Why I don’t believe in nostalgia

Nostalgia is a feeling of security, of something familiar and close to heart. Usually childhood memories bring people to become nostalgic. Even in marketing brands know that the fast-paced modern society people crave a break from all the new, shiny and digital. We want the simpler times, and if we can get to relive that even for a second by drinking Coke out of a vintage can, then we will.

Just take a look at people on the street and you will see that vintage is bigger than ever. My friends are weirdly obsessed with Christmas being an extreme replica of last year because “we have to watch Donald Duck on TV at 3p.m,” they always say. Nobody knows why, because there is nothing spectacular about the tired mash of Disney-clips that is being broadcasted every year. The only explanation I have ever gotten is that it’s tradition, and therefore I should shut up.

And even though I never understand the warm, fuzzy tone in my friend’s voice when he talks about the candy that his mom always makes for Christmas, or why the brand of the candy they put on the table has to be a specific one “because that’s what they have always had”, I do understand the psychological part of it. It makes him feel as if nothing has changed for a brief moment.

Most people have trouble dealing with change, even though it is the only constant state we will ever live in. I too, find it a struggle to cope with. But I have never been nostalgic. When I think about my childhood memories, I never get the urge to try to recreate them. This has of course many reasons. I had a terrible, grey childhood where all I wanted to do was to get out and away. And I am extremely curious, which sometimes can contradict the nostalgic nature. I spoke with a friend about this earlier today. Even if I know that a chocolate bar will taste exactly how I want it to taste because I’ve had it all my life and a million times before, there is no way I’m gonna settle for that when a limited edition flavour sits next to it on the shelf. Will I lose and become disappointed sometimes? Yes, more often than not. But I will never behave differently because I love the new and unknown. Maybe I’m the modern sailor caught in the grocery store.

But as I told my friend:

Every time I think back to any memory I feel gratitude towards the now. The now is amazing. The now has iPhones, cheap weekend trips, Stockholm as my setting and other sweet things that I could not have imagined as part of my life ten years ago. I can’t afford to recreate distant memories and sacrificing the creation of new ones. Because if we do, the now will lose its meaning.

On an ending note: I’m not having a bottle of Coke next to me. Instead it’s a bottle of birch juice, providing no emotional support but a gastronomical adventure.

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