The word I’m talking about? Nostalgia.
I’ve been meaning to write a post about nostalgia for a while. I have a list of things that remind me of events, experiences, or certain feelings I had throughout the 24 years of my existence. OK, lets be honest, I don’t remember things from all 24 of them. Forget about elementary school.
Here is the Merriam-Webster definition of nostalgia:
Maybe I’m using the wrong word? I don’t think I would call my yearning as excessively sentimental or really excessive at all.
I like American Heritage’s definition: ‘ A bittersweet longing for things, persons, or situations of the past.’ Sweet because they were (mostly) wonderful memories, but bitter because I do desire to return to some of those situations.
In no way am I using this word to refer to being homesick. There are some times when I would like to be at home in Pittsburgh frolicking in the snow, but I’m not ‘homesick’ enough to hop on a plane and go home for a few days.
This post isn’t about homesickness. It’s about other things, smaller things, invoking these feelings of yearning for the past or force a long forgotten memory out of the deep recesses of my brain. I love when these moments are sudden. You are just walking along and an old song comes on your iPod or you catch a whiff of a certain scent that brings you back to a different time and place. You’re suddenly slammed back into that memory. The most recent shock was being transported back to DC. I recently bought the shampoo and conditioner I started using there again and as soon as I opened the shampoo bottle, it brought me back to wandering around DC in the spring. That was my favorite time in DC – the spring. It wasn’t humid yet and the leaves were coming in and everything was really green. It didn’t last long, but it was there. I spent a lot of time in the spring walking the 3 miles from where I lived to The Mighty Pint in Dupont Circle.
Shampoo is such a random thing to inflict nostalgia, don’t you think?
Music does it to me, too. There are a few songs that as soon as I hear them, I float off. The first album by Boys Like Girls and Fall Out Boy’s Infinity on High throw me back to my ex-boyfriends beat up white Honda Civic and driving around Pittsburgh late at night on the way back from one of my soccer games or his hockey games. Though, the song Thunder by Boys like Girls reminds me of driving around Exton, PA when I lived there for a summer. The Secret Handshake – his first album One Full Year. That CD takes me back to my favorite Pittsburgh summer right after I turned 21. I listened to that album NON STOP. Great summer…
Maybe a desire to feel nostalgic is the reason why I’ll go back and watch all of the seasons of Greek time and time again. I’ll admit it, I love that show. No, I’m not even going with loved. I’ll say it, love. As many problems as I had with my sorority, there were good times too. Not that our sorority operated ANYTHING like those on Greek… or Greek life in general at Pitt. Just the college atmosphere takes me back. I definitely miss it and there is no doubt that I took it for granted. College students – don’t take your time in college for granted! You can do so much!
The smell of rain and damp earth – definitely back on the soccer fields playing world cup with my boys from high school.
Walking through The Mission during one of my shorter term stays here in San Francisco was interesting. Every morning that I left the house, I couldn’t figure out if I was in San Francisco or if I was back in Chile. No, its not just because everyone was speaking Spanish; the whole feel of the area just felt like Valparaiso. Other things bring up strong memories – pisco and Gasolina to name two!
Of course I could list about 50,000 things that remind me of Semester at Sea. That entire experience was simply too amazing. Read about it here!
I need to bring a notebook with me everywhere that I go, to record everything that is nostalgia-inducing. I’m sure I could come up with an interesting lists of events that I totally and completely forgot about. Maybe I should add that to my list of resolutions.
[P.S. Neuralgia means “acute paroxysmal pain radiating along the course of one or more nerves usually without demonstrable changes in the nerve structure “. I just thought it was funny that this is the only word listed on Merriam-Websters site as something that rhymes with Nostalgia. Next time I play King’s Cup, I’ll totally win the rhyming card.]