times, nostalgia can counteract depression by decreasing loneliness and anxiety and

promoting personal interactions.

By reflecting fondly upon the past, we increase hopefulness for the future.

Feelings of nostalgia also have the ability to bring people together because it is something that we can all agree on. Everyone experiences nostalgic thoughts at some point, regardless of race or gender. As we reminisce with others over childhood memories, it helps build our personal relationships and promotes empathy.

While it’s important to live in the present and plan for the future, there’s nothing wrong with looking to the past from time to time. By remembering the moments in which we felt pure bliss, we can strive to once again reach that elusive state.

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