Anyone who has read my posts and fictional stories lately cannot help but to have noticed that they are steeped in nostalgia. This is something I cannot seem to escape. Whether my school-days, London life in the early 1960s, or harking back to simpler times, and less complicated lives. It is nothing new on this blog of course, as long-term followers will know very well.
I recall that many of you manage to avoid this compulsion to look back. You cope well without the constant reflections on former relationships, life in an age before electronics, old money, and weights and measures that meant something. You have adapted, moved on, and are looking forward. I get that, and understand why you do it. In my case, it seems to get harder to do this every year. As I move on to one more birthday, one extra year in age, my mind refuses to allow me to embrace what future might lie ahead, and takes me back to places I used to live, and things I once did.
When I first retired, I felt frustrated about this. Sit quietly in the garden, lay down in bed to sleep for the night, and my past life played out in my mind like old films in long-demolished cinemas. No matter how hard I tried, and I did try, I couldn’t get those images and memories to stop running through my mind. Eyes closed or open, they were still there. I wrote about it on this blog, in the hope that would deal with it. But that didn’t work.
By the end of 2017, I stopped trying, and just let it happen. As a result, I spent most of this year feeling like I was living two lives. Half in the present, with my routine with Ollie, and life in Beetley, and half in the past, still going to school, shopping in familiar streets, or playing in parks in the school holidays. Riding on the backs of those pleasant memories come the bad ones. Failed relationships, unpleasant things seen and done in difficult jobs, and bad decisions that I have had to live with ever since.
You can’t pick and choose what comes into your mind, it would seem.
Is this just a normal aspect of getting older? I don’t know, as it is the first time I have become old. Taking to other people around the same age, they don’t appear to wallow in nostalgia in the same way. Or perhaps they hide it better, who knows? But I have managed to settle into it, and no longer resist it.
Nostalgia has become my friend.