Clinging to the Past

By | September 26, 2016

The use of nostalgia as a comfort zone is a temporary buffer for facing the rigors that come with modern life. By dwelling on the past, the need to avoid discussing such things as the tedium of bills and the stresses of the job are thereby avoided. The problem with using this as a mechanism to avoid stress is that discussions of “the good old days” do nothing to address those modern concerns.


Escapism is certainly nothing new, according to psychoanalyst Patrick Mahony, since it’s done every day when watching some form of entertainment. In the case of some individuals, their lives may not have measured up to the lofty goals that they had previously established. Either that or their health has been compromised in some manner.

Regardless of how that life has been lived, the reality of the situation can deliver a vicious punch to the psyche that can help bring about debilitating illnesses like depression. This is especially true of individuals whose social life and popularity peaked during their high school years and now find themselves either the same or worse off than former obscure classmates.

The need to go back to happier times has been seen by those who investigate the psychological aspects of the high school reunion. Patrick Mahony has heard of cases where the former star athlete whose fame has long since faded receives a jolt of adrenaline when those exploits are recalled. By the same token, others who have achieved great success choose not to attend due to the lingering emotional scars inflicted years ago.

With respect to the former athlete, that adrenaline wears off quickly. If the person is young enough, it may affect the way they interact with their children, since many try to live their failed dreams through their offspring.