Ah, who doesn’t love the good old days! It is but the fond memories of the yore that keep us going even during the darkest of times. It is but the old fun times with friends and family that make us realize how much we love them and how only a shell of a human we would be without them. Truly, nostalgia is one of the best implicit feelings one can experience, regardless of how old or young one is, for an eight year old could miss the time when he was two and didn’t have to go to school.
Yet, on similar lines, too much nostalgia and ruin the present moment for many. Some people seem to keep living in the past with no present or future plans. For such people, usually the past is full of wonderful accomplishments and happy memories, but as soon as things take a turn for the worse, they somehow forget to work hard and persevere through the tough times and keep reminiscing about the yore.
This is a dangerous thing in itself. The reason past was good because they were not busy thinking about the further past and were actively working to make things better. But now, the fact that they are no longer living in the present moment only amplifies the problem. Memories and only give one a certain amount of comfort and one cannot live solely on the basis of memories, they need to go out and make new ones. For today’s struggle to make things better will make for some great memories and amazing stories to tell your grandchildren.
This was how too much nostalgia affects an individual’s personality, but does a collective nostalgia affect the society too? I’d say yes. Just look at how most movies have critically terrible yet financially successful sequels . The money hungry movie makers are desperate to feed off of people’s nostalgia and goodwill of a particular movie and churn out a mediocre product that’s guaranteed to sell. Almost every company has brought out a “classic” version of one or more of its products to cash in on the nostalgia hype train.
The biggest problem with nostalgia however, is that it makes the past look more glorious than it was and the present shittier than it actually is. For one, nostalgia overlooks difficulties. Sometimes, you just feel like you shouldn’t have let your ex leave and want to get back with them. Out of the said fond memories, you decide to give it another shot only to realize why you broke up in the first place and do it all over again. This is just a waste of both of you’s time, a time which could have been used to do something more productive.
This bias is the real reason why nostalgia is a bad thing. Every memory is distorted and amplified to ridiculous degree. An old TV show which was good at best is now considered great. A flu which you had in 6th grade is now considered as if the plague hit you. A school fistfight you witnessed is somehow the greatest boxing match there ever was. Such distortions, especially the positive ones, set unrealistic goals for the present which it obviously cannot live up to, hence ruining it.
Hence, while it is perfectly reasonable to muse about the past every once in a while, one should not let it dictate the terms of their life. Memories should not be mixed with actions. I, for one, love the good old days as much as the next guy, possibly even more, but I realize that making memories is more important than reminiscing about old ones.
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