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A Particular Nostalgia

2013-06-06 14.07.22There’s a specific kind of nostalgia that overtakes me when I am physically at home. My old home, I guess. Where I grew up. I can conjure nostalgia about almost anything, when it really comes down to it, but childhood memories are different.

Of course, the general assumption when a person carries heavy childhood nostalgia is that they want to relive their childhood somehow. I’m not sure that’s the case with this. I had a great childhood, and I’m very grateful for it, but it’s not a desire to be a kid again. Perhaps a profound gratitude for where and how I did grow up is part of this particular nostalgia. But not a Peter Pan complex. I like being a fully functioning adult, thanks. No desire for childhood here.

So, what is it? Full of memory, yes. And gratitude, sure. But it’s also tinged with a bit of sadness, as well. Perhaps because I don’t have children. Perhaps because if I do have kids, they won’t grow up where/how I did, because that life just doesn’t exist anymore where I had it. Perhaps it’s a knowledge that things were better back then. I”m not really sure. But it is gripping, and unique, and completely confounding.

Being someone who’s generally aware of her emotions and largely able to express and understand what she’s feeling, this particular nostalgia frustrates me. I want to know what to do with it. Perhaps continuing to write about my hometown and early childhood experiences will help. Perhaps going back there more often will help. I’m not yet sure, but I do know that I want to better understand this feeling, now that I’ve noticed it. Feelings are here to teach us something about the world, and I want to learn.

What about you? Do you know this particular nostalgia? What do you call it? When do you feel it? What do you think it says about