apologia for the perpetual nostalgic

(3 comments)
May 16, 2006
The idea of hindsight being 20/20 is blatantly wishful thinking. We view the past through various lenses, not always of our own choosing; sometimes through rose-colored glasses, other times through the wrong end of a telescope, but most often through a kind of subjective kaleidoscope where various fragments slide momentarily view, reflected and amplified until they seem to form some kind of cohesive whole.

I'm a perpetual nostalgic, no bones about it. But if I were to only value some combination of the present moment and the unknowable future at the expense of my own past, I could only get poorer as time plunges inexorably forward, finally dying penniless. Nostalgia is a kind of accountancy, but also a method of mining, extracting value from the dark chambers of my own history and providing raw material for the frame of the future that I'd like to build.

Sometimes this nostalgia has taxed the indulgence of current or even former romantic interests. Perhaps that is the undying allure of first romance: the one relationship that never had to compete with any form of an idealized past...