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August 15, 2019 | by  | in SWAT |
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SWAT: Nostalgia

Nostalgia. We’ve all experienced it before. Whether it be reminiscing about trading Pokémon cards in primary school, or gazing at photos of old friends who have since spread across the globe, nostalgia is how we fondly look back on times that have passed. Every time I bite into an iced animal biscuit (which is less often than I would like!) I’m suddenly transported to an era of Sticky TV and scooters.

But nostalgia isn’t always so linear. Sometimes we miss the present before it’s passed, feeling a swirl of anxiety and longing for the moment that we are still inhabiting. This is called anticipatory nostalgia and it’s something I’ve been experiencing this year.

Anticipatory nostalgia is like hanging out with a friend that you know is moving country at the end of the year. It can be hard to simply enjoy the present on its own terms; instead, you are constantly aware that the time you spend together is finite and soon these moments of life will become a memory.

This is my last year leading a wonderful student wellbeing team and facilitating a peer support group. Both have been sealed onto my heart for years, and the prospect that these are my last weeks with them is sometimes difficult to think about. I catch myself already nostalgically reminiscing about “the time I was leading SWAT”… and yet that time is still happening! This can be dangerous, as it can prevent me from simply enjoying this moment of life in its own right. Recognising that I’m experiencing anticipatory nostalgia often allows me to ground myself back into the present.

For some of you, this is your last trimester of university. This is the end of a multi-year journey filled with memories and people and growth. For others, this is the start of that journey. It’s clear that nostalgia affects all of us and can be a positive force in our lives. However, it’s important to recognise anticipatory nostalgia when we feel it. It’s important to keep living in the moment.

Alex Walker

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