The Price of Nostalgia

Remember when movie tickets were less than two dollars?Last weekend I got a call from someone who was working on a film project that required a slight tip of the hat to that most iconic space operas of our modern age. While I was busy digging out some of my old reference books two tiny scraps of paper fluttered to the ground. When I picked them up my eyes practically goggled as I realized that I’d discovered a couple of really old movie tickets that could have only come from a trip to see one of the installments for the original Star Wars trilogy!!

Unlike drinking, driving, voting and sex, Nostalgia is an ineffable experience that busybodies are unable to protest and politicians are unable to legislate. And try as they might to experience it, the young are entirely unable to appreciate the sensation of nostalgia blooming across their minds until they’ve actually reached an age where the magic works.

Not having studied psychology in college or for my professional career, I’m entirely unaware of the the established chronological demarcation points for the age at which we first begin to experience the pangs of desire for what went before. It’s certainly something that most of us begin feeling in our 30s, and I know that I missed things from my childhood by my mid-20s. But, regardless of the age at which it begins, you must admit that there’s an endorphic blast when you encounter some fundamentally iconic touchstone of your youth.

Like these tickets.

In but a second the sight of these movie tickets slammed me through 40 years of memories to the place where I had just experienced seeing a lightsaber for the very first time. The place where I first saw Darth Vader stride across the screen in all his menacing glory. The first time that I considered that machines might one day have awareness of themselves.

All of it. Every bit of the impact of that film on my mind and imagination.

That fundamental moment of change, all there in a tiny, tiny piece of paper. Incredible.

As my appreciation for the power of nostalgia continues to grow, I’ve started to consider all the other rewarding experiences of adulthood which balance out the “lost joys” of youth; like friendship and parenthood… both of which can provide even more opportunities to feed our love for nostalgia.

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