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Saturday, December 29, 2012

December 30, 2012 by · 23 comments

Zlatko Anguelov


The feast is over. A kitchen full of dirty dishes and pots, empty cans and bottles. Enthusiasm to do anything is at a level much lower than yesterday. My beloved daughter’s flight to Palo Alto is in the afternoon. My dear son’s flight to Montreal is tomorrow at noon. My loving daughter and her companion left early in the morning for their New Year Eve retreat somewhere in North-West Wisconsin.

My inescapable theme today is the nostalgia.

When a person I dearly love is leaving and I know I won’t see her or him for a long time, I experience nostalgia. This happens every time one of my children exits our house to go to the airport or the train station or the bus station or to sit in a car and drive away. This happens every time I leave a friend’s house to go back home, and my home is very far away. I guess, the reason why we decide to live under the same roof with people with whom we are in love is the subconscious reluctance to experience nostalgia. It has nothing to do with the need to see them or with sharing everyday life or talk or whatever we may be doing while together. It is the emptiness that opens when a person who has breathed the same air with you and whose voice has resonated around the house or in the yard or at the beach disappears and leaves you behind. The emptiness is a painful reminder of the time you have spent together.

There is no doubt on my mind that nostalgia, a feeling we associate with this emptiness, with the separation from persons and objects we are emotionally attached to, with certain cherished life experiences, is the condition of yearning for a time passed.

Deep down, we yearn for ourselves: time measures how long we are going to experience the joys of life, and any occasion that reminds us of the flow of time makes us sad about ourselves. We have become a bit older, we have had this nice experience that we would like never to end or, at least, to repeat it soon, but we also know that the time will never come back.

Time comes never back. A river is never the same under the bridge. Nostalgia hits my heart even if I know that I will see this person or landscape again. Although, that is not quite certain. The uncertainty drives nostalgia against my best wishes and against my willpower.

There was a time when the English word homesickness embodied the notion of nostalgia. The persons who are away from home feel sick because they miss home. They want to return home. Today, home is no more the anchor of our existence. Nostalgia applies better to the world, in which we exist today. But homesickness was even then a yearning for the time lost, the time that would never come back. A yearning for ourselves.

Yearning is part of our soul. It is part of life. It is also a measure of attachment. So, for me, the more poignant my moments of nostalgia, the fuller I have lived in a time of happiness.

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