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Can Nostalgia Stagnate Growth?

A song on the radio. The movie with your favorite catch phrase. The block in the summertime. The smell of freshly baked Macaroni and Cheese.  

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These are some examples of simple pleasantries that ignite my nostalgia. Nostalgia is that place of comfort and familiarity that keeps us cozy. It keeps us warm when the world is cold and company when feeling alone. Even though these acquaintances sustain security  I often wonder if they could adversely be stunting my personal growth. 

This idea derived from current changes to some of the things, people and places in my life. I was mourning these losses until I started thinking about the reasons and the intent behind  missing these things. For some of those things I concluded fearing the unknown and sometimes leaning or utilizing such things as a crutch.

Could I really live without these people, places or things? Or was I afraid to move forward without them?  

Instead of searching these possibilities, overtime I chose avoidance instead.   

The Downfall of Avoidance

You can’t escape your senses and you’re bound to locate something familiar. Your radio will play that song that reminds you of that heartache. Or someone will say something you wish you could share with that person. There is no escaping those familiar cues that reminds us of the things we are trying to forget. With that being said, escaping may not be the remedy. If not, then what is?  

Learning the Lesson

Every experience in life is designated to a lesson and every person you come across teaches you something about yourself. As obvious as this is, we still fall into the regrets and runts and want that old thing back. The reality is most old things ran its course years ago. The hearts wants what the hearts wants even if logic is ringing loud in our heads. Some people ignore this warning with the daunting thought of starting over.

In long-termed relationships some women/men be damned they let someone else take their place. They stick with a partner that doesn’t add to their life with the fear of that person adding value to someone’s life. How weird does that sound? Why on earth would this person become a sudden asset to someone’s life if they are adorned with liability tendencies?

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The ideal perspective of letting go is analyzing the situation for what it actually was and identifying your role in relation to that said person. What could I’ve done better? What did I learn in this situation?  

These types of question helps us dissect the situation logically absent from emotions. This will not erase the emotions but it will help put things into perspective.  

What do I do with the Leftover Feelings? 

The best thing you can do is embrace your emotions. It is nothing wrong with nostalgia as long as you are not using it as an excuse to not move forward. When old emotions are in the driver’s seat a million excuses will populate as to why you can’t move on.  

For example, my grade school experience was both a bad and good experience. I hadn’t thought about that experience in years until the day I thought it was a good idea to visit and started to walk on the playground and remembered being fat shamed and teased for being smart. I remembered this one girl that plainly hated me and picked fights with me. It was at this time I wanted to skip grade and high school and go straight to college with nicer people (which I later learned was false).

I kept walking on the playground and remembered in grade school is where I met my best friend, some long termed friends and my first real boyfriend (later in high school). I had my first crush on that playground which at one time we swapped cassette tapes. To this day he never knew how much I liked him and how his kindness affected me.  

Once again I have not thought of any of this in years but once I remembered the good times I no longer thought about the bad. My mind traveled to the future I was grateful to still have my grade school best friend and I oddly started thinking about the jump a thon and how I’d like to jump rope again. The point I am making is nostalgia is what you make of it. I could have just remembered the fat shaming and go on a food binge and find that girl on social media just to tell her off. But instead I was thankful for some of the positive people in my life and how I wanted to incorporate a new exercise in my life.  

Absorbing the positiveness of the experience helped me to smile about Grade School. I allowed myself to feel what I needed to feel from that. I took with me the experiences that created beautiful energy and released the things that did not. The next time I came across that playground I smiled and kept driving. I wonder had I not taken the time to reflect on that moment or just wanted to forget the situation all together, I may have avoided driving near the school. Avoiding the school would not erase the things I experienced and that placed played a major part in who I am today.  

Ignoring your experiences will not negate they ever happened, so why not take the time to feel the good with the bad? No one wants to feel the negative experiences, but I feel it’s necessary in order to move on.  

Does Searching for Familiarity Fade? 

In my opinion it does not. Human Nature is always more comfortable with sticking with the known, simply because its known. Familiarity will always be there for shelter but in order to move forward and embrace life, one would need to step out of what’s familiar. Even if you are scared, do it anyway. How else will you gain new memories and experiences. Life is all about experience and reflection and learning from the people, places and things we encounter. Conclusively nostalgia does not dissipate, it expands; but only if we learn to take from the past what’s beneficial to the present and move forward.  

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