Childhood is Nostalgia | Teen Ink

Childhood is Nostalgia

August 24, 2014
By Pitabread BRONZE, Oslo, Other
Pitabread BRONZE, Oslo, Other
2 articles 0 photos 1 comment

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I'm no expert in the field of childhood. Being 17 doesn't do that to a lot of people. My childhood is not (yet) a distant memory like my elders. Being 17 don’t make my childhood memories crystal clear either. They're foggy and abstract (as memories often are). I rarely ever think a lot about my childhood. Most likely it’s because I’m growing up. Therefore, writing this essay has really helped me realize why our childhood memories deviate more and more from our actual childhood.

A child's imagination is often held up as one of the purest human emotions. A mind not yet affected by influence, knowledge and experience. It's hard to imagine it for us, being past that point. We had that, at one point in time though.

What I like to call the Carpe Diem Phase (the phase after toddlerhood) is the age when my mind was the most innocent and unaffected. As a kid I rarely ever thought of the future, and when I did, it was all glee. Having had no real past that I could remember, there wasn’t much to think back at either. I was literally living in the present.

As a child I was constantly fluctuating between adventure and safety. I didn’t understand this when I was a child, but understood it when reading about it later in life. When I was a kid, my state of mind revolved around play. My imagination and lust for fun was endless. Naïve and curious, I slowly discovered the world beyond my safe, little room.

When I was 7, we had a summerhouse in Italy. It was up in the mountains by the countryside. Our summerhouse was surrounded by wildlife and vegetation, which 7 year old me thought was pretty awesome. Riddled with adventures from books and movies, I wished to explore everything.

Countless times I ventured into the landscape, driven by curiosity and a sense of adventure. Morale went a little bleaker when reality struck me. Heat, thorns and mosquitoes destroyed the comfort I was used to from my room. It didn’t stop me though. I knew that I always had a safe home to fall back on if anything happened, so I kept exploring. Constantly pushing myself to try out new things, I ended up experiencing life slowly.

A natural selection of memories occurs over time. This was what I realized while writing this essay. It’s not uncommon that a lot of fond memories come from the Carpe Diem Phase. I remember most of my happiest memories from that age. The fact is though, that fond memories are infected with nostalgia. Nice memories become nicer and nicer over time. A friend of my dad has an expression that sums this up pretty well. “The older I get, the better I was”.

This is a strange feeling to be aware of. This feeling didn't exist when I was ten. It came creeping up over the years. It came when I unpacked old textbooks, when I visited my old kindergarten, and when I visited our summerhouse in Italy. Nostalgia is in itself bittersweet; it brings powerful memories of a happy time, but also reminds you that you will never be there again.

As melancholic as that sounds, nostalgia isn’t purely negative. It’s as I said, bittersweet. As I get older I now understand how nostalgia functions. It explains a lot of unrational behaviour. Like my mother who would spend hours driving to get the same pastries as she did when she was a kid. It also helps me understand some basic marketing strategies, connecting some products to the childhood. Most of allthough; it gives me a better angle at people who “live in the past”. They are a result of nostalgia. Driven to use all their energy in the quest to reach their state of happiness inside their nostalgic memories.

The author's comments:
There was an assignment at school about childhood. I wrote this, and thought it turned out as a fine essay (In my opinion of course, you never know).

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This article has 2 comments.

Memor said...
on Aug. 26 2014 at 3:42 am
Ahh childhood... sometimes i wish i could go back. Life was so golden back then. Good post.

Vitabella said...
on Aug. 25 2014 at 2:26 pm
Very reflective for beein 17. I'm impressed. Brought back memories and made me think. LP