There are events in life significant enough to give pause. The day you leave home for university. Your very first kiss with another human. That moment you look into the eyes of your newborn son and...
The optimism alert has just started flashing on my desktop. That opening really is more suitable for BT internet adverts or group therapy. I’ll try again, and try to stick to my hackneyed blend of self-deprecation and unnecessary profanity.
Ahem. There are events in life significant enough to give pause. The day you discover masturbation. Your very first kiss with a picture of Baby Spice torn from Smash Hits magazine. That moment when the itching becomes so unbearable you simply have to let a doctor see that rash.
As the very existence of this blog testifies, I am something of a sucker for nostalgia. Although I in particular am bad for it, everyone suffers from nostalgia of one sort or another. This most commonly manifests itself as perceived sentimental value; a particular pricelessness assigned to objects in our life that were present at a particular event, perhaps, or gifted by a particular person. More often than not it’s an item that has long outlived its purpose, or that never really had one in the first place. This is why our homes are full of bedraggled toys belonging to long-ago run over cats, tins bearing pictures of monarchs before they became national laughing stocks, or pictures of friends we no longer see or speak to because they slept with your wife or ran over your cat.
My most heinous crime of sentimentality was doggedly dragging around a security blanket until the age of six or so like a wannabe Linus from Peanuts. It used to be a re-useable nappy. In other words, I felt misplaced yet fervent kinship for something I used to regularly and profusely defecate into. And, on special occasions, vomit on.
As I’ve grown older (and installed my desktop optimism alarm) I’ve made an effort to do away with sentimentality. Not only do you accumulate a lot of junk; for someone such as myself it’s downright unhealthy.
This weekend in the old familial home we got new furniture to replace the pair of armchairs we’ve had since I was nine. Now, my first thought was that I was desperately sad about this. They’ve been there for so many significant moments of my life.
Then it occurred to me that the chairs, although still remarkably comfortable, have been altogether incidental in my life. Mostly I sat on my own every night after school and ate any food I could get my hands on until my ballooning weight collapsed the centre of the chair. A broken spring tore a hole in the carpet underneath. The chairs have become nothing but arbitrary recipients of nostalgia that, in my head, needs such personification to remain keen and close. And, much as it doesn’t stop me, trying to keep an iron grip on the past is futile.