Thursday, 24 November 2016

Nostalgia ain't what it used to be

Spike Milligan summed up the human need for nostalgia quite succinctly, and it went something like - "With the present so troubling, and the future so uncertain, the past is a warm place that holds no fears at all". Looking back in time and turning over the leaves of the past is something that I am quite comfortable in doing.  I do know some who shun such activities, that want to live in the present and not 'project' themselves back (or forward) in their minds.

To unearth events that have happened to us can stir many emotions - feelings of loss, a reminder of lessons learnt, a warm glow of joy, sadness that we are no longer the young carefree individual - but as we possess a memory it is strange to me that we don't all embrace it. Speaking for myself I am selective in what I revisit and am more than aware that those moments that I select are heavily lit by a rosy glow. They are worth more to me than any physical possession. I don't just embrace them, I celebrate them!

As for my memories via the world of nature, they come out to play on a regular basis. They are partly why I still go out into the field as I want to collect more of them. The need for rarity is massively lessened. When I cobbled together my 10 most cherished moments with nature, only one of them involved rarity. Such moments just happen. It doesn't need to be on top of a mountain or when stood before a raging seascape - you might be looking out of a window or washing the car.

And, going back to Spike's observation, because there is an element of the past being a known quantity, so the memories are of a time that we successfully negotiated and survived. They are shot through with comfort (and even the sadder ones can with the passing of time). We also think that there were more birds, more hedges, less uncertainty and, if the memories are old enough, of days when our cares were not clouded by 'grown-up' stuff.

I did have to laugh (ruefully) at a recent cartoon in Private Eye. An old woman is standing at a train station ticket office and says: "I'd like a return to simpler times please". In the current storm of Brexit, Trump and disappearing ice caps, I might just join her.

13 comments:

  1. Nostalgia: Noun, a state of mind in which the past is viewed in an unhealthily positive sense but is really normal life with the shit bits conveniently erased.

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    1. Hah! Although a jaundiced summing up Ric, most probably accurate.

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    2. I too enjoy nostalgia, Steve (though Mrs NQS has no time for it) and sometimes even ponder the not-so-nice bits, to paraphrase Ric. Am just re-reading 'Blood Knots', which is a nostalgia catalyst if ever there was one! I can't help wondering if there is a slight tinge of the melancholic in those who enjoy nostalgia...or maybe it's just me.

      I can feel a post coming on...

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    3. I think you have hit the nail on the head there Gavin - melancholiacs, each and every one of us.

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  2. Me too - as you will be aware. Great post Steve, crafted far better than I can manage!

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    1. You're too modest Neil - your wordsmith credentials are already proven!

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  3. I agree with Gavin and spend half of my life forever looking backwards, I guess aged 69, it's a much longer distance to mull over and enjoy, than what's possibly left of the way ahead. Melancholia is definitely the best description for it.

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    1. Derek, some of my favourite posts of yours are those when you take us back in time. Keep 'em coming please.

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  4. Thanks Steve. I have become distracted of late by writing about such things, and reading similar memories, on Facebook's excellent Sheppey History Page.

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  5. I'm currently sat in a pub waiting for my mates from university to turn up. This is the pub where we've announced engagements, babies and houses. These days we're focused on ailments mostly, but nostalgia is guaranteed.

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    1. Now Jono, I could get nostalgic about ailments, but that would be perverse!

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  6. Just to join in this back slapping celebration of being an old gimmer - melancholia - yes I like that! It's what us bloggers do best, especially the ones I seem to spend the majority of time keeping up with. Keep it coming guys - we've got bugger all else to talk about?

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    1. I'm preaching to the converted in your case Dyl!

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