With graduation approaching and the sunshine making an appearance, it seems change is in the air. I learnt how quickly your day can turn around when I resigned and found myself with a new job later that day; clearly times have changed. As March arrived, spring cleaning became top priority, along with pancake preparations for Shrove Tuesday and denial that D-Day (also known as that ‘Dissertation-Deadline’ people talk about) is only two months away. This is less than two months at time of publication. I have progressed from merely visiting the library to having moved in, which is greatly hindered by the lack of kettles and showers. Despite various requests on Twitter, I did not receive any free pancakes whilst at the library and thus Shrove Tuesday actually became Wednesday (although after only two hours sleep I reasoned that it was still Shrove Tuesday and there are no pancake laws.) Three years at university has gone quicker than chocolate-topped pancakes, and I’ve found myself slightly nostalgic. To what extent do our memories benefit us?
Nostalgia: friend or foe? The University of Southampton claims that Nostalgia ‘confers psychological benefits.’ Aside of the given attributes, ‘a stronger sense of belongingness, affiliation or sociality’, nostalgia is an important aid to retaining our true character despite circumstantial change. Does history repeat itself or do we learn from the past? If no event is truly the same twice, then nostalgia is the enemy, preventing us from embracing change. Nostalgia may prevent us from making the right decision, due to the rose-tinted specs it gives us. Perhaps nostalgia is encouraged by the current socio-economic climate; are the new generation clock-watchers, living for the future?
As a history student, one regularly faces ‘the past is not important’ looks. Especially when discussing the implications of coffee-houses in the 17th century (really, very important if you ask me, but they usually didn’t). To deny the past leaves a clean slate; the future-focused prefer to delete. Forgetting the past gives a sense of freedom and a removal of responsibility to adhere to the previous; an essay without an introduction. Others use the past to dwell, avoiding the responsibility of the future in the comfort that it worked out once. This also encourages the comparison of past outcomes to predictions of future outcomes. Suspicious minds result from this, and the inability to let go of the wheel means said situations are predisposed to that ‘same old’ outcome. Do we make our own destiny? In order to change your circumstances, let go of nostalgia. A little indulgence sometimes can remind us how far we’ve come, but finding the balance between living in the present, remembering the importance of the past and preparing for the future is evidently a challenge. If living for the future is an escape from the responsibility of the past, it is also an avoidance of the present.
One of my most prominent memories of growing up was my urge to apply to a house-makeover show. I wanted to get our family house redecorated without my mum knowing, but with a twist. I wanted fish-tank walls. I was obsessed with lava lamps, and imagined that if you could contain the same stuff behind glass walls, you could put fish in too. On further reflection, I have realized that these fish would need to be plastic, although nothing is impossible. I learnt the true meaning of this phrase last night, as I discovered I had obtained a place at The New School in New York City, with a 25% merit-based scholarship. Me. I still don’t actually believe this but then I am a fiction writer. After six years of talking about this, it seems my past has caught up with me. Now to find the other 75%…
For fabulous designs for your future, check out this imaginative link: