Nostalgia and Being Old

Sometime this fall I was struck with a hard, nearly debilitating, wave of nostalgia.

Nostalgia for high school,
for college,
for 90’s music,
for candlestick park,
for certain streets in Salinas,
for California beaches,
for mountains in Colorado,
for tacos and bagel bakeries and pizzamyheart,
for fog and wind,
and for, of course, people.

Mostly, though, it was nostalgia in the perfect sense of the word: a desire for something past that feels better than the present.

This wave of nostalgia caught me off guard since I am the kind of person who is generally forward-looking. Most of my “day dreaming” has to do with future oriented events.

So, what the heck was going on there? Some kind of weird new dad thing? Something about getting into the mid-30’s? Something else?

I know there are people who are bent towards nostalgia and looking backwards, so I tread carefully here, but I’ve always seen too much nostalgia as a negative. And I think for me, my nostalgia, was beginning to border on the sinful. I was groveling in memories and afraid of the future and, even though I wouldn’t have said this at the time, I was losing hope.

Was the best in the past? Did I peak at 32? Is it all downhill from here?

And then, several times this past semester, I was thrust into the story of Abraham. Outside of stories about Jesus I don’t know that there’s a story in Scripture I appreciate more.

What I always love about Abraham’s story is how the writer continually points out Abraham’s age: 75, 86, 99, 100, and older. Most scholars tend to think that by the time Abraham is asked to sacrifice his son, Isaac, Abraham’s been on this journey with God for about 40 years.

It takes him 40 years to develop that kind of faith. I ‘ve always found that encouraging.

But, what stood out to me this time around was that God didn’t come to Abraham until he was 75.

How often in our youth fueled culture do you hear someone 75 years old say: I’m just getting started?

It’s not like Abraham did nothing for 75 years. He was a busy guy, and successful vocationally and relationally. But the biggest chapter of his life didn’t even start until he was “retired”.

That pretty much snapped me out of my nostalgic kick (even though I’m still listening to a lot of 90’s music).

The best still lies ahead.
In fact, it might be decades away.
Do you believe the best is still ahead of you?


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