On Nostalgia

beautifully written by my sister Eva Kalea.
be sure to check out her page at http://evakalea.tumblr.com/
I think nostalgia is a kind of sadness, a melancholy for things past. (And in this sadness we often find pleasure—a refuting of the idea that sadness is always negative.) I think nostalgia is an open door into a past life, experience, emotion. And just as a pianist more easily inhabits the emotional landscape of a piece once she has perfected its technicalities, so too do we become better at experiencing an emotion once we have practiced it, learned its nuances in our bodies, fine-tuned the production of its chemical concoction. Nostalgia is the re-experiencing of a known emotion: its power lies in the fact that it is an emotion with the undercurrent of the same emotion, the experience of which we have already practiced and perfected. This experience is textured with the sense of loss, the inescapable transience of all things.

And what of love? Do we go on loving something, someone simply because we already have—that is, out of inertia & nostalgia? Isn’t love just a nostalgic longing, a mourning for the moment we first fell in love—a moment when the sun, the moon, the stars chanced upon an alignment they will never find again?

(Okay, let me be sensical. Nostalgia may explain half of love. The other half is that the object of our love continues to inspire & amuse us. And yes, I am using logic and numbers to explain emotions. This is how I make sense of things.)

Which is more powerful: love, or loss of love? We cannot remember physical pain. But the memory of an emotion is the emotion itself: the blade of nostalgia cuts through time to produce an experience as exact as if it were re-happening. The sadness we have experienced in the past will always be the same sadness. The door of nostalgia will always be there, waiting for a scent, a word, a thought to open it and let experiences of the past come crashing through.


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