Nostalgia is overrated and easy to exploit. As it turns out, people aren’t reluctant to spend top currency for items, services, or experiences that hold nostalgic value to them.
Our brains are tricky like that. As a protection mechanism, they sometimes sugar coat the past for us. How awfully nice of them. As a result, past experiences may seem better now than they did at that moment in time. It’s like an Instagram filter for the mind. Visualizing experiences with brighter, more vibrant colors. Omitting (proverbial) grey rainy days from our memories, while we’re at it.
Agatha Christie once said: “Never go back to a place where you have been happy. Until you do it remains alive for you. If you go back it will be destroyed.” In other words, don’t be a buzzkill and keep the magic alive.
It’s always risky to fall in love with an idea, both past- and present ideas. Thinking back of places where you used to live makes you reminisce about the concept of yourself as a person, and perhaps even miss your former self. That’s a slippery slope. If we are somehow under the impression that we used to be happier in the past, we long for a version of ourselves that is no longer there. In doing so, we neglect the fact that we’ve undoubtedly grown as a person, and in true – dwell on the past – style, regret the passing of time.
I wouldn’t go as far, saying you should never go back to a place where you have been happy. Manage your expectations and be aware that the tingle in your spine you are chasing is probably no longer there; it was with you all along.