posted on: Thursday, 26 June 2014

I am the world's WORST at sentimentality. Every past event can have a nostalgic air for me, even events that are better put in the 'been there, done that' box and pushed onto a high shelf. This makes me particularly bad at goodbyes and even worse at accepting change (as is well documented). Last night we went back to my children's old school, the one they attended before they both changed two years ago. Those readers with school-age children might get this; somehow certain schools become synonymous with a whole bundle of feelings about childhood and so returning is the most acute type of remembering. The realisation of how much my children have grown up.

The school they left really was a special place, smaller than the schools they both go to now, respectively. But there were some issues with it and it was time to move on, so we took the opportunity and made the change for my son. For my daughter, she was graduating on to senior school anyway, but still, it was a heart-wrenching shift that I was in the middle of here.

So these rose-tinted spectacles that I wear everywhere - should I want to take them off?! I observe friends who are less inclined to be sentimental and I have to say that life, and its ever-changing patina, seems easier for them. My friend Dawn (much loved Godmother, lives in the Netherlands) has lived in four different countries in her adult life, immersed herself in each, made good friends and then has left; moved on and each time in a positive, forward-motion kinda way. I do envy her! I would be in pieces and maybe, I ask myself, this is why I have lived in the same town (except for a University-induced hiatus) for most of my life. There is a lot to be said for not wearing those spectacles!

But for all I wish I could be less soft, it is that softness that makes me the one who can always remember every little detail of what has past. The things I hold dear. When I can't sleep, I think of all the houses I have ever lived in and remember all of the details of the rooms; the light, the furniture, what it felt like to ascend the stairs, the rooms as I happened across them. I can get so detailed that it transcends from something to help me sleep to something that hinders me. But I quite enjoy the process.

And as ever with me, it always comes back to outfits; I wrote yesterday about seeing my Mum wear silk, I can absolutely recall countless details of things she has worn. The snuggle of a fur collar when I was young enough to be carried. The softness of a sarong at a sandy beach (and the smell of Delial suncream), burgundy, velvet Jordache flares from the 1980's that I SO wish she had kept ;-) I thought they looked like something out of Charlie's Angels...

This is why I now keep many, many clothes that I no longer have any business wearing; just in case my daughter has some strong association with them or wants to rock them at a 2000's party in years to come. Who knows? But ultimately I wonder whether this nostalgic lilt is born or learnt? Both of my children express the same longings about revisiting the past as me. Ooops - maybe they have those spectacles too?!


  1. You did a great jobs on your curb appeal, I have to get started on redoing my walk way and garden area,! Thanks for the post great motivation.
    Garden Ponds Design

  2. I think neither is bad Lou. I am more like your friend Dawn and perhaps that comes from moving/living in various countries. I no longer hold onto clothes/objects etc for sentimental value (only very few). But I love that "softness" that you write about and wish I had more of it. Maybe it's because I don't have children? Also about 10 years ago, whilst living in Spain, my Sister threw out boxes and boxes of all my childhood books (many given to me and inscribed by people no longer alive), things I had made at school,all my school reports etc. which were at my Dad's house. She said it was an accident, but we believe otherwise. I cried for days Lou when my Dad told me.It felt like I was mourning some part of my life that I could never revisit again. Ever since then I seem to have become hardened to getting too attached to anything. So I believe that we all have an innate ability/desire to be nostalgic; it's part of our internal GPS, but perhaps it can also be unlearnt (more as a survival mechanism than anything else) xx


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