Marianna yearns for the culture of her childhood, but she worries it no longer exists

Watch Insight’s episode Turning Back Time, exploring nostalgia and what dwelling on the past can mean for the present, Tuesday 19 September at 8:30pm on SBS or live on SBS On Demand.
As a child, Marianna would scribble letters to her Yiayia (grandmother) in her best Greek cursive.
“I was just learning to read and write both English and Greek at the time, they were very simple letters,” she said.
At 27, she’s always yearned for days and ways that have long since passed.
“One of my great aunts had a rotary phone in her home. My partner was very gracious and bought me a replica.”
It’s her penchant for nostalgia that’s allowed her to remain connected to her culture. After the economic collapse in Greece, Marianna says the place she’d visited as a child now only exists in her memory.

“Looking back from 2005 to now, I won’t get the same experience that my parents had and that kind of makes me sad.”

Longing for something that doesn’t exist

Bob’s family owns the oldest blacksmith shop in Australia.

At 84, Bob and his twin brother Dave might be Australia’s oldest blacksmiths. Like Marianna, they long for a past that no longer exists.

“We were working in the blacksmith shop at 14 years with no boots. Imagine today, you wouldn’t be allowed within a mile of the place without boots on,” he said.
Bob says he still holds a special place in his heart for the technology of the past.
“I go back to the old 78 records and when we bought those, we got two songs. And we’d flog the guts out of them and we knew the words … I can still remember them all,” he said.
Associate Professor Celia Harris is a psychologist specialising in memory. She says nostalgia can be beneficial.
“When we think about the positive events of our past, when we look back with nostalgia, it tends to lift our mood,” she said.
“It tends to make us feel more optimistic for the future.

“There’s even research showing that it can help cope with pain and with physical pain like that.”

If you only live in the past, it can be depressing

Handwritten letters in Greek

Marianna prefers writing letters and longs for the days when she remembers friends’ addresses and phone numbers.

But it isn’t all rose-coloured glasses. Professor Alex Haslam is a psychologist specialising in identity. He says nostalgia is “a multifaceted phenomenon.”

“It’s a basis for connectivity. And it has this kind of restorative function. COVID was a pretty obvious example. The idea that you find some secure base in the past, ” he said.
“But if you only live in the past … that can be very depressing.
“And, of course, people have a traumatic experience in the past, who have huge difficulty reconciling those things.”
Marianna knows this feeling well. She experienced a wave of anticipatory nostalgia after the loss of her grandfather, a man she describes as her “first best friend”.
“There was a moment of … how am I going to move forward? I sort of just spiralled. I thought … how am I going to feel when my parents pass away? What if my partner passes away? It just became this snowball effect,” she said.

Looking back to look forward

For Bob, connectedness to the past is also a window to the future.
“We, at our, my age, well, I don’t buy green bananas these days. We might not be around to eat them.”
“You can’t turn time back. Only in your memory. So, this is why we do it. We turn it back in our memory.”
For Marianna, the old days will always be better. She sees time as almost irrelevant when it comes to sharing with special people in her life.
“It’s this sense of effort and intimacy, especially when I’m writing letters to my grandmother. There’s this thing of, by the time I’ve written the letter, and it’s gone to her, the future that I’m talking about in my letter has already come and gone.”

“It’s a part of someone that you can have, and it’s so personal to them.”

Marianna yearns for the culture of her childhood, but she worries it no longer exists Source link Marianna yearns for the culture of her childhood, but she worries it no longer exists

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