Nostalgia: Are You Crazy?!

Apparently nostalgia wasn't always a pleasant stroll down Memory Lane. I was disappointed to read a well-written article in The Atlantic by Julie Beckaug. Disappointed, and a bit disheartened because I really enjoy some quality nostalgizing now and then (not to mention making up my own words).

Turns out there was a time when nostalgia was a disease, brought on by any number of causes including: "A too lenient education, coming from the mountains, unfulfilled ambition, masturbation, eating unusual food, and happy love."


Julie points out in her article that this "disease" first became problematic in the good old USA following the Civil War: "American military doctor Theodore Calhoun thought nostalgia was something to be ashamed of, that those who suffered from it were unmanly, idle and weak-willed. He proposed curing it with a healthy dose of public ridicule and bullying. Maybe this is why most people don't feel nostalgic about middle school."

Maybe I'm in denial about my own nostalgiaism; after all, while I am not from the mountains, I do occasionally eat unusual food and I do enjoy "happy love." But, I want to believe that remembering good times is a good thing.

I once heard a doctor make what I thought was a beautiful point. He said that if someone cuts off, let's say a finger, it is called dismembered, medically speaking. He said that if the finger is reattached it is not necessarily called re-membered but it should be.

That's what remembering can do for us. When we gather at the Thanksgiving table and tell and hear old stories of the family craziness it is like we are being re-membered with all the stuff that makes family; well, family.

You can read Julie's article here: When Nostalgia Was A Disease

Read it. Then be glad we figured out that nostalgia isn't a psychopathological disorder. Then take a few minutes to remember the good times. And if I could make a suggestion, listen to The Beatles "In My Life" while you're re-membering. Then feel free to share a fond memory or two in the comments here.