I just started reading Carrie Brownstein’s memoir Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, and loved this passage. I have always been fascinated with our relationship to time — how the present moves into the past without notice, and how our perception of the same context can markedly shift with the passage of time. She captures some of this perfectly in her writing about nostalgia:
Nostalgia is so certain: the sense of familiarity it instills makes us feel like we know ourselves, like we’ve lived. To get a sense that we have already journeyed through something—survived it, experienced it—is often so much easier and less messy than the task of currently living through something. Though hard to grasp, nostalgia is elating to bask in—temporarily restoring color to the past. It creates a sense of memory that momentarily simulates context. Nostalgia is recall without the criticism of the present day, all the good parts, memory without the pain. Finally, nostalgia asks so little of us, just to be noticed and revisited; it doesn’t require the difficult task of negotiation, the heartache and uncertainty that the present does.