Definition of Nostalgia by Merriam-Webster
1 : the state of being homesick : homesickness. 2 : a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition also : something that evokes nostalgia.
A friend recently wrote about a product I have not thought of in decades. It is a cheez product sold in a jar. If you remember it from your childhood, then you too may feel a little nostalgic. I did, so I bought some. It has been on the market since the early fifties! Now as is so often said, you can never go home again. I actually don’t believe that so I tried a little of that jar of orange stuff on toast and was pleasantly surprised. It doesn’t taste the same. I actually enjoyed it. Would I buy it again? No. Nowadays people read labels. Too much salt, too little cheese. But it started me thinking.
We are all feeling a little nostalgic for times past. Even if it’s only a year. This enforced confinement and social distancing is making us become a little more inventive. We’re finding ways to amuse ourselves. Some of those ways are quite brilliant and some are pretty predictable. Netflix and other streaming opportunities are very popular right now. I find I’m thinking about TV programs from 40 and 50 years ago. I remember them as being inoffensive with a positive message and yet today they would be seen as denigrating and sexist. They played into a stereotype that today we find unacceptable. I don’t look for the deeper meaning in television. Unless of course I’m watching a program designed to do just that. I just want to be entertained. I want to smile and laugh and be intrigued. I want to guess who did it and their motives. I don’t want to find mistakes so I don’t go looking for them.
There is much in our past that we got wrong. Sometimes, we still get it wrong. But I miss a time when we liked each other. We didn’t go looking for the deeper meaning of the wink across a crowded room or the smile of one child to another. That doesn’t mean we don’t stop looking deeper but sometimes a smile is just a smile. Although now it is harder to see them. But look at the eyes of someone who is smiling and if you look carefully you can see that smile reflected.
The world is in a difficult place right now and not just from the pandemic. Divisions amongst neighbours, angry words and actions are becoming all too common. I want to shake the hand of a stranger. I want to hug a friend. And I want us, all of us, to come together in peace. Just my thoughts on a warm sunny morning.