“Nostalgia – it’s delicate, but potent. Teddy told me that in Greek, “nostalgia” literally means “the pain from an old wound.” It’s a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn’t a spaceship, it’s a time machine. It goes backwards, and forwards… it takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It’s not called the wheel, it’s called the carousel. It let’s us travel the way a child travels – around and around, and back home again, to a place where we know are loved.” — Don Draper (Mad Men)
One of the most memorable scenes from the tv-show Mad Men, features it’s protagonist, Don Draper, giving a pitch to a company about nostalgia. As he speaks over a slide show of pictures from his own life, you can’t help but feel. You can’t help but feel your own heart ache over your own nostalgia, your own past. I can’t say it any more beautifully then him, I can’t express this “pain from an old wound” any better.
Today was one of those ‘old wound days’ when memory from the past came back to the forefront. I’m never sure how to deal with this feeling. Should I embrace it, or push against it?
Part of the point of this blog is embracing the now, living in this moment and not dwelling on the past or what could be. One of the most unhelpful statements in life is “I should have”. It’s this pressure filled anxiety ridden statement that makes you regret what you did, and makes you feel bad about what you didn’t. I should have said this, I should have not done that. But I did it. That’s it. Nostalgia makes you want to jump into a time machine and feel something that felt amazing again. It makes me want to stop the turning of the earth and wish that time was fluid like water and so I could simply jump back and forth. But nostalgia also brings to the forefront all my should haves, because if I did, then maybe I wouldn’t have lost something what I remember today. Life is funny that way. Rationality only gets you so far before we are overcome by sentimentality and emotion.
I don’t want to live a life of should haves. Regret can’t dictate the future. My therapist once told me, when you find yourself on a wave there is only one thing to do: ride it. Whether you are on the up or down- ride it. Enjoy it. Live it. Now.
Nostalgia is powerful and sentimentality can match that strength. But I’m stronger. I love that I’m stronger, and I love that I keep climbing forward, even when I catch a glimpse of the past. So even if I embrace it, and even if I push against the past, it’s only that: the past. It’s not putting any barriers in front of my trek uphill.
And for the body today: my cheeks. They’re squeezable and that’s reason enough to love them.
For those silly people who haven’t watched the masterpiece of Mad Men before- first go watch every season. If that didn’t convince you, then you can take a lookey at that one particular scene I spoke about (linked below) and fall instantly in love with Jon Hamm as Don Draper: