Snowfields blanket the landscape for miles and miles
Quiet Solitude tugs at memories burned deep within
Spring seeds planted
fruit ripens in the blink of an eye
Heads shake with disbelief how things used to be
Unrest and violence with no relief
A rich man’s war drew rebellion
Returned soldiers chided and booed
The Establishment triggered revolution
We gave it the finger
Took over buildings
Smoked dope and got high
Dylan crooned “times are a changin’-
They did until they didn’t
greed came back like an old familiar friend
We took back the finger
Stuff became God again
Blues and rock
Jazz and Motown
Country and disco, too
Soothed the pain of reality
History made, booked, and shelved
Did it matter?
Kennedy, Malcom, and Martin
Religion tried to steal reality
With end times prophecy
And a promise of prosperity
But greed took over the dance floor
halves had more and have-nots less
Hell, not heaven became actuality
Promised “could’a-beens” thumbed through the Rolodex of time-
So close, yet so far away!
Where was I? Where were you?
So it goes with nostalgic blues.
As you can tell I grew up in the ’60’s. Many of you read about what some of us lived. Long hair, commune living, a lot of pot and acid, Volkswagen buses tattooed with bumper stickers, and hitchhiking to nowhere highlighted an era of time that triggers nostalgia for those who lived through this epic era time. Oh yeah, don’t forget Steppenwolf, the Who, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, the Stones, and Judas Priest. Reminiscing the 60’s would be incomplete without including these hard rock bands.
Most living Americans have not experienced the cultural 60’s. The majority of those who have are now dead. Those among the living who have are often triggered by nostalgic memories. How could you not? It was such an intense time in America.
That said, every other era in American history has been equally intense, too. The speed of change in today’s era is unprecedented. There were far fewer genres of music in the 60’s than there are now in 2020’s. Television has dramatically changed. The list of change is endless. It’s easy to get caught in a time capsule.
People say kids today are not what they used to be. Of course, they are not because today’s kids were not born back then. Some say they would hate to have to raise kids in today’s world. They said that about kids back when I was growing up!
Nostalgia triggers reflection and yearning for what used to be but no longer is. It can be fun! Throwback experiences bring back yesterday once more.
Nostalgia is a universal experience. Some people get stuck in yesterday, seeking an illusive security that really never existed. Others attempt to seal tight the past and never explore its meaningfulness out of a fear of further pain. Kierkegaard, the existentialist wrote that “life is meant to be lived forward but can only be understood backwards”. He, no doubt, was nostalgic. The question is how to look back, gain necessary insight and move forward without getting stuck in yesterday. Here are a few considerations:
1. Shape your identity with inside values separate from outside influence. Everyone is influenced by outside social behaviors. Entrepreneurs are experts with understanding modernity and social trends that impact what we buy, where we go, and why we behave in certain ways. That said, personal values require introspection about a compendium of life experience. Within this individual anthology, each person is responsible to create heartfelt beliefs fueled with conviction to guide and shape what matters to you in the world around you. It’s easy to connect to what charismatic friends think and do. Hashtag jingoes and witticisms are energetic and influence how you choose to engage the world. Motivated by emotional response, it is tempting to embrace and declare resolute truth without digging deep within your own brilliance to clarify symbol and substance to navigate through social pressure. Groupthink often blunts personal creativity and hampers individual responsibility. It has always been easier to go along to get along for addicts. Dysfunctional families subtly adopt the mentality of ignoring the dead dog in the middle of the room. Dysfunction in families emasculates and indirectly shapes family members to embrace the improbable and ignore the obvious. Individuation is necessary to the formation of identity. It is common to adopt other people’s dogma for living without going deep within in order to know what it means to be true to your own heart. We learn to do this through others role-modeling this process, thus the value of a mentor, sponsor, and parent. Nostalgia beckons that we go back to how things used to be. Sometimes this is good. Other times nostalgia proves shallow and ineffective to current times. Ultimately you are the leader you are looking for. There are no gurus. You are it for you!
2. Nostalgia signals a need for further grief work. Life is a constant flux. In the 70’s Karen Carpenter sang ‘Lookin’ back on how it was in years gone by and the good times that I had, makes today seem rather sad—so much has changed”. There is a certain elusive quality with nostalgic memories. It never really was what you make up yesterday used to be. There are fond memories of days when things were more simple. Electronic technology has eclipsed former times that relied upon manual operations. Do you really want to go back to those days when you balance the pros and cons with the here and now? Even if you do, you can’t! While you can sing about yesterday once more— it’s over, never to be repeated again. Nostalgia signals the need for grief work. Letting go of what used to be is unappealing. Nostalgia is a feeling experience that reminds us that we must let go of what we cannot control, the passing of yesterday. Grieving is a life-long experience that most dread and avoid. However, when you lean into nostalgia, embrace its purpose to grieve the loss of what used to be, it opens the door to wonders that exist in the here and now! It does not eliminate the pain that comes with the loss, but, it does ignite the hope of current possibility.
3. Make it a practice to give up the storyline. Nostalgic memories carry a storyline. Trauma fuels nostalgic memories that house mistaken beliefs about self and the world around you. I have listened to many people share nostalgic experiences that unfold hurtful messages. I hear talk about being on the outside of the bubble looking in! Some lament that they never measured up! Other nostalgic experiences trigger thoughts that if you know what I know about me, you would reject me too! They are all inaccurate speculations. When you believe you are on the outside of the bubble looking in, just create a new bubble with you in the center! If others get to know your heart as you do they would be drawn closer to you, not further away. Create your own measure stick that begins with you being enough! Addressing nostalgia means that you will need to let go of the storyline that emasculates and minimizes your sense of self. Enjoy past memories that trigger awareness of fun experiences with people you enjoyed. Allow sadness or painful awareness to be present about hard times experienced. Then let go of the experience, good or bad and create a new storyline that champions personal empowerment and belief that you are an unrepeatable miracle of the universe destined to transcend yesterday into something much more in the here and now.