What Nostalgia Means To Me

Whilst in the process of my recent house blitz, well overdue, might I add – as I was clearing out the cupboard. What do I find, but boxes of photos, cards, love letters… It’s so hard not to look through them and of course, I became very nostalgic. The meaning of Nostalgia in the dictionary is a sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past.

I found a photo of me with two twin brothers we had met in Amsterdam, they were Italian. It was 29 years ago, I was 17. Wow, it made me feel like I’ve lived many lives. They came to visit my best friend Tricia and me in London and then we gave them a surprise return visit in Parma, Italy. Cristiano told me he would travel the world and come back and marry me. Through Facebook a few years ago we got back in touch. We laughed recently in a message when I sent him a copy of the same photo. He said he was crazy about that girl. I told him that thankfully I wasn’t still waiting for him and we laughed!

As I chatted to Tricia about the famous first holiday to Italy. She remembered how we went to the beach with lots of her cousin’s friends and I decided to show off and swim over to a rock. However, I was a terrible swimmer and must have sat there for an hour before I was brave enough to swim back and it took three of the teenage boys to accompany me.

Next, I then found a perfectly printed presentation for my supervisory Management Diploma back in 1995. It transported me back to the long course I’d attended every Friday on a day release from work, along with what I’d studied, prepared and achieved. Then there were some old love letters from my first real love Rich. Reading them they felt surreal and again, like yet another life and I just couldn’t bring myself to throw them out…Why? I keep asking myself.

Another chap asked me what perfume I was wearing when dancing one evening. I said ‘J’adore’. He said that he loved it and that his old Tango partner used to wear it and it transported him back.  As I was leaving, as I just happened to have the bottle of J’dore in my dance bag, I sprayed some on a tissue and gave it to him; he seemed really pleased.

On my dance weekender, one of the highlights is always ‘swing hour’. Many dress up in 40’s and 50’s attire, big full skirts and men in army or vintage clothing. The DJ plays songs of that time… It’s remembering happy yesterdays for many, and myself. It makes me imagine what it would have been like to have lived and danced in those times…

I believe that looking back sometimes and reflecting on all these experiences is reminding me of who I used to be. Good, bad, innocent, crazy, naive, uptight even! Whether it’s a smell, a song, a photo, a TV programme or just talking about old times with a friend. I don’t want to go back but these memories are a comfortable familiarity, like a favourite blanket, teddy, my mum’s chicken noodle soup or even my wonderful late mum herself.

Reflecting back on all these memories has made me realise that so much has contributed to my mould, character and confidence but at the same time some of my insecurities too!  All in all, I believe that many of these past experiences have made the rich unique tapestry of me.

What do you feel nostalgic about in your life?