Word of the Month: Nostalgia

| September 24, 2017 | 0 Comments

My word of the month is nostalgia.

I know how to spell it, and I know how to use it in a sentence. I know the adjective form of it, and I know how to pronounce it, but what I do not know is how to stop making it a theme in every conversation I have.

If my conversation does not involve the global limbo we are in, it involves romanticizing some elements of the past. For example, I look back fondly at Freshman Year. Have I become that nostalgic that I don’t remember the crying and the insecurity that shaped most of my time in those dormitory halls? Apparently, I have. However, apparently so has everyone.

Nostalgia has become a wistful smile, a collective sigh, and a constant need to unfailingly recreate our past (Fuller House, I am looking at you). If I am talking on the subject of my toddler naiveté, I can go on for hours. Ask me one question about my adult aspirations, and I will freeze. Now, that is a problem.

The problem, though, is not about the fairness of romanticizing the past. The problem is that nostalgia has become a coping mechanism, and I cannot blame anyone for that. When I think of the job applications I have to start next semester, it is obviously easier for me to remember the pesky college essays I had to do a few years ago. After all, I am in college! I made it.

Will I make it in the future?

photo credit: Juan Lauriente Tiempo... via photopin (license)

photo credit: Juan Lauriente Tiempo… via photopin (license)

Historians rely on the past for the benefit of retrospect. The study of History allows us to use that retrospect to understand the present, to improve the future. Maybe, then, nostalgia is a tool. If I can retrospectively remember the relief I felt after finally declaring a major, I will understand the euphoria I will feel after finally getting my first job out of college. Maybe, then, nostalgia is okay if it does not cripple anyone.

If we can look at the past fondly and laugh about memories without jeopardizing our future, then maybe I will listen to that crazy Freshman Year story my friends and I have repeated countless of times. Maybe I will re-read the Harry Potter series. Maybe I will create even more memories that I will want to aggrandize in the future.

(Globally, though, let us never use nostalgia as a cushion to simply remember better times. Let us always remember that we cannot make our current present into wistful memories. We need to make a better, saner, future.)

featured photo credit: Dmitry Karyshev когда ж работать-то? via photopin (license)

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Category: Campus Culture, featured, Reflections

Hansika Ramchandani

About the Author ()

Hansika Ramchandani is a Junior double majoring in History and International Relations. She loves it when you laugh at all of her [not] funny jokes and accept the fact that she needs yet another cup of coffee.

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