Nostalgia Junkie Problems

I am a nostalgia junkie. This might sound innocuous and cute, but it causes problems for a personality like mine. That is a personality that has a difficult time living in the present. This is something that I’ve thought about a lot over the years, but I’ve never written about or really explained to anyone. But after yesterdays article on Ani Difranco and the death of David Bowie, I started thinking about it again.

My bouts of Nostalgia Fugue can be brought on by just about anything, but more often than not it’s music that is the trigger. A certain song comes on and I am immediately transported back to the time when that song had the most meaning for me. One of the most potent songs is Mr. Jones by Counting Crows. Actually, pretty much any song off of their album August and Everything After works. But, damn, Mr. Jones comes on and I am immediately back to the late fall/winter of 1994/95 when I was in a deep depression and state of loneliness during my first semester of college. I was away from family and friends and in a toxic mind-state (a holdover from my high school years) and I just wanted out. Mr. Jones comes on and boom, it’s all there in my head. And instead of all of the horrible feelings and sadness that was my experience at the time, nostalgia seems to color them in muted colors so that I end up missing that. This even though I could find parallels in my present day bouts of depression with then and I’m not happy at all when they decided to show up. Nostalgia is weird.

And then there are events (another word would be better…it seems so…cheap…to boil them down to that one word) like the death of a celebrity. Like I said yesterday, I was not a Bowie fan, but his death was an ending to a time that, even though I know it’s stupid to believe this, wouldn’t end. It’s similar to the death of Leonard Nimoy last year or Robin Williams the year before that. I didn’t know these people. I wasn’t even huge fans of them, I mean liked Star Trek and Williams’ work but I wasn’t obsessive about it. However, they were always there in my life. I remember watching The Original Series of Star Trek and crying in the movie theater when Spock died the The Wrath of Khan. I watched Mork and Mindy on TV and enjoyed Williams’ standup and many of his movies. They were just there. And now they’re not.

It’s stupid, I know. It’s almost…undeveloped. Does that make sense? Like, at my age, you’d have to have figured this out by now, right? I mean, I guess I have, but I’ve never put it down in words.

And it’s the same with the Nostalgia Fugues that I fall into. Nostalgia is something that should be sampled, enjoyed for a bit, and then put back up on the shelf. And yet I will just wallow in it for long periods of time, for unhealthy periods of time. It never helps. I never come out of it dusting off my hands and thinking that I’ve resolved whatever demons haunted me from that time. Instead I binge on the nostalgia until it makes me sick and I put it away for a while. Only for a while, though, cause the next time that song comes on, it’s back down into the rabbit hole.

One thought on “Nostalgia Junkie Problems

  1. I’m glad I’ve found someone who seems to feel the same way. With me though, it can be music, films, but especially games (sounds like the dumbest of them all, but I’ll elaborate).

    There are occasions when I’ve been lucky enough to play through an incredibly written story or just be completely immersed in an incredibly crafted world, and as much as I’ll just be enjoying it at the time, I’ll look back on it with disproportional longing. I played through a game in two days during one Christmas holiday, and then it was finished. It was gone. I’d never be able to experience it for the first time again, and I’d never be able to interact with those characters in the same way. It’s like I’ve lost something that I’ll never get back.

    This form of nostalgia, to me, feels like pain, but I can’t get enough of it. I’ll listen to some music that I’ve associated with it, and feel an intense longing for that supposedly perfect time, and I’ll make sure to never listen to this music, watch those films, or play those games, too often so that I can experience it with the same rush of emotions every few months, or years.

    I don’t know what drives me, or us, to do this. It’s probably not healthy though.

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