It’s easy to think that everything was better when we were younger.
Those were magical and perfect times, without any worries in sight.
Usually, everyone would like to return to their childhood, although it is not only about that period.
It can be any period in which we had a good time and were happy.
One thing is sure, you consider those times much better than the current boring times when nothing seems good, and nothing has any meaning like before.
You would much like to go back to that time and live it all over again. Is it really like that?
Even if it is, should we spend our whole lives thinking about how good we were in the past instead of focusing on the present?
There are several potential reasons why you idealize the past so much.
Different Standard of Happiness in The Past
What does it mean to be happy, and what is the measure of happiness?
Each period of our life carries a different understanding of happiness.
It’s normal for our standards for how happy we are to change as we age.
The standards of happiness of a small child and an adult cannot be compared.
It’s somehow easier to achieve happiness when you’re younger, but it’s more challenging when you’re older.
When you were a kid, watching cartoons and eating candies was the peak of your life.
In your teenage years, maybe going out with friends and playing music was your thing.
Now, you are an adult, and you are chasing different goals.
Education, a career, a good job, a stable relationship, and an apartment in a good neighborhood are all the primary triggers for the happiness of adults.
It is noticeable that we, as adults, demand that everything has to be perfect for us, often neglecting what we already have.
As if there are some universal standards of happiness that we must fit into.
Less Obligations Equals More Happiness
Adult life brings with it many obligations and stress.
That transition from a carefree teenager to an adult who now takes care of his family, works a serious job, and pays taxes can be shocking for an individual.
We often yearn for those times when we had fewer obligations.
Now, as adults, we feel that the whole world’s weight is on our backs.
Loss of Motivation
You know how children and young people have big dreams about what they will do when they grow up.
Some want to be doctors, musicians, astronauts, and all those amazing professions.
In addition to that hope, everything is interesting to them, and they have a will for everything.
It seems like a superpower to you right now because you have no more motivation for anything.
Maybe you’re that kid who dreamed of being a musician, but now you are stuck at a typical 9-to-5 office job.
You have convinced yourself that you are too old and that all the best opportunities have passed.
Maybe it’s the following: You have achieved your dreams.
You are doing what you have always wanted.
But somehow, now you feel empty. It is often said that the greater pleasure is in the process, not the goal.
“Life is a journey, not a destination.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
You have reached your destination and are now bored because you no longer have the energy that got you there.
The Power of Nostalgia
A simple definition of nostalgia would be longing for times when things were better.
That is the basis, but the concept is much more complex.
And did you know that nostalgia was considered a psychopathological disorder?
The term dated back to 1688 and was first used by the Swiss physician Johannes Hofer.
The name itself comes from two Greek words:
Nostos, which means homecoming, and algos, which means pain.
Given that the term was initially associated with soldiers who fight far from home and suffer for their homeland, it is not surprising that this is the origin of the name.
Nowadays, we are bombarded with nostalgia, so it’s no wonder you feel that way.
Nostalgia is an excellent cash grab, and all companies cashed in on it a long time ago, but the expansion of nostalgia in the last few years is especially noticeable.
Hey, just remember that 80’s hype that started after the release of the Stranger Things series.
If you want to be cool, put on a hoodie from the nineties.
The party is lame, turn on some proven hit from the eighties, and everyone will go wild.
Check the cinema; there is always some remake that is playing.
The Bad Sides of Living in The Past and How to Avoid Them
We get it. The present can be tedious and difficult, unlike the fun past.
But take everything into account, and take off the nostalgia glasses. Was it all that great?
Even if it is, that’s no reason to stay in those times forever.
Maybe you experienced the greatest happiness in the past, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t again.
Life is a journey with many ups and downs.
As much as it seems you won’t be happy again like you were when you were younger, that doesn’t have to be the case.
If you have lost motivation, try to rekindle the flame in yourself by finding new interests and setting new goals.
Are you wallowing in nostalgia? A healthy dose of nostalgia is acceptable.
It’s harmful when it starts to block you and constantly keeps you in the past.
The research showed that nostalgia is a mixed feeling. It is dominantly positive, but it can also have negative effects.
You don’t always have to listen to high school music and watch your comfort movies.
Maybe you should give new music and films a chance. Who knows, you might be surprised.
Remembering the glorious times of your life can sometimes save you from current problems.
However, constantly running into the past can prevent you from solving problems in the present and having a happy future.
Acknowledge times when you were happy in the past, but try to make the present and future beautiful and joyful too.
Good luck with your own pursuit of happiness!