The Importance Of Reminiscing

Chiara Douglas, Arts and Entertainment Editor

The aroma of dense chocolate chip cookies floating through the house and the upbeat sound of Spongebob Squarepants jumping in the background sends children of the 2000’s back to the simplicity of their childhoods. Cozying up with a warm blanket after school and relaxing to Pixar, Nickelodeon, the Harry Potter series, and everything in between, captures the renaissance of children’s media through arguably the most memorable era of entertainment.

Although the stigma of older teens enjoying movies and other various forms of media catered toward younger audiences remains active, recognizing the importance of reminiscing and enjoying an old favorite can be priceless. We have all religiously committed to one form of nostalgia or another, and those pieces indirectly shaped our childhoods, who we are today, and when reflecting back, who we will become. 

Throughout the nation, debates are taking place about cancelling favorite books, movies, toys, and even food products from the past, due to their appropriateness. Through all of the abandoning, it is important for people across the globe to look back on what they’ve grown up with, and appreciate the fond memories they provide. Although the world around us changes and classics from one age slowly become outdated, they still maintain a place in the fabric of our memory and link us back to our younger selves.

As many shows and movies our parents have enjoyed like Felix the Cat, Grease, and Full House become generational to families across the world, more recent films like Up, Monsters Inc, and Beauty and the Beast will follow. We will be able to look back on those memories forever, and soon the generations to come will be able to experience our childhoods all over again. A sophomore at West Springfield High School reminisced, “I think back to shows I used to watch like iCarly. I’ve recently been watching past episodes, and it brings me right back.”

So, what’s the point in reminiscing, and what is its impact? Being able to converse with friends and family about past experiences and memories allows us to feel connected and closer to one another. Reminiscing can be lighthearted and fun, while other instances may be deeper and more emotional. In a more logistical sense, reflecting on the past can be extremely influential for our elders- after falling victim to mental strains like dementia, elders are able to find their once lost identities and regain hope. In other circumstances, reflecting on our experiences throughout our childhoods reminds us of a simpler time, when innocence took over and we had an unfiltered love for life.

A variety of scents, sounds, and objects bring us back to those more forgiving and peaceful times, for all generations alike. Students and teachers at West Springfield High School reflected on their most memorable moments, and they all led to the same thing- tranquility. A sophomore at West Springfield High School contributed, “The smell of a certain laundry detergent reminds me of my grandmother and her house; she died when I was in the third grade, so I remember all the good memories I have with her when I smell the detergent.” Another student added, “I still have my first soccer jersey I ever wore. It is tucked in the back of my closet, but sometimes I look at it and it helps me remember easier times and how excited I was to try anything new.” As varying objects and keepsakes bring us back to our more youthful days, mixed media does the same. Ms. Oliver, the Chorus Director at WSHS continued, “The Neverending Story… it has guided me through my entire life!”. Other keepsakes like baby blankets, Thomas the Train tracks, and older music also remain memories for us all. Locked in remnants of sleeping with your favorite stuffed animal out of fear of the dark and driving on the highway with your loved ones listening to Queen and Bon Jovi are recollections that are stored within us and later become what we practice and pass down to our children and other loved ones.

As we grow older, sharing past keepsakes with our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and other members we hold close is something we all look forward to. Passing on our athletic abilities, our great grandmothers secret recipe, and, despite its controversy, our favorite Dr. Seuss book is an influential milestone every family experiences. Despite the negative connotation some books and other forms of entertainment from our childhoods may hold, it is important for us to appreciate the happiness it brought us when we were more innocent and forgiving. We can’t erase our past, but we also can’t forget about our personal experiences with those debatable pieces we grew up with. 

Certain items that a person acquires hold special meanings because of the memories attached to them. Once a loved one or someone you hold close to your heart passes, the words and tokens you once shared becomes the only memory of them you have. Whether that’s a necklace, a picture, or an old memory, inheriting and reminiscing on our pasts and the ones before us is essential to our upbringings and the lives we lead on.