When old songs and movies makes us feel nostalgic and sad

Highlight, Tis Thing Called Life

Are you someone who kept a huge collection of old movies, songs and memorablia because they reminded you of a happy past?

And each time when you look at them or watch the shows, your heart is filled with memories of yester years.

Movies and music have a way of triggering an emotional response. We love to listen to an old song again and again because it brings our mind back to the time when we first watch or listen to it and how we felt at that point of time.

By nature, I am a very sentimental person. Previously I was very attached to these old songs and music.

Yesterday night, I was at one of an older page of a blog post to do some edits. I had a series of blog posts where I translated my favourite Malay songs into English because I had wanted to world to know how profound and deeply poetic Malay songs could be.

As I find myself viewing the videos and translations, I felt sadness and some grief in my heart, as I am sure many people had experienced when they come across something that trigger a strong memory from their past, childhood or the time they think they are the happiest.

The melody of the songs brought my mind back to the exact emotions I have experienced when the songs were then chart topping and famous. Many occurred during the time when my dad was still alive and my mom was well and healthy.

Even sometimes when browsing YouTube and coming across shows like The Nanny, it was a show I often watched when I was young and my dad was still around. I remember the show used to be aired in the afternoon around noon. I was quite addicted to the show then and my dad would let me watch the show without my mom’s knowledge (mom was away at work and dad, as he worked in the press, only went to work in afternoon and come back after midnight).

There were also P Ramlee shows and black and white Chinese movies that I used to watch with my dad quietly. For example, the show The Goddess in 1934. Few months back, I was curious about the lead actress, Ruan Lingyu who sadly in her real life had commited suicide. And comments about her talent in displaying expression in silent movies.

So I decided to watch the show in YouTube. Towards the end of the show, where the actress was so angry at the man who took all her money and caused her life in such misery, in anger she took something to hit the man and killed him. Suddenly I recalled that particular scene and that I had watched the show when I was very small with my dad.

For those who want to see the tragic life of a woman who become a prostitute but would do anything to protect her son, the show is as per below:

It is a silent movie with no talking but the expression alone tells the story very well, often better than those with lots of talking.

Reflection about nostalgic feelings

These feelings, while they bring back vivid memories the happiest and most carefree period of our lives, is NOT healthy to be indulged in often. If we spend our nights and weekends locked up in our home and apartment, watching our favourite childhood movies and family clips alone, we may find ourselves easily spiraling into depression if we are not careful.

Especially if we are down, alone and seemed to lose everything.

We need to realize that when we are reliving those memories, we are living in the past. The past that belonged to another era. That had been gone.

I am sure if it was with loved ones who have passed away, they would NEVER want to see you sad and grieving like that. And that we still have a life to continue to live on, even though we may already be old in age.

Also, at those happy times, I want you to examine what was going through in your mind then? Was there only blissful contentment or your mind was busy living in the future?

When I examined my emotions and thoughts at that time, I realized that at that point, my mind was in the future. In many instances at that point, I was thinking and planning my future. So seldom I was living in the present at those points. My heart then was not truly contented.

And my life never turned up anything close to what I had fantasized or thought it would be.

Now, if I indulged my mind in those past memories, I am living in the past. And it will undoubtly lead to sadness, despair and regrets. It would mean that I never live in the moment then. I was never fully ‘present’ in those happy times. And I suspect it is the same for many as well.

At this point, I am nursing my mom who is in the final stage of Alzheimer’s. She has forgotten who I was a long time ago. But I love her the same and care for her as I would with a baby.

There would be a lot of flashes of happy memories of the past that I had with my mom that often brings tears to my eyes if I follow the train of the past memories which would get triggered by a song, taste or just something that come to mind.

Of course I miss the tea time chats, the advice, the comfort she gave me when I was sick and the overwhelming love she had for me that I felt through her action. My mom was never loved and comforted herself all her life so she seldom hug or spoke mushy caring words. But her actions spoke volumes.

It has now been lost and the roles have been reversed whereby she is now the receipient, and I become her nurturer.

If I indulged in the memories, I would feel a lot of sadness and grief. My mind would live in the past. And in doing so, I would lose track of the wonderful person that is there, lying on the bed which I could love, hug and say nice warm caring words to. Each minute my mind goes back to the past, each minute I rob myself of the present, which I could spend caring for her, at the last stage of her life.

It is the same for you. When you are watching old shows and grieving about your past, are there anyone that you are neglecting? Perhaps children or spouse whom you felt burdened with but one day in future, may cause you regret for neglecting them?

Even you are alone, you can always resch out to the world. I know of many people who are single and their parents had passed, and their siblings, nieces and nephews are busy with their own lives. For them, they fill their time up by connecting with friends and volunteering or exploring new things. It is said that volunteering and helping others is one of the best way to overcome depression and despair.

So, get off that laptop and couch. Shut off those old songs and movies. Go out, get some sunshine. Always remember that the people who have passed and missed dearly would NEVER EVER want to see you miserable.

Be happy and put the remainder of your life to good use. We really could not undo the past. Learn please to live in the present as we would never be happy when our mind is engrossed in the past (that is gone and cannot be changed) or the future (which often never turned out as how we had expected).

It is IMPORTANT that we should not grit our teeth and try to suppress or block out those memories. Instead, adopt a new paradigm of thinking. The best thing you can do to honor your parents or anyone who have been kind to you is to become a good person that you know you and them would be proud off.

When my dad passed, I had so much of regrets as I never got a chance to repay him. But his death caused a huge shift in direction of my life, which was unshakable, even after 20 years. I was no longer chasing material wealth, ambition and fame. I still worked in corporate world but I made my time meaningful and to serve others instead of just climbing up the corporate ladder. I have always felt that my dad, wherever he is now, is very proud of me and that his early passing had not been in vain.

And if I could do it, I am sure you could do it too 💪👍



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