Thursday, April 02, 2015


I wonder why childhood memories are so much more powerful at evoking memories than ones from our young adulthood.  I had nostalgia in my 20’s for events and places 10-20 years earlier.  I now have a much longer reach into the past, 60 years of memory before the present date, but events 30 years ago don’t attract nearly as well.  If I am nostalgic for adult events at all, it is usually for situations in which my children were young.  Events without them might be recalled, and are often pleasant, but few of them grip.

Or rather, the nostalgia is different.  I find it fun to revisit road rallies, some earlier small group Bible studies, some Dungeons and Dragons, but I don’t tear up over them.  No Sehnsucht, no desire to find some old road that can take me back there. Cabbie, take me to my childhood. I don't mind the cost. Of courtship, it is the first few months that evoke those soft-edged, pink-cloud memories – yet they were not the best times.

Knowing that memory is inaccurate, and each remembering is not based on the original event, but on the last time we remembered, my guess is...

because they were remembered most often, they fit the overall narrative of our lives better.  They have been smoothed over, defanged. They are nonthreatening - and less real.

1 comment:

Sam L. said...

Nostalgia: I don't seem to have it for my hometown, my school years, my college years; I do have some for my years in the service which are fewer than the years since leaving the service. Possibly because I met my first girlfriend and my wife then, established friendships that continue, and because it was more intense. One of those friends doesn't have the nostalgia gene, or the personal history gene; those days are long gone and he doesn't care about the THEN, just the people who became his friends over that time.