September 21, 2020 Carole Levy

Clinging To the Good Old Days (G.O.D)

Recently, I caught myself thinking about life-pre-February-2020 as the good old days – the days when things were certain – or normal

Thankfully, it didn’t take me too long to remember that there wasn’t a lot of certainty in my life as a consultant back in February either, and the normalcy of a life in a society with so many dysfunctional disparities, wasn’t actually the normal life I wanted to return to.

Then, I found myself reminiscing about the good old 80’s when I was a teenager, at a peak of intellectual curiosity, when I discovered music, literature, politics and  I transgressed all sorts of boundaries. I can’t evoke this time without remembering how I traded my authenticity and appetite for learning with the world of appearances, in order to be included in the culture and avoid failure at any cost. 

I ended up thinking about the good old 70’s, when my mother sewed squares of Vichy cotton fabric, yellow and white, at the bottom of my jeans, and when, supposedly, I wasn’t worrying about anything. Except that it was exactly the time when I started to worry about everything. This was after unexpectedly discovering that life had an end and that I would lose all my loved ones eventually. I don’t think my nervous system ever fully recovered from this premature revelation.

So, yes, it’s tempting to cling to certainty by seeking comfort in a delusional memory of the past, seemingly perfect and safe, and forget  the vital nuances of our experiences – than to stay present in the discomfort of what we don’t know  right now

And there is a lot we don’t know now. 

I realized that I rarely refer to the good old 90’s. I don’t think it’s just because the fashion was ugly then! Perhaps it’s because the 90’s were my most dissonant years when I was applying myself to learn to be conscious and live in reality.

If nostalgia means literally being homesick, perhaps, when the temptation to indulge in the past arises, I have to remember that the only safe home I can return to, is the concrete reality of my alive body, no matter its vitality, and the certainty that when I feel bad, it will pass.

Reflective question: “What are your good old days? Do you invoke nostalgia as an escape mechanism?”

Comments (6)

  1. Gauthier

    Carole wrote : So, yes, it’s tempting to cling to certainty by seeking comfort in a delusional memory of the past, seemingly perfect and safe, and forget the vital nuances of our experiences – than to stay present in the discomfort of what we don’t know right now.

    I write: Certainly. But our present experiences (or experience) plunge completely into our past. Nothing better than memory to liv e the present correctly. For the future that’s another question …

    Pierre-Louis Gauthier( France).

    • Carole Levy

      You’re right too, Pierre-Louis! Our present is rooted in our past – and memories can be a source of comfort too… thanks for adding your perspective on the reflection!

  2. Lissette Rodriguez

    Thanks, Carole, for sharing these thoughts. And yes, the good old days are never as golden as we remember them, and it´s easy to paint a rosy picture of them, especially in present times. I am trying to face these scary days with music, poetry and other forms of art, especially the art of others who have gone through hard times before and made it through. That seems to be a more nurturing and reassuring way of moving through the uncertain present.
    Sending you love,
    Lissette

    • Carole Levy

      Thank you Lissette for evoking your grounding tools. I love “the art of others who have gone through hard times before and made it through.” Sending you love back.

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