A few days ago I traveled to my parents to spend an evening drinking tea, listening to Elvis, and eat pepernoten* way too early for this time of the year. At a certain moment we were talking about the old days (because that's what you do when you're lying on the couch with glasses on your nose and way too much candy in your stomach). At one point my mother told me that when I was young and my parents took me to a movie - it didn't matter whether it was a stupid Disney movie or some kind of thing I did not even understand - my sister always had to comfort me after because I always started crying once we were walking back to the car, back home. 'Sjoukje, it's just a movie!', I imagine having been said - but apparently it wasn't about the emotional or cinematic qualities of the movie, but about the fact that it was over.

At a certain point I got older and movies were visited with friends and rather than with tears my cheeks were covered with nacho-crumbs, but I can remember that I have always been extremely sad when something had ended. A holiday ('I do not want to leave Corfu-hu-hu-hu, I said cryingly), a family occassion ('so, what now?!'), et cetera. 

This hasn't exactly changed. In my head it's never the good memories that are dominating, but the fact that something will never be the way it was. 'But, it was good, right?' is a counter-argument which makes me angrier than anything - as the 'was' shows that something belongs to the past and 'is' not anymore. And what does something that 'is' not bring you?

I do have to say that this tendency has been developed by the way my head is wired, or by the way I actually wired it myself. I always lightly torture my own feelings and brain by watching old photos (of pictures of others on my worst enemy, Facebook - I blame you!) - or by thinking of times in little boats when I stroll down the Oudegracht and memories come marching into my brain like the little men of Buena Vista Social Club. Well. I usually delete confronting photographs from my laptop, phone, walls, whatever could hold them - but I also attach memories to everything that remains. Doesn't really work either.

That's one of the many things my head does I honestly can't comprehend. Why are things that used to influence my life in the past but now do not anymore still so all-overpowering? It will probably have something to do with chemicals in your brain that are looking for a certain kind of comforting happiness-feeling that you cannot find because it simply doesn't exist anymore, which results in an anti-climax counter-reaction. But why don't the things that happen to me now satisfy me in the same way old memories seemed to? Am I addicted to nostalgia, which would mean I am one big contradiction as a person? Maybe I am jealous of the old version of myself - though I'm pretty sure that's not the case.

Oh well.

I luckily don't cry anymore when movies end (unless they were beautiful), and going home after a holiday doesn't make me as sad as it used to anymore. All that's left now is finding a solution for my all-overpowering memory-problem. Maybe more candy. Or wine.


  1. hoi Sjoukje, ik herken dit zo erg. Soms voelt het alsof ik meer in het verleden leef dan dat ik nu leef.
    Toen ik gister mijn lieveling film ' external sunshine of the spotless mind' weer zag begreep ik opeens waarom die film zoveel voor mij betekent: het gaat over herinneringen, vergeten en onthouden (aanrader als je hem nog niet hebt gezien!), liefs Nina

    1. Ik bedoel natuurlijk 'eternal sunshine of the spotless mind', super leuk trouwens dat je weer bent begonnen met bloggen!

  2. Nostalgia is a fascinating emotion and for the likes of some people, it can be really domineering in how we perceive the world. But it's not a bad thing, it just shows that your brain works like a filing cabinet, you probably have an amazing memory because of this. I'm always an advocate for people to embrace their emotions no matter how much pain it causes them. Yes nostalgia is bittersweet, but it makes you feel something, so magical that it can stop you in your tracks or smell a certain smell and I think that's pretty special of an emotion.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. There's a brazilian word that describes this feeling so well: is "saudade".

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.