Ep. 109: Bittersweet Nostalgia

Bittersweet nostalgia is what I feel overburdened by right now.

I am going through a time of life where I am both happy and sad about the changes happening in my family. 

Seriously, I couldn’t be happier, while at the same time I am unexpectedly getting hit by immense twangs of deep sadness.

I’ll be busy at work when out of nowhere a thought comes into my head about either a past experience that I miss or a future event that I am anticipating.

Because I am trying to pay attention to what I teach here on the podcast, I allow the emotions to come.  I pay attention to them and let myself cry as needed until the emotion passes.

I don’t want to spend the majority of my day processing these emotions, but they just keep coming.

What’s the cause?

My baby has left the nest.

Which means my nest is empty.

Well actually there are still two in the nest, my husband and I, where there once was 6.

It leaves an empty space that hurts more than I expected it to.

Let’s talk about bittersweet nostalgia today!

Let’s start with a few definitions so we understand each other.

Bittersweet is a mixed feeling of happiness AND sadness.

Marc Parent, author of Believing It All, wrote, “The bittersweet side of appreciating life’s most precious moments is the unbearable awareness that those moments are passing.”

Now, Nostalgia is defined as a yearning for the way things used to be in our often idealized and self-protective version of the past.

I was stuck by that by how true that is!

If I was to be completely honest, which I try really hard to be here on the podcast, raising a family is HARD!

 It is the hardest and most rewarding thing I have ever done.  But, it is HARD!

I remember moments of being so tired that all I could do was cry because there was nothing else I could do.

I remember being so frustrated with kids that made decisions that went against everything I thought was important and had to sit back and just wait for them to do it their way.

I remember how much work it was to take kids to the grocery store, to get ready for school every day, to pack up for a day at the pool, while wanting so badly to be a lady of leisure in a reclining beach chair, reading a book instead of constantly making sure everyone was safe and accounted for.

I remember exercising with the baby in the carrier next to me, holding the binky in place as I stretched so she wouldn’t start crying again.

I remember waking up early just so I could have a few minutes to myself before the day started with everyone needing something from me all day, every day.

It’s exhausting raising kids.

But now, Here I am pulling up only the good memories and wishing I could have those moments back.

Interesting, right?!

Researchers describe nostalgia as a frequent, primarily positive, context-specific bittersweet emotion that combines elements of happiness and sadness with a sense of yearning and loss.  It also says that feeling nostalgic involves putting ourselves at the center of a story in which we’re reminiscing about people we are close to or about important events in our lives.  It is more likely to be triggered by negative moods, like loneliness, and by our struggles to find meaning in our current lives.

Man, if I don’t fit that definition to a T!!!

Being emotionally healthy doesn’t mean that you don’t feel moments of sadness, wishing things could be different than they are, but it does require that we are careful to remember the good and the bad of things.  Being healthy requires you see both sides and make a conscious choice how you want to feel in the end.

Being healthy means recognizing when you have idealized something to be different than it actually was and appreciating it for what it was and how it helped you become who you are now.

When you are in a healthy state of bittersweet nostalgia you realize it was hard, but worth it and it can motivate you to reach for something new.

I am eager to move on to the next stage of my life, with some hopefully healthy fear of what’s next.

I want to remember my children as babies and toddlers and kids and teenagers AND I want to enjoy our lives moving forward with a family of adults.

I’m excited to spend more time with just me and my husband, something we didn’t get to do while we were young and first married.

I’m excited to put more of my time into helping those who need me to strengthen their relationships with themselves, a passion I have had going on 10 years now.  Perhaps now is my time to give even more to that.

So, what are your bittersweet nostalgic moments that you are overburdened by?

Is there a healthier way to look at them?

Can you assign positivity and happiness without losing the accuracy of the memory?

Making our past an idealized version to protect ourselves from moving forward doesn’t really sound healthy, does it?

I’m ready for the change… how about you?

You may feel that you’re not in a healthy place about any of this.

You may just feel like there is nothing motivating you onto the next step.

I’d like to help you with that.

I am a Relationship Coach and Educator and I’d love to help you if you feel stuck.

Together, we can learn healthier ways to communicate with yourself, getting REAL with what is really going on in your life, and creating better relationships with those you love in the process.

Sign up for a FREE 30-minute consult with me and we can get started!

Pick a time that works best for you by going to hunkeedori.com/Consult

I’m excited to meet you and help you develop your most important relationship, and that’s with yourself!


Thanks for joining me here today and remember:

I see you.  I understand how hard you’re trying, and I’d like to help however I can.

Have a wonderful day and I’ll see you back here next week.

Ep. 109: Bittersweet Nostalgia
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