on nostalgia (the bad kind)
i’ve been working on a nostalgia page (essentially some sites and items i remember from childhood) for some time in google docs. one of the things i listed on the page was ‘the holy os trinity’, a silly name i gave to the three operating systems i remember the most about during my childhood; windows xp, windows vista, and windows 7. (i don’t have very fond memories of vista for performance-related reasons that are obvious to those who have used the OS firsthand, but it is something i feel nostalgic about nonetheless.)
yesterday i decided to open windows xp with a virtual machine and spend some time on it, because why the heck not?
one of the main things i deduced from spending a good half hour on XP is that nostalgia, particularly restorative nostalgia, is nothing short of well-hidden deception.
restorative nostalgia is the kind of nostalgia that drives us to associate objects with warm, fuzzy memories; it’s the reason why some people tend to hold on to items that remind them of their childhood or whatever good times they once had. we tend to enter this stage of nostalgia when we aren’t satisfied with our current, present selves.
do i really feel nostalgic about using a slow os that has a hard time connecting to modern internet? do i truly feel nostalgic about the first gen iMac or our collection of VHS tapes? i don't particularily think i do. i'm nostalgic about the memories i have that revolve around those things: playing flash dressup games with my sister, getting angry over the pinwheel of death, pulling the tape out of vhs cassettes, watching my dad surf the web late at night.
nonetheless, i've tied the time i now long for to material items.