joan of snark Society

Stuck in the past

It’s weird how we prefer to look back at the year that went by, than at what’s ahead. Nostalgia is like candy to us and if we’re robbed of it, we can throw a tantrum that could put any toddler to shame.

Wallowing in nostalgia does no good — unless you’re Woody Allen and you make a film that is set in Paris in the 1920s — it only brings back harsh memories. Though nice memories make us wish for better times, they invariably upset our current mood. Some of us are then subjected to emotional blog posts, sad selfies with pathetic captions (“dis is me lukng uhppy”), melancholic playlists that consist of a sad song on repeated loop (like The Office’s Michael Scott), and/or have an insane appetite towards anything remotely carbohydrate.

Ironically, nostalgia was first defined to mean a “mentally repressive compulsive disorder”. Its modern meaning “wistful yearning for the past”, coined in 1920, is from a speculated usage in French literature. Research suggests that nostalgia is good for us; it’s an exercise in cheeriness. But what it forgets to mention is that one person’s cheer is another’s sorrow.

Facebook could truly replace the calendar: it notifies us of people’s birthdays, suggests events that we could attend (even if it means gate-crashing a strange couple’s wedding), and collects personal information to tell us what our next purchase should be. But it taught me an unforgettable lesson in nostalgia in the form of a picture compilation of one’s year in the site. Where everyone’s posts come titled with the generic, “It’s been a great year! Thanks for being a part of it,” and it’s only the spam that you’re part of. The lesson I learnt was realised in what Lou Reed said, “I don’t like nostalgia unless it’s mine,” and I agree.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 11:33:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/looking-back-at-2014/article6728077.ece

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