Journaling for the Soul: Nostalgia

Remember the good old days?

When gas was nineteen cents a gallon, a postage stamp was three cents, you walked four miles to school no matter the weather, and the water had to be hauled from the well by hand?

Yeah, we’ve all listened to those stories. We’ve all rolled our juvenile eyes at them. “You’ve told it a million times, Grandma!”

But did you know that reminiscing and reviewing life are essential to being human?

And, maybe you’ve noticed, we tend to do a lot more of it as we get older.

Trust me, before you know it you’ll be telling stories of what it was like with a dial-up modem that took 6 excruciating minutes to get online and how cool it was to play Snake on your Nokia 6110.

Each time you tell a part of your life story, those listening are like a mirror, reflecting and affirming your life.

Reminiscing is a free-flowing process of thinking about your experiences. You do it so you can reflect on and recapture significant events in your life.

We all live in the present, yet we carry our past selves with us throughout our lives.

You are a part of a rich history that has value in being shared.

And the stories that you tell about your life are important sources of self-identity. They enable you to explore and relate your past to your present.

Reminiscing helps you feel better about the present and more hopeful about the future.

Especially as you get older and start losing the people and things that have defined you – parents, siblings, spouses, children, friends, careers, homes etc. – you need to remember who you were in order to define who you are today.

Reminiscing allows you to pursue remote memories.

It allows you to remember past events and accomplishments and seek personal validation.

Life review, as a formal concept, is used in counselling therapy as people search for meaning, solve problems, and strive for emotional resolutions.

It’s normal for you to review your life when you’re confronted with big or critical decisions – like being confronted with the end of your own life.

At the root, you have an innate need to be significant.

You want to find a purpose in your life. And you want your life to have meaning.

And your stories of the past provide a source of affirmation, hope and a belief that your legacy will be preserved.

Listening to the stories shared by your parents and grandparents is an important task.

Listen to the details and witness their emotions. Even if you’ve heard it before, being an attentive listener is an important role to play.

Today, I want you to get nostalgic and tell your own stories from the past.


The first time I…

Write “The first time I” as the beginning of your first sentence and start writing until you come to a natural close.

Take a new page and write “The last time I” as the beginning of your first sentence and write until you come to a natural close.

Both can be about the same event/person/thing or they can be about different events.

For example; “The first time I saw her” and “The last time I saw her”.