Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Nostalgist



I had no luck chasing away my fit of nostalgia by focusing on the now, something I tried all day yesterday. By evening I realized that resistance was futile, so I abandoned all attempts to banish the nostalgia, turned 180 degrees to a strategy to indulgence. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

From the back of my closet, I retrieved many boxes of old, non-digital pictures, went through them one by one. There is something so great about holding actual physical photographs in hand, as opposed to viewing digitized pics on screen, (though in fact today I'm going to digitize some of them. Nostalgia or no nostalgia, it would be fun to share a few old images here: Jake sneezing while wearing a fez, me as a 20-something juicy hot girl, the Martini Club from my days at the San Francisco Symphony, my BFF and I roller skating at Lake Tahoe.)

One interesting aspect of this bout of nostalgia is that it didn't stop my urge to purge. I ended up throwing away dozens of old pics - of people I didn't recognize, or blurry "art" pics I took, once upon a time, while stoned. I threw away lots of pictures I took when my ex husband and I renovated our Bernal Hill house. Why was I saving them anyway?

Today I'm going to continue indulging my nostalgia. I'm going up to Takoma Park where I lived when I first moved to DC at the end of 1998, walk around, shop at the thrift stores.

I hope this phase passes sooner rather than later! Onwards & upwards? Please??

19 comments:

California Girl said...

In December 1979, my husband and I lost our home to the floodwaters of the Kentucky River, a tributary of the Ohio. I lost many photo albums of pictures dating back to my childhood and teens. We retrieved what settled to the ground after the flood waters receded but all were caked in silt, curled around and it was hard to save many, tho' we tried. What we were able to save were hung with clothes pin on a line in his uncle's basement. They now reside in a brown paper shopping bag in our attic. Every once in a while, we bring them down to look at them.

I know what you mean about holding the photos. I miss it too.

Rose said...

It seems to me we have to purge our memories every so often as well. Maybe this is what you are doing. Tidying up the memories so they can happily go into long term storage before things zip into hyper drive again...

Reya Mellicker said...

Rose I love that theory. And California Girl, I love the image of the pics hanging on the line, drying.

Steve said...

Going through old pictures is interesting because it shows us how much we've grown. Isn't it great that you no longer find those blurry "art" pics enthralling? I cleaned out tons of old photos a couple of years ago, and it was a terrific experience. I felt like I was distilling my life to its essence -- the important people, the important moments.

As for the nostalgia, why resist? Nostalgia is sad, but it's sweet too!

Steve said...

And I might add, if you're feeling nostalgic, that IS part of the now -- so it's not entirely antithetical to Buddhism to be nostalgic from time to time. Just recognize that it's a thought, like all thoughts, and one that doesn't accurately reflect reality then or now -- and then enjoy it!

willow said...

I love that happy pic of you and Steve on your sidebar. It made me smile.

Mind if I tag along to the thrift stores?

The Bug said...

I quit putting our photos in albums after my mother died. I guess I didn't think I had anyone to show the pictures to anymore. But maybe I'll start back - for ME, so that when I want to walk in the past I have easy access... Plus it would be nice to be able to look at a skinnier, younger me!

Mary said...

I've been feeling much the same ...is it in the air -the season - the planets....isn't it a perfect time for the word "bittersweet"?

lakeviewer said...

Yes, purge, indulge, let yourself experience what you long for, over and over again.

Joanne said...

Now see, I think of nostalgia as a good thing. For some reason, we're longing for some essence of the past. And if we're longing for it, it must've been good! I think we are definitely taking something from the nostalgia, too, something nourishing in some way.

Reya Mellicker said...

Yes, Mary - bittersweet. And yes, Steve: sad AND sweet.

And YES Willow, you would love the thrift store scene in Takoma Park. Very funky.

ellen abbott said...

I was thinking along the same lines as Rose, that you need to revisit before you know what to no longer hang on to.

Ronda Laveen said...

To me, nostalgia is like time travel in a way. It kinda echos Steve's thought: "Just recognize that it's a thought, like all thoughts, and one that doesn't accurately reflect reality then or now -- and then enjoy it!" A way to visit another time and space. Is a dream real? Is life real?

It also just feels like you are turning inward...which is perfect for this time of year. Germinating in your own creative juices to sprout anew at the apex of the year.

The thought of seeing a picture of Jake sneezing while wearing a Fez made me smile. Can't wait.

Loved your Pema post from yesterday. And, thanks for the energy update from the scene of the accident. When I enlarged the photo, the feeling I got was very, very heavy.

Reya Mellicker said...

Heavy yet slippery. Not a great combination, if you ask me!

Ronda Laveen said...

Heavy and slippery sounds quite dangerous, actually.

Barbara Martin said...

Reflecting on nostalgia is good as then you can discard what you don't want to keep, as you have been doing Reya. Then you can move forward with a clear slate. Lovely photos of the autumn trees.

steven said...

i love seeing steven in the moments that have passed because it helps me understand him a lot better. i can see the arc of his life so much more clearly as well as unpack all the sorry beautiful lovely hopeless details that are still resonating inside his current being now. i say that you look and learn from all and everything. rules - buddhism - whatever. it's all part of the necessary flow of your being. across the rainy cloudy skies for your lovely self- hugs. steven

Pauline said...

This is the season for nostalgia, for stock-taking, for hoarding against the coming bleakness. It's a time to say goodbye and thank you, to surround yourself with the warmth and comfort of happy memories. Why would you want to fight it?

mouse (aka kimy) said...

sometimes it is wonderful to wallow in a bout of good old nostalgia.

our local npr station, which is currently running its fall fundraiser is giving a reward of digitizing 600 photos for people who sign up at a certain level! wild.

look forward to seeing some of your flashes to the past!