By Julia Quynh Noordin
A bittersweet feeling.
That's the feeling whenever you look at old pictures and videos of your past, or when you pass by that one special place in your heart you used to visit when you were younger. Nostalgia is a funny emotion that makes you feel comforted with a twinge of sadness and want to rewind back to a time where things were much simpler than they are now.
Nostalgia is the feeling of longing and wistfulness for times gone by when we think about fond memories from our past. It is correlated to reminiscence, where nostalgia is the emotional response triggered by reflecting on our history.
Could nostalgia be used as a means for escapism? Escaping our current reality sounds enticing right now, given that we're stuck in the middle of a crippling pandemic with little to no freedom over what we do right now. It's definitely easy to go down the rabbit hole of social media and imagine reliving the old days with how accessible our media is today.
Without a doubt, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, nostalgia has been on the uptick, with the limited social interactions we have every day. Valeria Campo Cervantes, a second-year student in Cinema / Communications, says that being stuck at home with nothing else to do has made her even more nostalgic. "I spent more time reminiscing about the past and things I was able to do with my friends without any worry of catching the virus," says Cervantes. "I keep thinking back to whenever I spent time with my friends, but now it's hard to see them as often as I used to, especially with the pandemic affecting our lives."
Jessie Guo, a second-year Cinema / Communications student, sympathizes as well. "It can feel very discouraging and sad whenever my friends start a conversation with me today with 'remember when […],' adds Guo. "It sucks not being able to create new memories with my friends instead of always looking back in the past."
The advancement of social media today has definitely affected the way we engage in nostalgia, with most people experiencing nostalgia once a week. Social media platforms, like Snapchat, now have a 'flashback' function, where the application shows you your pictures or videos from a year ago. Guo adds that she feels nostalgic whenever she looks at her Snapchat stories from a year or two ago. "I feel some type of way whenever I see how much things have changed in the span of one year."
Even on Twitter, nostalgia has been prevalent. Have you ever seen this trending phrase on Twitter, 'you had to be there?' Recently, Twitter users have been taking part in this viral trend on the microblogging platform, where people have been reminiscing about old fads in pop culture everyone grew up with during the 90s to the early 2000s. The content varies from stills from old films, old games we used to play like Angry Birds, to the decade's defining songs. "It's definitely a nice blast to the past whenever I look at these tweets," adds Joash Kok, a second-year Interior Design student at the Nanyang Academy of the Fine Arts.
Friends, The Office, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Gilmore Girls are just some of the feel-good nostalgic comfort shows that we binge to no end. "I just love the comfort and warmth whenever I watch these shows," adds Kok. Change is scary. But it's nice to be able to relive old, comforting memories with a click of a button, with how accessible the media is today.