If this time of year is all about new beginnings, why do we find it so heart wrenching to tear down our Christmas trees and wave goodbye to our holiday weight? Maybe because they subconsciously remind us of a time, perhaps when we were younger, of home comforts and warmth. A fine example of things we try to cling onto.
At midnight on the 31st, we’re reminded that it has been yet another year since some happy occasion; for example, graduation. It’s coming up to two years since I left, some of you maybe even longer and all I keep thinking about are house parties, lazy days on the beach and meeting my friends in halls for the first time. My thoughts also return to the fun I had in the library at three in the morning, high on lucozade and playing “find the biggest book on the shelf”. What I forget about however is how much I disliked living in a small a city as Exeter, how lonely it was when I missed my friends from home and how much the workload actually was which lead me to being in the library at 3am in the first place.
My point is, that by dusting away the bad bits of our memories, we focus only on the good. This should provide us with a ten minute, positive trip down memory lane, but what it can do is make a dig at the here and now. We actually tend to be quite modest about our present. We too easily complain about how much weight we’ve put on or how much we hate our jobs. We barely ever think about how lucky we are to be able to enjoy the company of our colleagues on a Friday evening, or how much bigger our boobs have got. In comparison, our pasts are gleaming with arrogance and brilliance. A few years ago we were oh so slim, flourishing in our work lives, our purses were brimming and we had a line of prospective partners practically knocking down the door.
The first issue here is that we’re lying. Secondly, we’re pointlessly comparing. Although we’re the same person that we were then, we’re here now because of changes that we made happen. Sugar coating memories before comparing them to now is doing no one any favours.
That wonderful single life, free from the shackles of children? Think about how much better your Sunday afternoons are, watching them play rugby. Still living with your parents? Think about how warm it is in comparison to your uni house. Things don’t seem so bad when you look at them in the context of 2013 instead of 1997. Besides, the era of the Spice Girls will make anything look mediocre in comparison.
Nostalgia is more of a yearning than reminiscing, leading you to believe that your past is better than your present. This is damaging, so ban it. Think back to the fun you had in history class or on that trip to Croatia, but be sure to realise that the beauty of now is that you’re still yet to enjoy it. The sooner you get excited about that fact, the better.
Or you could just book a flight to Dubrovnik full of expectations.
The choice is yours.
Happy New Year.