What Are You Nostalgic For?
What are you nostalgic for?
I recently plunged back into another writing course, even though I swore to myself I wouldn’t sign up FOR ANYTHING ELSE until I finished what I’ve started. I.e. my book.
But the questions Jeanette LeBlanc poses are just too juicy to turn down and I figured it might light up my book writing, as well.
And since I’ve ignored this blog for three long weeks I decided I would answer the question here.
“What are you nostalgic for?” was the question, although it’s much deeper and thought-provoking via Jeanette (take the course and you’ll understand what I mean).
It sloshed around in my head for a good day or two and then yesterday morning when I opened my eyes, the word nostalgia popped into my head. First thing. First thought. And as I lay there in a semi-awake state (where most good answers seem to appear) I realized with clarity what I’m most nostalgic for.
Pre-computer days. Pre-smart phone days. Pre-Google days. Pre-excess information days. Pre-technology days.
My brain is weary.
Do I want to go back to the black rotary phone I had growing up? Maybe. Well, no.
Do I want to be in the dark about so many FACTS? Yes. There are just too many.
Do I want to be so unreachable? Yes! Definitely, yes! I love to hide.
The sounds of ringing and dinging and chiming and chirping are not welcome to an introvert.
It’s a Vata person’s worst nightmare.
Give me the sounds of wind howling and water lapping and trees rustling any day.
I am on technology overload and am nostalgic for the days before it exploded and became such a normal part of my daily life.
Don’t get me wrong. No one is holding me down and shoving an iPhone in my hand. Or nailing my bottom to the chair in front of my computer.
I actually own a rotary phone that I bought at a flea market years ago. It still works. I could use it.
And I’ve drawers filled with empty notebooks to write in. And pens galore. I have two working typewriters. Manual.
I love to type. But now, most of my writing is done on a computer.
And 99% of my business is now computer-related.
Oh, my, how did I ever fall down this rabbit hole?
I remember holding out when cell phones became popular. Then I gave in, but only for occasional phone calls. No texting, no “smart” functions. Now I have the latest iPhone.
The first computer we had in our house didn’t tempt me at all. It was a PC. Yuck. It was beige and clunky, and there was nothing alluring or creative about it.
And then I bought my first Mac. Gulp. Damn you, Apple. That’s it! I think I can blame this all on Apple!
I’m nostalgic for pre-Apple days.
It’s all Apple’s fault that I’ve become one of those people who needs to set a timer for 20 minutes so I take a computer break from my screen of possibilities. There’s so much in there; my 2009 iMac is filled to the brim.
Music and pictures and course after course after course.
It’s become an addiction. Truly. When you’re aware of doing something in excess but you just can’t pull yourself away.
It’s time to make some changes.
And blaming Apple is like an alcoholic blaming their favorite brand of whisky (Scottish spelling).
I wonder how many times a day I use Google to pile on more information into my already troubled brain. It’s no wonder I can’t remember things.
I’m nostalgic for my memory.
I’m nostalgic for the days when I would sit and knit for hours. But not for the days when I got carpal tunnel syndrome from over-knitting. Do you see a pattern here???
Or have the time to re-read books. Every December I used to re-read “Little Women”.
Not in a speed-reading kind of way. But in a leisurely way, savoring the memories that revisiting the story would evoke.
While I nibbled on Christmas cookies with a cup of tea.
I love to read for pleasure. So much. I love reading fiction. I love reading children’s books.
I’m nostalgic for leisurely reading.
And then there are social media. Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Pinterest. Oh, my!
I’m nostalgic for playing with friends outside. Or just being outside more than I’m inside. I love my cozy nest of an apartment, probably way too much.
At the same time, I’m nostalgic for being alone without the constant connection that now exists.
I’m a hibernator.
I’m nostalgic for Nature.
Ok, Barbara. Let’s do a reality check.
Maybe I’ve just been watching too much “Outlander” and “Downton Abbey” (I’m just finishing re-watching the entire series. Kind of like re-reading Little Women, right?) Maybe that’s why I don’t have time for solitude, knitting, and reading novels. Starz, Netflix, Masterpiece Classic. Hmm…
Lately, I seem drawn to these “back in the day” kind of shows. Life was simpler without the crazy technology.
I loved the scene where the Dowager Countess of Grantham (Maggie Smith) reacts with horror to electricity being installed.
I love candlelight.
Or how about being able to drink water from a stream?
I don’t think I want to go back to outhouses, or no hot showers (Wait! I’m not that old!), but there’s not one thing on my nostalgia list that I can’t have with a little self-discipline.
I can disconnect when and where and as much as I want. I can go outside. Take a train or a bus and walk in the woods.
I could move somewhere where Nature is more present. Although I have a good friend who’s been feeling much the same way I do. She’s surrounded by Nature. Trees abound. And yet she finds herself glued to technology much as I do.
I can cozy up inside and re-read Little Women.
I can finish that dusty pink scarf that I’ve been putzing with for ages.
I know that someday down the road, I might find myself nostalgic for my way of life today.
And, as much as I might be nostalgic for pre-technology days, technology has been kind to me in the past decade. I have a website and a blog where I love to connect with people. Writing has given me an enormous amount of joy.
I have good friends all over the world who I met online through various programs. I even spent a blissful week in Ireland last summer with one of them.
I can text these friends and check in just to remain connected. And sometimes, even pick up the phone!
I’m able to sit here, right now, on my computer and type my thoughts quickly. And like I said, I love to type!
I guess the key is not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
All things in moderation.
Thank you, Jeanette, for asking the question and giving me food for thought.
But now, I’m shutting down and going for a Google-less walk.
To clear my head of any excess information, I’ve put into it so far today.
No iPod playing.
I’m going to walk to a neighborhood park, rest my back against one of the big sycamore trees, close my eyes and listen to the birds.
It’s so simple.
What are you nostalgic for, my Internet friends? Even those of you who didn’t grow up in the 50’s – rotary phones and all – must sometimes long for a slower, simpler life.