Nostalgia, Our Greatest Gift

There are a lot of things I things I could do for as long as I’m on this planet and never be bored.  But I suppose it’s easy to say that because I wouldn’t really know what it’s like to do anything forever.  I think part of the reason we cherish certain activities is because the activities we claim “we could never get bored of” are outside of our sphere of responsibilities.  Acknowledging that obscure exceptions exist, most of us have either work, schooling, family duties, or any combination of the three and more that dominate our daily activities.  Therefore, what we enjoy doing the most is probably a result of the fact that we cannot do these treasured activities all the time, and we spend time  looking forward to and anticipating our participation in them while we partake in our responsibilities at hand.  That being said, two things I can think of that would never get old.  One is always available and free, the other can be expensive and have limited accessibility.

Dwelling on the past, reminiscing, getting lost in the nostalgia of my childhood and my teenage years, both good times and bad times.  This is something, the older I get, the more I enjoy.  The more time that elapses, the more I have to dwell on, laugh at, smile, and question the ever-changing person I’ve become.  Friends and acquaintances that have come and gone, and those friends who’ve managed to stay around after all these years.  Places I’ve been and hope to return .  And then best of all, having been at the right time at the right place with the right people to make the construction of an irreplaceable memory.

Of course, if in the active present one was always thinking about the past, it would be impossible to have a past to dwell on.  The ultimate irony!  While nostalgia indeed never gets old, and brings me great joy, nothing brings me greater joy than traveling to new places.  I am convinced that seeing as much of our inhabited earth as you can is one of the few tangible things that would never get tiring.  Sure sight seeing is nice, but for me, seeing how people from different walks of life live, how different cultures place different values on different areas of life, and how different societies are built around different landscapes perpetually fascinates me.  As a Midwestern suburbanite, just about every other culture on the face of the earth seems richer than what I grew up with, so I’m extremely grateful at any chance I get to travel to other places.  Often times, past, small spontaneous travels of mine have triggered the largest amounts of nostalgia, so the two  things that never get tiresome for me have quite the symbiotic relationship.  Most recently, I had the opportunity to visit my girlfriend in Washington D.C as she spends 4 months there for an internship, and because she provided all accommodations once I arrived, I was able to drive there and stay two nights for just about $200.  I had never been to several of the states I had to drive through, nor had I ever driven 8 and a half hours myself anywhere, but taking chance of an opportunity I may never have again proved to be a fruitful experience.  But when an experience like such has come to a close and you realize all you  have are the memories, it seems that nostalgia might be our greatest gift.  And a priceless one at that.

Myself, in the residential foothills of the Alps in the Vienna country side.
f Myself, in the residential foothills of the Alps in the Vienna country side.
Playing speed chess against "Big John" in Union Square Park, Manhatten
Playing speed chess against “Big John” in Union Square Park, Manhatten

 

At the Washington Monument
At the Washington Monument

One thought to “Nostalgia, Our Greatest Gift”

  1. I love the phrase “nostalgia never gets old.” I feel that it’s incredibly rich in, well, nostalgia, and it feels incredibly personal to you as an individual.

    I also really like the way you work through two contradictory parts of yourself. The tension created real emotional resonance, and presented very clear stakes. Also, like the passage I cited, you do a great job of using language in original, though still very familiar ways. Nice work!

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