Not sure why I’ve been feeling nostalgic this week, perhaps it was Fathers day last weekend, but even this is strange because in Australia Fathers day is celebrated the first Sunday in September.  I’m unsure why the difference in days, because Mothers Day is the same on both continents and so I guess its just one of those things that make you go hhhmm…

Nostalgia is such an odd concept – a love of the past, or of better times…

Even as a child I always felt a strong connection with the past, growing up in an era of black and white everything including TV, in fact in retrospect it sort of felt like we lived in a world of black and white entirely.

Today I have a hard time remembering my childhood memories in anything but B&W.  Odd isn’t it?  In fact for the most part there are parts of my life that when I recall them seem like I’m watching an old movie rather than reliving my life.  Hhhmmm perhaps I’m the only one…yeah, that would make me certifiably crazy…and yes, that’s your outside voice!  😉

Speaking of old movies, to this day my favorite movie is, and will likely always remain “Casablanca”.

The haunting opening of Casablanca – “but the others…wait…and wait…and wait” (okay this part you have to do with a deep and resonating 1940’s voice over to get the full effect). There’s just something about this classic movie especially with those incredible film stars of the era – Bogart, Bergman, and even the less famous ones in Casablanca like – Claude Rains, Peter Lorre and the incomparable Sydney Greenstreet that sort of frame my childhood memories.

Anyway, the reality is that we all romanticize our childhoods to a degree whether good, bad or indifferent, but of course the memories feel a little unreliable because if you scratch the surfaces, I guarantee there are times that you’d never want to relive.

The nostalgia grips me hardest around Mothers and Fathers day – even more than mum and dad’s birthdays or anniversaries of their passing, and the knowledge that my kids will never know their grandparents is sad…  Zach and Sami met my dad but they were too young and don’t remember him except in photos.

Sometimes the feelings of nostalgia are welcomed as warm and comforting moments, other times not so much. There’s no question its a slippery slope, because what I’ve found from my own personal experience is that once you’re in a nostalgic mood its easy to slip quietly past sentimentality into a funk or a bout of depression – trust me…been there, done that!  What’s most intriguing is that the sense of loss is almost palpable when you’re in these moment, yet generally unfounded on any one specific thing.  Just an overall sense of feeling down.

Its one thing to figure out coping mechanisms when you’re in these moments, but more importantly to acknowledge that its okay to feel nostalgic, its okay to feel sentimental or even down and depressed because we’re human and these are normal feelings that we all feel from time to time. I find that recognizing and accepting these emotions no matter what is really important for me personally.

I know in the past there have been times when I’ve been feeling desperately down, but when in company put on a brave face and acted as though I was on top of the world.  What was I afraid of?  Who was I trying to convince?

I guess I was afraid of being vulnerable, fallible perhaps or being judged. What may have happened if I was honest and told those around me that I was feeling down.  How might they have reacted? 

Over the last few years there has been a lot more acceptance and understanding of depression and the associated maladies, and the need to be able to bring it out into the open, perhaps without the stigma that was once attached.

Honestly, I now regard it as a sign of strength to be able to share my feelings with those around me, and a promise I made to myself after my dad died was to never leave anything unsaid to those that I care about.  Good or bad…

That being said its important to ensure that the moment is right, and so being sensitive to the situation is really important but ultimately what is the worst thing that can happen?

I don’t want to live a life with regrets…but it takes a lot of courage to speak up and say how you feel.

Personally I learned a very valuable lesson when dad was in his final month of life when I decided to take him out for a cappuccino (one of our favorite things to do). I felt it was important for him to know how important he’d been throughout my life, even though I’d lived away from home for many years.  I wanted to tell him exactly how I felt and leave nothing unsaid.

Somehow I found the courage to have this conversation with him, even though his initial response was “now, you know we’re not that sort of family”.

Yeah, I knew all right!

I’m a product of the family that rarely touched or told each other that we loved one other, and definitely didn’t talk about our feelings. Nope we carried on life very much on the surface. I consider this to be one of the most important conversations of my life…

So if there are a couple of things that I’d like to take away from this weeks blog, they would be (1) don’t wait to have these types of conversations with those that you love – remember there are no guarantees! (2) take a leap of faith next time you’re feeling down and someone asks you how you are – just be honest and see where the conversation takes you.

Good luck… 🙂