Island Sunset in Thailand

Island Sunset in Thailand

I don’t consider myself to be a very nostalgic person. I generally don’t miss anyone or anything. I know it sounds strange, but I attribute it to the fact that with divorced parents I grew up living apart from one or another family member since a very young age. I must have learned that missing doesn’t help anyone. It doesn’t make the distance shorter or the time between visits go by any faster. It just sort of hurts. So why think about those things when you can live and be in the here and now. Someday you will see the people you love again, someday you will return to the place you loved.

This sentiment has generally been good for someone living far from family. It helps to not miss family and my home country. But I think as I get older I am learning how to miss. And I admit, sometimes I actually like feeling a bit nostalgic … feeling the dull ache of missing people or places. Or remembering times in my life when I was so incredibly happy. It´s a good exercise to remember really happy times. It can help to understand yourself better, I believe. I just happened upon a camera card with photos from just over a year ago when I was traveling alone in China, Hong Kong and Thailand. It was so cool to see the photos and think about that time and my feelings and see the places again. I had such an incredible trip. Yet even on the trip I had the sense that it might be more amazing when remembered afterward. Strange. Perhaps when we are living and in the moment it is hard to really comprehend all that we are experiencing and feeling and living. Maybe remembering and missing and feeling nostalgia are necessary for our complete mental and emotional registration of the events we experience?? 

The other night I learned a fabulous word in Portuguese from some Brazilian friends: Saudade (pronounced with a beautiful Brazilian accent it sounds sort of like “saoudagey” – which roughly translates to “a feeling of nostalgic longing for something or someone that one was fond of and which is gone” or a yearning toward the past or the future. It is one of those words that so nicely captures this complex mix of feelings of happy sadness, an aching of the heart that somehow feels sort of good, like itching a mosquito bite. I suppose I am feeling this right now — a saudade for life and memories and plans for the unknown future. All wrapped into one. Saudade.

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