Alright.. I think I feel like a broken record sometimes.. stop me if I mentioned this before! Nostalgia! The ultimate friend or enemy of your mind.. Nostalgia.. the pesky notion in your head that you cannot quite explain..
I get nostalgia just about as much as I do deja vue.. Both are unpredictable. Both blast into your brain without cause but with lots of effect..
When I turned 30, I began to take notice to something .. nostalgia hits for some very strong reasons. Just last night, my wife was under the weather, and I was trying to clean up in between my son’s dinner hour and bath time.. I put down carpet powder before running the vacuum and also sprayed the heck out of the house with Lysol. The combination of smells brought me back to other times over the past 5 or so years when I was sick, my wife was sick, or my son was sick. I realized as I took in the aroma of chemical coupled with chemical, it was the same combo that we have used just about every time an illness in the house occurred! I immediately became nostalgic for nights when Ayden had a flu and watched TV all night on the couch, with my wife and I next to him. Or even when I was grounded with a fever in bed..
But then I thought… why am I being nostalgic for something bad!?
HISTORY AND HEALTH
I first encountered this bizarre nostalgic for something bad idea a few anniversaries of 9/11 later.. I recall during television coverage of the attacks, I longed for that day .. But it was not because of the mass murder, instead it was because I was young and dumb and just turned 21.. it was a heck of a good year personally until the terror attack occurred.. I think my nostalgia is mixed up with the fond feelings that 2001 generates in my mind.. Along with that, after the attacks that day, my family came together. I also remember the amazing and immediate feeling of patriotism that hit, flags were being thrown up on just about every house in my neighborhood..
I am truly coming to a place in life where I think battling nostalgia back is the best approach.. It so often comes with an tone of self deception. There is no time in life that is either all good or all bad.. nostalgia confuses the brain to accept a false premise, that a certain time in life was the best time and you should long for it..
Perhaps I am not the only one who has gone through this, I found this link for example of people opining about why they get nostalgic for bad things. But even more important, a 2016 UK TELEGRAPH article potentially sums up the best why nostalgia is BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH. Author Alix O’Neill writes,
In the 1600s, the ‘disease’ was considered similar to paranoia – with sufferers exhibiting melancholy and loss of appetite. Malnutrition, inflammation of the brain, feverishness, seeing ghosts, hearing voices and cardiac arrest were also symptoms slapped under the nostalgia umbrella.
The ‘dangerous’ condition was mainly associated with those sent away from home for long periods – children, domestic servants and soldiers (in the army, nostalgia was occasionally punishable by death).
Other causes were thought to be poor education, masturbation, love and being a mountain-dweller. In the 19th century, doctors even thought nostalgia was the product of a ‘pathological bone’ in the human body (unsurprisingly, they couldn’t locate it).
Treatments included leeches, stomach purges and the terrifying sounding ‘warm hypnotic emulsions’. Which doesn’t sound worth going through for a lacklustre Friends reunion.
That is right. Nostalgia was considered an affliction that had to be treated.
If only people were alive now from the 1600s.. they too would get nostalgic for things like ALF, Seinfeld, and Crystal Pepsi.
There can be two views of nostalgia as a takeaway.. On one hand, it can be viewed as a friend. It can give you a warm feeling in a cold room, it can take you away from a bad moment in life and fill you with a kindred spirit of one that was decent from your past. It can also an enemy..it can take you away from actual moments in your present tense that you should be enjoying.. it can fool you into thinking those awful times from yesteryear should be relived.. and it can throw you off balance in your life and force your mind to live in a past that is gone, gone gone.
And just maybe, it could mean that you are low on vitamin B12.
Nostalgia.. nostalgia.. nostalgia…
What you don’t really need at 3am….maybe a night terror would actually be better.