Is nostalgia an escape to the past?

Enjoying thoughts of times gone by does focus on what was rather than what is.  However, most people don’t live in the past, so an occasional trip back to the “good old days” is a pleasurable diversion.  This mental process may also provide a valuable perspective on how to more effectively deal with the problems we all face today.

Fishing in Kansas

Image by Clint M Chilcott via Flickr


Now that summer is here most New Seniors will, no doubt, have some favorite recollections of their youth.  From playing with friends and neighbors to get-a-way cabins by the lake or cottages by the ocean to going to camp or being involved in local activities the time was full but we always wanted to have more things to occupy our time.  Over the years, the reality of youthful impetuousness and the desire to be constantly entertained has given way to an appreciation, maybe a yearning, for those easier softer times.

Younger people may look at nostalgia as an older person’s day dream.  This may be because the young are not far enough away from life’s events for people, places and things to have a lasting impact or meaning on them.  Another reason that the past is significant is when the product, service or circumstance no longer exists.  And, the older you get the more things disappear and the more attractive those memories become.

In due time the Gen X, Y and whatever other generational groups come along will find their own moments of nostalgia.  These may be the quiet days before the Internet was invented, remembering their first cell phone, what was “in” prior to body piercing and tattoos becoming popular, or how enjoyable life was before the great recession.  Time will reveal what is worth remembering for today’s younger people when they become tomorrow’s older people.

New Seniors who were born in the ‘30s through the mid-‘40s are considered pre-boomers.  While the depression is not stored in their memory banks, WWII is.  They remember the war years and the ultimate victories.  The coming on the scene of television, 45rpm records, the Korean Conflict, 3-D movies, moving to the suburbs, and the birth of rock and roll were all important events in the lives of pre-boomers. 

Boomers did not start arriving until 1946, but they took what their older brothers and sisters had and expanded on it.  They experienced Vietnam with its protests, civil rights and the women’s movements, plus a whole lot more.  They are turning 65 at the rate of 4 million individuals per year and will continue to do so through 2030 until all 76 million of them have attained New Senior status.

What will be nostalgic in the minds of boomers as they continue the aging process?  Will it be the historic events such as those mentioned above, those that are frivolous in nature like or strictly personal situations that can be conjured up anytime they want to take a break from the stress and strain of modern life?  Whatever the reason remembering the good times can’t be a bad thing.   

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One Response to “Is nostalgia an escape to the past?”

  1. very good post! need to say you did a great job and i really appreciate it!

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