“Nostalgia is a seductive liar.” George Wildman Ball
It’s hard to believe that January is already over and the first of February is with us. How quickly time has flown! The older I get, the more rapidly time marches forth. As we age and slow down, time accelerates, careening inexorably faster. Someone once told me it was relativistic… When we are ten years old a year is a tenth of our life, when we are 50 years old, a year is one fiftieth. We have much more to compare it with, and our hectic days are filled with busy tasks that consume the hours rapidly.
It may have to do with our lifestyle too, of course, with our modern rush-rush, clock-dependent lives propelling us and time ever-forward. I can quite imagine in the past, when life in some small town or village was more sedate, where things were taken more easily, where technology was minimal and where leisure activities were also slower, more gentle and dependent of one’s own resources. If you wanted to hear music, you had to make it yourself. If you wanted to while away some hours you went for a walk in the countryside or visited family and friends. Arts and crafts were more widespread – drawing, embroidery, crochet, knitting, quilting, weaving, painting, tatting. Sports and other active pastimes were indulged in by more people and all at an amateur level.
Nostalgia may be all well and good, but all was not rosy in the past, I know. Disease, high mortality, endless chores, little technology, hard manual work, poorer living standards, low life-expectancy, etc, etc… We tend to concentrate on the best things when considering the past and discount the bad ones. That is human nature and that’s what makes nostalgia such a bitter-sweet exercise.
What can one do? The answer may well be easier than we can imagine. It all has to do with personal responsibility, making choices, and maintaining balance. We are responsible for our lives and what we make of them. We are presented with a number of choices and most people opt for the easiest, most convenient, less arduous one – even though this may not be the right one. Most people will make the choice that gives them the most comfort, pleasure and advantage. They then complain about the consequences of such choices, surprised that everything has price. Few people understand the importance of balance, the yin and yang of life. To pleasure there is pain, to beauty there is ugliness, to rest there is work, to life there is death…