Day 6: Nostalgia

Nostalgia, is such a powerful thing, isn’t it?

The other day, a bunch of us were talking and someone said, ‘I feel sorry for our children, they will never enjoy the carefree childhood we had’.

That had me thinking. I didn’t agree or disagree at that point but the more I think about it, the more I feel that more than anything, it is just nostalgia colouring our lenses for us. When I see my daughter, she is having a happy childhood of her own. She and her friends have the same carefree fun we had. Yes, they might have parents who are a little more aware of the dangers lurking about. Yes, I refuse to believe that there were NO dangers in those days. That, in my opinion, is just being naive.

I’ve been reading a book in which the author muses about people in some cultures spend so much time and energy on cooking, apparently focussing on the most ‘important things’, while some cultures just pick up food from supermarkets. He misses those days when everything was perfect. I can’t help wonder how many people end up spending so much time cooking elaborate meals because they have to and not because they want to. Given a choice, wouldn’t they have opted for simpler options? Why are modern time saving conveniences considered so bad? Isn’t it just nostalgia making everything seem rosier?

I’ve heard people say that the older generations had more content lives. Did our parents and grandparents actually have more happy lives? Does hardship always translate into content lives? I don’t know. I’m not convinced. I believe that people are content/happy based on the type of personalities they have, not any other factor.

After all every generation has it’s own challenges, and difficulties. Take my parents, for instance. They lived in a much ‘simpler time’ when they were young. Travelled by trains. We as children have fond memories of those days. Communicated through letters with their parents and telegrams during emergencies. Yes, those wonderful days when people used to write letters. But nothing can match up, for me, being able to pick up a phone and talk to my parents. I might not live next door to them, but then neither did they. But I can talk to them whenever I want to. Those letters we romanticize about, well, they are great, but nothing matches being able to hear the voice of a loved one, in my opinion. And if you can write a letter as well, fantastic!

Do I sound totally materialistic? I probably am too. Because I enjoy today. I would much rather enjoy today than pine for yesterday or yearn for tomorrow. Because I know that while my daughter’s childhood is very different from mine, it is her childhood and it will make for nostalgic memories for her. Nothing wrong with nostalgia at all. We would all be nostalgic about things. It would be impossible not to. But I do feel that it should not be at the cost of today.

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51 thoughts on “Day 6: Nostalgia

  1. This is why I admire you so much. You are a super practical lady. Having said that, I do love writing letters, but just write emails to my mom and dad occasionally. I guess every generation talks about the ‘good old days’ Yes there are good times but there are also certain things which our generation enjoys as well no?

    Love you for your practicality!

  2. I love holding on to my childhood days, remembering them, feeling nostalgic about them, Smits. I sometimes recount them to Namnam as well. But I certainly don’t expect her to relate with them entirely, for she is living in a completely different generation where she has her own moments to cherish and safekeep. She is living a carefree childhood in every bit of the way, is what I’d like to believe.

    As you said its not as if we didn’t have dangers lurking in our childhood. Now, though, I feel we, as parents are a little more aware, which makes us probably more paranoid and shielding towards our kids’ safety.

    That’s not to say that the children of today are not getting to enjoy their childhood, probably not the way we did. But then they don’t have to enjoy them exactly the way we did, do they? Every generation is different, and each one will have its own way of describing nostalgia πŸ™‚

  3. Thank you for writing this, Smitha. Every generation will have a story to tell about their ‘good old days’ – my grand parents’, parents’, mine and my children’s. Some times, we get too carried away with our nostalgia to romanticize it beyond proportions. I used to do that often earlier and now, tend to not overdo it!

    • All of us tend to do it, I have a problem with it when people refuse to live in today, and try to replicate life as it was, in an environment where it can only lead to disaster.

  4. That sounds so much like me, the nostalgia part that is πŸ™‚
    While accepting and acknowledging that our kids are indeed happy the way they are, somehow cannot stop ruing the fact they don’t get to do the things that I enjoyed as a kid. Maybe that is the romantic in me talking πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  5. I think I like something of old and somethings of new.. I have a mixed feeling.. not able to fix on to one.. But i think Bunty is enjoying life in her own way.. I am sure she would be happy being in present day.. πŸ™‚

    • Oh I like the older times. I loved my childhood. It was wonderful, but I’m sure that Daughter will have similar memories of hers, though her childhood is very different from mine.

  6. Each generation and every child has “its own golden days” and that’s the way it has always been and will continue to be. I guess a part of it has to do with the fact that the human mind is rarely conditioned to enjoy what we currently have, we are always hankering for those things that we don’t currently have.

    Lovely post which is amazing food for thought.

