Tena koutou katoa. Nga mihi atawhai nui.
Ahh, the good old days. Back in my day… Nostalgia – that wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for, return to, of some past period (Merriam-Webster online dictionary). And don’t we all wish we could go back to ‘the good old days’ pre-Covid, before all these mandates, when we could all live ‘in freedom’.
I was reading an online Herald article by Grant Ryan where he talks about people reminiscing back to the 1970’s, and how people only remember the good things and don’t appreciate how life has actually markedly improved since those ‘good, old days’. Back then, average life expectancy was 10 years less than it is today, we only had 2 channels on the TV and what really struck me was that corporal punishment in schools was still permissible – it was legal for teachers to hit their students – and that women needed the permission of either their father or their husband to be authorised to have their own credit card.
Apparently, there is a term for this type of wistful thinking: ‘It’s called rosy retrospection, or nostalgia bias and it’s part of the human condition’. In times of upheaval and great change, people yearn for a time when life seemed simpler and more predictable. But this nostalgia bias can also lead us to believe a past history that is not factual. Ryan’s article also highlights that 50 years ago, being openly homophobic and racist was socially acceptable and you could be imprisoned for being gay.
For all our supposed current divisions in society in this time of Covid, we are much more inclusive and accepting of diversity than we were previously. And that’s a good thing.
So, in this time of Lent, when we are looking forward with hope to the Resurrection, let’s remember the positive changes that have improved our lives and continue to look for ways to continue on this journey, of making everyone’s life that much better than it is currently.
“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” Pope John Paul II