I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the pull of the familiar, its relation to aging and the difference between nostalgia and remembering in a meaningful, present-tense way.
I have a hard time letting go of the past. I wonder if I think about it way more than is normal or whether my feelings about the past are more heightened than others. Sometimes I think that’s because I didn’t feel wholly present at the time and so I need to take a second run in order to understand my past. Or maybe it's because I'm physically so far from my home, my family and most of my friends and so my memory is not a fluid thing, but split into befores and afters.
At the same time, I’m a daydreamer and a planner and I have always had a strong forward momentum. It’s rare I’m not thinking up some new endeavour, seeking, making lists; budgets and plans and dreams and schemes. And so I often feel very torn between reliving my past, impatience for the future and an inability to simply be in the moment.
Lately, I’m more interested in cultivating familiarity. I’m letting go of that imperative to always seek out something new. After all, I’m not some experiential ornithologist. But I’m trying to do that in a way that’s more gestalt, to find a balance between past and future and just live in the threshold.
So, I’m allowing myself to be drawn to art representing familiar places, books that I want to reread and places I want to revisit. And part of me feels a loss of momentum in that, a growing settledness, which scares me a little. Blogging and journalism thrives on the pursuit of the new, new, new. And that’s always been anathema to me at some level, though I am obviously an unapologetic consumer and creator of that content as well.
I guess this is the difference for me: The charm for me isn’t the chase, the newness-in-itself. It’s the hope that the new will become the old and familiar, meaningful and personalized in ways that outlive the memory of the price-tag, the transaction itself.
Home is a very important concept for Cancerians (quite literally our shell, part of our being). And although I’m cynical about most things, my star sign has always rang true for me. I often feel like my home is literally a bulwark for me against things that might hurt me. And that the things I put in my home become much more than decorative or practical objects, they become part of me.
And so, in carving my way through all the “new stuff”, I’m seeking out bits that resonate with the old and the familiar, that help me build on my past, that keep me moving forward but cohere with my identity and helping me to understand who I am. Because it’s all an unfolding mystery and I think these things might be real clues.