  7. Every generation’s childhood is different and we all think about it fondly – good old days. Things change but we have to realise that our children are happy too – only the means of achieving that happiness is different. Letter writing, phone calls, Skype or whatsapp – the aim is to communicate only the facilities have changed. As long as we pass on the good values, we all should be fine I think πŸ™‚

  8. I love this line – I believe that people are content/happy based on the type of personalities they have, not any other factor. So true.

    So I agree, people in those times may not have necessarily been more content, but I definitely believe they were less stressed than what we are today. You can attribute that to a lot of factors..

    • I would completely agree with that. We are more stressed out, and busier too, I guess. The type of jobs we do have changed drastically and yes, I do think lives are more stressful these days.

  9. We’ll written post Smitha. I do believe our kids are having a beautiful childhood too. It’s not like old days but they are building beautiful memories. I am sure when it’s our gran kids era things would have changed even more. Staying happy today is the best thing. I can’t imagine how things would have been in our life if the technology is not advanced. These days not just calls, I have to see my parents often .

  10. I do agree with you to a certain extent since no world is perfect and every gen faced hiccups. It’s not like life was perfect during those days and our ancestors were Know It All. Let’s take the good things from them. Well, I’m quite nostalgic bout things:)

  11. I think each generation likes to think of ‘their time’ as the nicest ever. I loved my childhood (never felt I had lacked on fun) even though it was was very different from that of my parents (who claimed they had the best childhood!) I’d agree with Pepper though about lives being more stressful today. And I also feel there’s a lot more peer pressure and competition today than there was about 20 years back.

    Thank you for this post! Gave me something to think about πŸ™‚

    • I totally agree about the stress and competition bit. We do have a more hectic lifestyle too. But for our children, it is still their childhood, which hopefully they will remember fondly.

  12. this is the reason I try to do my best for my children to build beautiful memories.. if playing in street was fun at my childhood, having a family movie night is fun for my daughter.. generations change but the “good old days” will never change.. every generation will have their own version of “good old days”
    nicely written Smitha!!

  13. Lovely post! I so agree with you Smitha. I don’t think our children are having any less fun than we had during our childhood… just that their way of having fun is different. I am sure they will feel the same nostalgia about their childhood when they grow up as we do about ours.

  14. Excellent write up Smitha….you echoed so many of my thoughts …..it amuses me so much when people refer to the ‘good old days’ ….I often wonder how come everything in the past tense is so good and the present so bad …….as for childhood memories I want to give my daughter the best I know how and hope her memories are as precious to her as mine are to me…..so what if it’s different

    • ‘as for childhood memories I want to give my daughter the best I know how and hope her memories are as precious to her as mine are to me…..so what if it’s different’ – Couldn’t agree more!

  15. Nice post Smitha..:) .I too do not think that older generations had content lives compared to us. I think it is just that they had fewer things to deal with and we have more things in life today which sometimes makes us stressed out. If we choose to be content, we can be even in busy life.

  16. Slightly separate from this… we had a similar sort of discussions… where we were discussing so many in our generation want to pursue our hobbies and interests so much more then say our parents generation. We were just generalising… and then you see Europe and places where they give into pleasures of life more than us perhaps… we were kind of roughly generalising it is because there is a time when everyone just thinks of survival, its when they are sure of survival do the hobbies come in and following of interests… and each generation will have its odd people and every generation has its own challenges and own ways of having fun…

    Agree completely with everything you’ve said here, Hitchy!

    I kinda love to see the new generation having their sort of fun and comparing to what we used to do…

    Yes, I would like to learn one thing from my parents age… at 9 I used to be so much more independent than my son today… perhaps the biggest stumbling block is me in letting my son go… we just are not as able as our parents perhaps were in letting go … I somehow have to learn to imbibe a bit more of that!

    There’s plenty I have to learn from my parents πŸ™‚ I guess we are more of helicopter parents than our parents were. Although I don’t remember how independent I was πŸ™‚

  17. I get all nostalgic even if I read those write-ups about things rom 90s and songs from 90s etc. Even more on cartoons from 90s!!!!!! sigh.

    I guess this generation will have their own set of things to be nostalgic about. I don’t remember wanting to have any part of parents / grandparents’ childhood. Save for the pets they were allowed to keep and the number of trees they had where they lived.

    • πŸ™‚ Agree completely, Crafty! We all have nostalgic memories of growing up. I even remember Doorarshan with nostalgia πŸ™‚ It felt like the best ever πŸ™‚ But I’m sure daughter will definitely not agree with me πŸ™‚

  18. There is something about reminiscing the good ol’ days. Having said that, comparing today & yesterday is also not a wise thing to do. As they say, change is the only constant thing. I believe in picking bits of the past & incorporate them in my present, to the extent possible & if they make me happy.

  19. Wow. How come I missed this post? This says all the things I want to. Every sentence here is a gem. I will simply single out this:
    ” I believe that people are content/happy based on the type of personalities they have, not any other factor”
    B.i.n.g.o!

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