I have a bad habit. Well, I have lots of them. This time I’m referring to a particular one that I think a lot of us share.
Nostalgia’s not what it used to be (Photo credit: marc e marc)
I tend to spend a lot of time think about “how it was.”
That’s not such a big deal sometimes. We all get nostalgic from time to time and there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem that some of us run into, is that we start thinking that things ‘were better when…’
There’s a serious flaw in that logic. Things may have been better at a previous time. The difference is, that we are never that person again. Not exactly, anyway. Whatever event it is that we’re trying to re-live or re-create changed us in some way. Every little event acts in concert to turn us into the people that we are at this very moment. Going back wouldn’t allow you to take all the knowledge you’ve gained and the person you are back to that previous time.
We are ever-changing entities. Life is a series of moments. The Doctor might argue that time is “A big ball of wibbly, wobbly, timey, wimey stuff,” but that doesn’t stop us from perceiving it as linear. Since we perceive it as linear, then it makes a lot more sense to view everything as operating in series, as opposed to in parallel. That means that at any given moment, you can never be what you once were. It’s impossible because every situation, every decision, every action no matter how minute changes us.
As an ever-changing creature it’s sometimes hard to decide if we are growing or sinking, better or worse, than we were just a few moments ago. The biggest issue with thinking this way is that you’re always perceiving everything through a macroscopic lens. Everything looks huge and it’s hard to see where on thing ends and another begins. We’re too close to the graph line to figure out if it’s headed up or down or neither. The best thing we can do its to take a step back every so often.
In order to see the bigger picture or the graph, you have to take a step back and do some evaluating. For instance, It’s hard to say whether I’m overall a better person today than I was yesterday, but I can tell you almost for sure that I’m better than I was 2 years ago. You might call it perspective, but the goal is to try to look at things on the whole as opposed to on a moment to moment basis.
It’s just something to think about the next time you ind yourself not just nostalgic for someone or something from your past, but really wanting to be back there. Even if you went back, it wouldn’t be the same. you’d just end up disappointing yourself. So enjoy those feelings of nostalgia, but remember that you are an infinitely different person than you were even last week. It can just be hard to see that until you can look at it over a larger period of time.
Do you ever catch yourself doing this? Do you try to re-capture it? or just enjoy the moment?