It’s silly to pretend we don’t feel an aching for our past, isn’t it?
Yet, we do it all the time. I do.
Not because of regret. Not because I’d prefer it over the present. Not even for a freedom that “growing up” seems to trade in without permit. With no presence of reason at all, I feel this way today.
My immediate response - seek reason. I’m grounded when I feel rational. Which is ironic. "Maybe the seasons and Thanksgiving have made me nostalgic for the magic of my own childhood", I think to myself, buried in blankets by a fire I built with real wood (once potential-rich christmas trees?). But what’s reason have to do with it anyways?
The craving seeps out of a quiet, lonely realization that things will never unfold and feel as they have. No matter what. No matter how many years the tradition lives, the second, the third, fiftieth time will be created anew. We can mourn the loss or invite the unknowing, though I’ve always found it easier to relate with what I've known. It's not specific to the holidays but it arises with reflection of loved ones who have delivered me here. Ones who are less obviously with me - through distance or death.
My second response to this feeling is to qualify it. “I’m really very happy”, “things are great!”. These statements are both true and irrelevant.
Maybe it's nothing more than a slippery habit. Dwelling on the beauty of the past quietly removes us from the present, and what a comfortable place for our lingering. The past, a story we create and tell ourselves. How beautiful that time was. How in love we were. How magical that Christmas morning felt. How loved we once were. How brave. How clever. How spontaneous. How free.
Another way to avoid the present. Another craving to feed. Another doubt to fuel.