Answering to a “nostalgic” question!

What makes you feel nostalgic?

a pile of old photos and postcards sitting on top of each otherI seldom feel nostalgic, but sometimes I think about some specific past moments, and a chain of mental associations unravels.

I was very passionate about informatics in a period when the Internet didn’t exist. Hence, everything was so slow and often complicated. If I needed a technical book (advertised in a monthly magazine), I had to look for a computer shop in a large city, find their number (manually), phone them, and finally order it.

I’m somehow “nostalgic” for the power of those moments because the processes leading to them were so demanding. And when I eventually got what I desired, my feelings were similar to a storm.

However, I am answering this way only now. And this means that I’m “filtering” my memories through a colorful glass. They weren’t so beautiful, but often rather frustrating, too.

I think nostalgia is tricky because our mind creates it by always looking backward, in a condition of impossibility. This is why everything appears so pleasant: simply because it’s correlated to a condition that can never happen again.

Even if you may “come back,” return to a particular place, and do the same things, they will never be the same. And maybe you fall into another loop, thinking your past experiences were much better.

Maybe it’s easier to believe that who you are in the present moment is also the product of your past, and your primary duty is to live your present in the best possible way.

Understanding that your past is really “perfect” is the key. The adjective “perfect” derives from the Latin word “perfectum“, which literally means “done.” You can’t cope with something perfect in any way simply because that thing is like a dead tree.

Only what’s on your hands here and now is living matter, imperfect and prone to be modeled as you wish. To summarize, I would say that what makes me feel nostalgic is often only a mental projection.

In those moments, I realize I need to hurry up with my present as it goes by in the blink of an eye. With a musical metaphor, it’s like a note. You can “observe” it (and be nostalgic, too!) only during the pause following it when it’s perfect and done.

Even if it’s tough, I try to focus on what I can manage, and when I feel nostalgic, I do my best to explore the possibilities that stand before me. I need them. I want them!

Photo by Jon Tyson


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