It’s ironic that this week’s topic of discussion is “remembering”. Especially on this day, when the word remember seems to come up all over the news, social media, and in conversation, with just cause. Tobias Wolff’s essay on remembering really got me thinking about the nature in which we remember people, particularly those who have passed, and how they deserve to be remembered for who they were as opposed to what they could have been. So, on this day, let us remember those lost as the people they were: mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands and wives. And lest we not forget, but instead push to the back of our minds, all that they’ve missed in these twelve years past.
In conjunction with Wolff’s essay, Adrei Codrescu’s short essay “Nostalgia for Everything” forces you to consider the difference between mere memory, and the phenomenon that is nostalgia. You can remember what you had for breakfast this morning, or what you wore last Thursday, but there is an apparent absence of nostalgia in these simple memories. Nostalgia, in my opinion, is a more sentimentally valued recollection that intensifies a pleasant memory, and can invoke that feeling of Deja-Vu at a later time. The things that constitute nostalgia are physical stimuli, like touch and smell, both of which can’t truly be conjured up from our memory bank, but can intensely invoke memories passed when contacted again.
For years, the feeling of nostalgia was regarded as a psychological disorder. It was regarded as a painful longing to return to the past, and ultimately live your life backwards. In this New York Times article (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/09/science/what-is-nostalgia-good-for-quite-a-bit-research-shows.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0), Dr. Constantine Sedikides sheds a different light on the feeling of nostalgia. He says, “Nostalgia made me feel that my life had roots and continuity. It made me feel good about myself and my relationships. It provided a texture to my life and gave me strength to move forward.” This is the nostalgia that I know. In my opinion, it is by no means any form of clinical depression, it’s the opposite. When I feel nostalgia, it is a rewarding feeling, a feeling that calls upon my fondest memories, and though sometimes I long to go back to that time and place, it is enough for me to recall the smells, the tastes and the touch that so intensifies these sentimental memories.