I had a night without much sleep last evening.. My mind was racing from so many life changes occurring right now.
My son starts school tomorrow! That is one day away.. The last five years of parental joy (not being sarcastic in that statement) are over .. at least this version. A new chapter is upon my wife and I .. and we aren’t quite sure how to make sense of the timeless way times change.. That plus a season of being a soccer coach and looking forward to all of the other abundant new developments in the life of our family have me reeling a bit.
Last night I thought back to September 2, 2001.. A few days before the ‘world changed’ on 9/11.. My friends came over to my house late that night. I turned 21 on that day — so many years ago now. It was after the Ashland Pennsylvania ABA parade–a parade I wrote about previously on this website, and a parade that has been canceled a few times including this year due to budgetary problems in the small coal region town here in Schuylkill County PA. I have very warm memories of that night in 2001. I recall a night of laughter and serious discussions, at one point even one friend chain smoking until the sun came up.
That night ended quickly. As did that year. As did so many more years since.
But last night during my sleepless 3am hour, I began to think: What good is this!? Is it proper and mentally healthy to be nostalgic. In one sense you can contemplate where you were from and how you got here.. but on the other hand you’ll suffer the consequences of sadness and the hazy gray mindset of memory.
I have changed a bit since I turned 21. I am more mature now. That maturity came AFTER the birth of my son. Thinking back to some useless decisions that got me off the path of development, I ponder why I was so blatantly dumb.
Jobs have changed.
Habits have evolved..
Hobbies have become few and far between..
But me? I hope for the most part I am still who I am.
There are times in life the reptilian comes out of us.. other times when the angelic forces have their way. And the couple of instances where we act like chameleons either to keep the piece or to get ahead. The chameleon me is the version I dislike the most. It’s not real. It is never who I am. I want to limit such behavior and regulate it to the past.
Nostalgia can do some damage to bettering your mind as well.
Take for instance the little town of Centralia PA, the town I grew up in and the town, now, that is no more because of the endless underground mine fire that uprooted a generation and population from their homes. The town has become a tourist hot spot. People don’t see much, but they still come to find graffiti highway. This summer, someone locally had a bright idea to set up shop with a hot dog cart. He is doing good business. But many residents who used to live there found it insulting that someone would profit off of their doom.
But the town is gone. It is a town that WAS. Nostalgia is not bringing the town back. And quite frankly, is it not more of an honor to the town that was to have tourist there buying hot dogs that overgrown brush and nothing that even resembles the past? I say let the hot dogs get heated and let the ketchup be abundant!
Nostalgia is an enemy, perhaps.
A hostile thought that holds you back.
It is also an amazing ally when you need it most.
It is like anything else.. use with caution and in moderation. And don’t drink liquid poisons in a bottle while you are nostalgic. Don’t operate heavy equipment either.
And don’t try to sleep during nostalgia. Instead your clock will read 3am and you’ll be wide eyed during the witching hour of your life.