#6: Why is nostalgia a crippling emotion?

Shayan Kashani
2 min readDec 15, 2020

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and the days of auld lang syne?

It doesn’t have to be.

Sure, it is normal to reminisce with wistful affection about a person, or period, in the past. Listening to an old-favourite song, strolling through an old-favourite neighbourhood, or watching the opening credits of an old-favourite show — these will always invoke nostalgia, but there is nothing crippling about it.

The reason nostalgia can be a crippling emotion has nothing to do with the past, but with the present. It is when we are dissatisfied with our present circumstances that a sudden reminder of a happier past — the auld lang syne — can thrust one into a crippling pit of nostalgia.

What is deliciously paradoxical here is that while you were living your past lives, there was no constant awareness of being in a happy place. No sir. Life is full of speed bumps, and it is impossible to not run over a few from time to time at suboptimal speeds.

Similarly, anyone crippled by nostalgia today — dispirited and crestfallen about the Now — never really considers that one, three, five years in the future, it may well be the doom and gloom of today that will seem so sweet and delicious then.

Those where the good old days, people say. Today, everything is fucked. But, tomorrow, things will be better again. This is how many people see the world.

Their happiness is kept hostage by time.

Lost in the past.

Locked in future escrow.

For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
For the days of auld lang syne.

#thegravitasproject

--

--

Shayan Kashani

Writer — Philosopher — Teacher — Runner — Reader — Nomad.