Nostalgia— Blissful Fragments Of Memory

Remember the ‘good old times’ in your life? How everything seemed perfect no matter what the reality was, then? 

When we think back on our lives, we tend to remember the good times and forget the bad –  the rosiness bias

Looking back upon our memories provides us with a sense of comfort–and belongingness.

Memories, both good and bad, seem personal to us and are somewhat unique. Your first interaction with someone special, the first time you rode a bike, or when you laughed so hard while sipping water that it sprayed on your friends –  these surely count as fond, happy memories, right? We remember the excitement,  thrill, and happiness all of us felt, all alongside gut-wrenching nervousness and the fear of rejection,  agonizing pain due to our knees getting scraped, or moments of bullying that we’ve all encountered.

As we move forward in our lives, we experience many changes, such as moving to a new city or leaving behind old friends. Nostalgia acts as a pillar of support in these times. The present and future can often feel unpredictable and chaotic, but the past we have already experienced remains fixed and unaltered. This gives us a sense of security and stability, which fuels our innate willingness to remember the good times a bit more dearly.

One could call nostalgia “the memory of happiness.” It can be a source of comfort in times of sadness,  about longing for a simpler time or for moments when we feel more connected to one another.

The commonality is just that it is a longing to go into a different time, one which feels better and brings you happiness, and releases endorphins. As John Green said, “nostalgia is inevitably a yearning for a past that never existed,” and in a sense, that differentiates nostalgia from mere memory. It’s the fact that we view our past with the sweetfilter of innocence, that makes nostalgia so sweet. Nothing sands the rough edges of memory like time. Suddenly all those experiences you had growing up that felt like towers to climb, now seem like a peaceful walk in the park, and we yearn for a time as seemingly simple as we remember.

It’s fitting that we, as young adults,  begin to think about nostalgia more. With each passing day spent moulding ourselves into smarter, kinder, more independent adults, we also see ourselves living a thousand different lives through our actions. Be it the time we spend with a new friend we like, going outside to the beach on weekends, or staying up all night to cram the entire syllabus.It often seems like every experience that we have in our college years would be one worth romanticising in the future. Despite the discomfort we might feel in the present, these memories will all blur into the background of our story–that is life, adding depth to who we become as we grow older.

As freshers at college, you may often have memories of your school life lingering in your head, with a sense of longing from when you were carefree and sheltered at the age of ten; or even the tender entry into your teens where the world felt new, yet you were embracing every new change that bombarded you. Years later from today, you may find yourselves longing for relatively calmer times. When as a fresher, you wouldn’t have to worry about the added stress of all the interviews, syllabus completion or ramping up your GPA within a few months. 

Decades later, you would recall of times from college, looking at these days with the same filter of innocence…

It’s a never-ending cycle, but the truth to this circle is that good memories will always recede the bad ones because that’s just how life is: it reminds us of the good times, and sometimes while we’re living them.

Written by Tarini Sai Padmanabhuni and Ayuttam Abhiram for MTTN

Edited by Aayush Niraj for MTTN

Featured Image courtesy of WIRED

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