Is nostalgia the cure for 2020?

Early on in lockdown, I read somewhere that nostalgia is the cure for… these times. I didn’t think much about it when I read it, but I have found myself really enjoying diving into my past.

Of course, I am someone who admittedly has a hard time letting go, so perhaps this year has just given me permission to revisit the memories — the times and the people — I often miss.

The term “nostalgia” was coined by a Swiss medical student in the 1600s and it was used to describe symptoms in patients who’d left their homeland for work.

Today, we use “nostalgia” to describe anything from our past… so it looks different for everyone.

Nostalgic Movies

My trip down memory lane began when I stumbled upon “She’s All That” (1999) on TV one night. I recorded it and watched it probably a dozen times in the week following.

It was that shiny high-school romance movie that was truly a sign of the times, featuring some of the hottest actors at that time: Freddie Prinze Jr. and Paul Walker (RIP).

I loved watching “She’s All That” so much that I went searching for other movies I could watch. I found a bunch and watched “The Mighty Ducks” (1992), “Clueless” (1995), “Grease” (1978), and “Legally Blonde” (2001).

Nothing gets me more motivated than the laptop/studying montage in “Legally Blonde.”

I also ventured to the drive-in theatre to watch “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986).

Nostalgic Music

It was about this time that I created a cheesy boy band playlist and wow, it made household chores pretty fun and I even listened to it a few times during my neighborhood walks and it was difficult NOT to break out into a full-fledged dance routine.

It has so many bands from my middle school and high school years: LFO, NSYNC, The Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, O Town, Jordan Knight, Hanson… and even some Boyz II Men and New Kids on the Block.

I also found this 90s playlist on Spotify that’s pretty good, too!

Nostalgic TV shows

It’s sort of weird watching anything that was created pre-COVID — seeing people in crowded places, not wearing masks, and generally living life (ha).

But, I have actually found lots of joy in watching old TV shows like “Mary Tyler Moore” (1970), “Designing Women” (1986), and I have even been binging episodes of “Saved by the Bell” (1990), “Hey Arnold!” (1996), and “Doug” (1991).

There’s something comforting about escaping to these worlds, and watching scenarios that aren’t political or medical or environmental.

Nostalgic Activities

One of my first home projects was one I’d been putting off: organizing and sorting ALL of my printed photos. Some of these were family pictures from the 50s!

I actually found a lot of joy in digging through these memories, and when the project was done, I’d organized so many albums.

I’ve also dug into many activities from my past such as coloring and tie dying just about everything.

Over the weekend, I started re-reading “The Baby-Sitters Club” books because I joined a virtual book club that’s discussing them. Don’t worry, I’ll be writing more about this later!

The danger about nostalgia — according to experts — is that it’s difficult to come back into present times. But that’s exactly the issue right? Present times aren’t so great.

So, I don’t know about you, but as long as it’s not affecting my work, or anything else about my daily life, I’m sticking with these small joys from the past.

To see more writing from me, be sure to subscribe to The Bitter Lemon by clicking “subscribe” on the right side of your screen. Want even more? Subscribe to my newsletter to get roundups, book recs and lifestyle tips. 

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