The more I indulge in nostalgia, the more I have evidence that to varying degrees we all yearn for a sense of belonging. For many of us, that longing is fulfilled by exploring our past and the role that family members and others have played in it.
I have also noticed that people reflect on experiences of the past in two ways -- with fondness or cynicism. The one is a positive way to look at situations and people while the other is a negative way to remember them.
I actually know people who seem to enjoy dwelling on negativity of the past -- little remembrances that cast aspersions. While it is most certainly a personality thing, I have never understood the mindset. This particular trait is no doubt the result of a self-indulgent need to suppress personal insecurities by placing oneself in a superior, looking-down-the-nose position, which quite frankly annoys me.
There is no denying that there is negativity in the past, just as there is in the present. People have done, and still do, funny odd things. People had different degrees of intelligence in the past, just as they do today. But, God bless them, they do not deserve to be desecrated in flippant reflections of years gone by. However, 'nuff said on that unpleasant subject. Glad it's off my chest.
As we get older we learn to be less affected by negative memories in order to maintain our sense of well being and I think that is a good thing -- a form of mellowing, if you will. Heaven help me in particular if there is a hint of dementia here, however...Those things only happen to other people. Right?
I tend to adopt the "that was yesterday, this is today" philosophy for the most part. I find it healthier to let go of, rationalizing if necessary, the negative memories and to nurture the happier complimentary ones. Albert Einstein was perhaps of the same mind when he uttered his famous quote: "There are two ways to live: You can live as if nothing is a miracle; (or) you can live as if everything is a miracle."
For me, life is a miracle. Past or present, everything is to be celebrated.