Nostalgia or Regrets!

This morning I read a very well presented and emotional Post*** about a relationship that dissolved over circumstances which, technically, should not have impacted that relationship. However, us humans, being as complex as we are, often take on responsibilities that are not ours and react accordingly. A classic example would be a relationship split, where the various friends of the couple will tend to take sides on who was at fault. It is not too often you hear about a separated couple where both parties maintain the same friends!

In the above mentioned Post, there are clearly many regrets that past  habits were nothing more than memories; that special days were no longer jointly celebrated, and that all the mutual sharing of life was relegated to history. Perhaps bridges could be built? Perhaps doors could be opened? Sadly, the circumstances of the Post dictate that neither of those options would be appropriate at this time. Regrets? Of course, and the inherent sadness comes through very clearly.


I have mentioned, in numerous Posts, how I often get quite nostalgic when watching Ray. I find myself dwelling on his unknown earlier life, and remembering the Ray that I met in early 2012. As I look at him now, I can see so many dramatic changes in him all of which are positive. I won’t go into the details because they have been noted in other Posts but, suffice to say, he is a very different dog today and shows all the signs of being happy and healthy.

It seems odd to me that while I can look back at Ray’s history and be so happy for him, I tend to reflect back with sadness at his original condition which suggested general neglect. I could smile at the progress he has made because, after all, training Ray would have been futile without his willingness to cooperate but, instead, I tend to be sombre at the thought of this beautiful canine personality being stifled by the ignorance of his original owners. Even when I saw him grapple with the concept of play, and while it was certainly a joyous moment, my mind drifted back to the Ray that did not know how to play! Instead of focusing on the big puppy leaping around at that moment, I reflected on the prior 2 years, being the time it took him to just  let go and have fun!


It is interesting that nostalgia and regrets can trigger similar emotions although, by definition, they are quite different conditions. I guess the only difference between my situation with Ray, and that of the other Post writer, is that I have the choice to celebrate Ray’s present, or dwell on his history. The other writer has the choice of celebrating a friends history, or dwelling on the present.

Nostalgia or regrets? It’s an interesting choice! Food for thought!


6 thoughts on “Nostalgia or Regrets!

  1. Heartfelt article, Colin. I’d like to offer a sort-of opposite viewpoint, though I did NOT see the original article that inspired your thoughts.

    I think the either/or is actually part of the problem – because it is always BOTH. Pushing down sorrows and regrets can backfire. Sometimes what is needed is a “cleanse” of sorts: bringing the sadness to consciousness to be ABLE to focus on the happier moments of nostalgia that we hope to experience again in a new situation – which may well mean putting some sadness out in the world.

    When possible, depending on where you are in your personal grieving process, it’s always a good idea to “end on an up” after a purge, but I really don’t believe we must attempt to erase a focus on the downside – where the lessons live – in favor of the up.

    In my experience, when we focus on one OR the other, our emotional bandwidth narrows.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

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  2. I had read the post too. We all can relate to it. As you say, divorce divides friends as well as the couple. I also relate to your thoughts on Ray. I have three cats. Morgan, the one-eyed cat must have had a good “kittyhood.” She came in the house without any fears. She was taken to the shelter as a stray at around 4 to 6 months old. Perhaps she wasn’t a stray but was no longer wanted. Hazel on the other hand was part of a feral litter. She still has fears at 11 years with 10 of them living in a home with unending food supplies and no predators. I feel sad that she can’t shake it but am glad when I see her chase a feather (or Morgan). I try to focus on the present but every once in a while I have a sadness that she had to survive 6 months on her own.

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