So I recently watched The Sandlot for the first time and totally loved it, which is no big surprise. I’m a nostalgic person by nature – like a sticky ant trap for memories. (Men LOVE this about me not at all.)
I also often find myself nostalgic for times I didn’t even live in – for the halcyon days of soda jerks and poodle skirts, when girls wanted to be Wendy Peffercorn, and boys wanted to be WITH her. When the scariest thing in life was losing a baseball in James Earl Jones’ backyard. Everything seemed simpler, quieter, and more honest then, though I don’t suppose it actually was. Still I like to imagine it.
According to this riveting New York Times read, What is Nostalgia Good For?, for centuries, nostalgia was considered an illness, one possibly caused by the incessant clanging of cow bells! Only in recent years has a growing body of research in Nostalgia Science told us it “has been shown to counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety. It makes people more generous to strangers and more tolerant of outsiders. Couples feel closer and look happier when they’re sharing nostalgic memories. On cold days, or in cold rooms, people use nostalgia to literally feel warmer. [...] When people speak wistfully of the past, they typically become more optimistic and inspired about the future.”
Basically, if people were more nostalgic, they’d need less Xanax.
The article even suggests it’s healthy to build a “nostalgia repository” by creating memorable moments NOW to draw on in the future. He calls this anticipatory nostalgia – creative bunch, scientists. (I can hear parents everywhere now – “Come on kids, hop in the car, we’re gonna go to the park today for some anticipatory nostalgia!”).
The article does, however, mention that nostalgia is generally not beneficial for neurotics, which rules out about 95% of New York City.
What makes you nostalgic?
*Photo Courtesy 20th Century Fox*