Is Nostalgia the Devil?

When catching up with old childhood friends (in my case, old is defined as those of us who were born in the forties and early fifties), the conversation seems to cover a familiar pattern.

It begins with a quick update concerning our friend and their family. How are you? How are your kids and their families; especially those adorable grandchildren? (Note that our “kids” are in their forties.)

We spend a few minutes talking about our health challenges. From minor to major, elders all seem to have some of those.

Next in the conversational sequence, we share nostalgic moments from childhood in the fifties and sixties.  We discuss the songs we sang, our grade school and high school experiences, updates on our classmates and teachers, the endless games we played outdoors, and the simplicity and innocence of our youth.

I often find myself wondering whether nostalgia is the devil in those conversations. These shared memories do represent the common starting point in our lives. Yet those memories are decades old and that life can never be relived. Is it smart to review them again and AGAIN?

Why don’t those of us who are older spend time talking about the future and the plans we have for it? Realistically, at our age there is much more past and much less future to discuss.

Finally, it is time to say goodbye until the next visit when we will run through that familiar script again. Nostalgia is certain to be included.

Posted over the holidays when nostalgia seems to peak.

About authorbillramsey

During his forty-year professional career, Bill Ramsey wrote magazine articles and business newsletters. Now retired in the mountains of western North Carolina, he writes a blog and has published four books. Bill's 2015 collection of concise, real-life essays is titled "What Do YOU Think?" He has also written "Me Now - Who Next? (The Inspiring Story of a Traumatic Brain Injury Recovery)" and "Now That I Think About It. Bill's books and are available from and on all e-readers. See Follow Bill on Facebook at
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2 Responses to Is Nostalgia the Devil?

  1. Good post, Bill. I agree to some degree, however, for most of us older folks, evoking pleasant memories of the past as a way to blunt the unpleasantness of current life can’t be all bad. I can barely fly fish anymore, but thinking about “the good old days” and reliving them with my confederates seems a wonderful way to mitigate the present difficulties I am experiencing with my favorite pastime. Why I remember once when . . . 🙂
    Happy New Year, amigo!


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