I read something recently about how “back in the day” (19th Century, to be precise, which, as you know is really the 1800’s… no, I don’t know why they do that!) people considered nostalgia to be a disease, a “pathological form of melancholy” to be exact. The literal meaning of the word “nostalgia” (from Greek times, not Wikipedia… those Greeks were WAY smarter than Wikipedia, ok?) means “suffering that results from the desire for return—to a place, to a time, to a way of life.” I’m sure this makes sense to a lot of you, (damn! that’s why I get so misty eyed whenever I think of….) but keep reading. Recent research has just debunked the fact that dwelling on the past is bad for you; in fact, new studies show that it may elevate mood (ok, fine, only if you’re reliving the GOOD memories, but who the hell sits around thinking about the “bad times?” ) So, dwell away, friends.
Why am I writing about this? I don’t know (fine, I may or may not have been caught dwelling today). Maybe because we all have a past that we wish was different or that we want to change. Or maybe, the past was when we thought we were happiest, or maybe when we really were. I started to think of the past today as some kind of alternate universe, a non reality world. The thing is sometimes you come so far, the new you doesn’t recognize the old you. Is this good or bad? I’m not sure. The past is a tricky devil. We can’t forget it, yet we can never go back. It just sits there, waiting for us to call upon it whenever we need it. Do we ever need it? I think we do. We need it when we want to laugh, or feel emotional or just contemplate how the hell we got so messed up in the first place (Ok, I’m kidding about that part… maybe).
We’ve all had these moments where we’ve wished that somehow, someway, we could just hop into a time machine and just magically fly through time and space to this moment we just want to relive or do over. Last time I checked, though, the time machine was still a work in progress (damn!). Nope, the only magic power we currently have to get back to the past is our minds. For some people, the past is ghost, haunting them, begging them to go back and change these moments. But we can never go back, and since the future is yet undetermined, all we have is this present moment. So if one day, the present IS the past, is that a bad thing? Well, that’s for you to decide, but for me, right now, the past is… well…..that’s classified info, people.