If you follow me on Instagram, you know I focus on the positive rather than the negative. So, let's take a step back from the photography world for a moment and talk about something that everyone can relate to – nostalgia. Many assume nostalgic memories bring us down, but did you know they can actually be used for good?
a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition. also: something that evokes nostalgia.
longing for or thinking fondly of a past time or condition
evocative of a longed-for past time or condition
Sound familiar? Every fall as the weather starts to turn and the leaves start to change color, I begin thinking about past times; when my daughters were younger and even before then when I was fresh out of college navigating my career. The memories I flash back to are fond ones and invoke a sense of loss – the realization these moments have happened and will never happen again. Nostalgia is common, especially around the holidays, however, it’s possible to use the bittersweet feelings for good.
Where there are Memories, there is Fulfillment
No matter the context of the nostalgic memories, we should practice being thankful that they happened. Thankful you had the chance to be part of grandma’s 80th birthday party celebration, thankful you earned a Bachelor’s degree while living it up in college, thankful you coached your son’s tee-ball team...the list goes on. Remember, these are your memories that you are the sole owner of and they made you who you are today. Instead of missing them and wishing we could go back in time to relive them, we should work on feeling thankful that we got to experience them at all.
Everyone has low points where they need a mental lift or extra motivation; we’re only human. Who is to say we can’t use nostalgia to our advantage at these times? I’m here to tell you, we can. If you’ve mastered being thankful for nostalgic memories, practice invoking them when you’re having a rough go. When doing this, focus on savoring the moments. Don’t compare them to anything else, simply savor them and allow yourself to feel how they made you feel at the time, then sit back and watch your mood start to turn up.
Lastly, use these moments of nostalgia as fuel for personal growth and making the changes necessary to live a fulfilling life. Memories are a subtle reminder of the meaning and purpose of life. In addition, they remind us how good it felt to experience certain moments. Nostalgia gives us every reason to find our purpose, make changes if necessary, and create enriching memories that we’ll look back on someday and overflow with happiness over.
Take it from Sarah Paulson, a Golden Globe and Time Most Influential Person winner, who knows what’s up:
"Looking back is a way to sharpen the focus on the things you want to change in your life. I think there’s something about nostalgia that really puts a fine point on the here-and-now, and that can be incredibly fascinating and interesting and engaging for the mind."
I thoroughly enjoy playing a part in creating reminders of beautiful memories and experiences for my clients through photo and video. My hope is that when they glance at the photos or videos in the future, they transport back to that exact time and allow the positive effects of nostalgia to take over, propelling them towards greatness.
What are some memories you find yourself looking back on frequently? Tell me about them in the comments below!