The Power of Nostalgia: Appreciating the Way We Were
My living room is half bare right now. My husband and I were right in the middle of selecting new chairs and a coffee table when the coronavirus went from being an epidemic to pandemic, and phrases like "social distancing" and "essential worker" became a part of our every day vernacular. Our weekends until then were spent discussing happy, fluffy topics like mid-century modern history and design, listening to music, and occasionally playing cards or a board game. We enjoyed brainstorming on how we were going to take it to the next level in our life, and now, suddenly, everything is upended. The vintage Danish chairs and table we decided on are in a little shop in Palm Springs - we were going to have them reupholstered, but hadn't selected the fabric. We spent the past few weekends recovering from the work week and trying to stay away from the news, but I found myself constantly going to it for updates on numbers of infected people and listening to varying opinions of what our future will look like in the coming months ahead. We haven't stockpiled food or toliet paper, but we know we are not going to starve, either.
Now more than ever is there a need for our home to be a place of comfort, a place to heal, and a place to experience joy. If you've read my previous blogs, you already know that I love the 70's, especially the early 1970's. The best memories I have of that decade were of roller skating and swimming, listening to music on the record player, going on family picnics, and time spent at my grandparents homes in Louisiana and Mississippi. Later on, tennis became my focus and although I enjoyed playing and competing, the early 70's when I was just a kid was even simpler, with no real responsibility. The bold use of color was perhaps the most defining feature of 70's design and the explosion of color was not for the faint of heart. While earthy colors and the use of natural stone was prevalent, it's the avocado greens, the zingy oranges, and punchy purples that people remember most. It wasn't uncommon for people to deck out an entire room in lacquered red or an energetic chartreuse, which would account for it being cemented in many minds as the decade of bad taste. I use those same colors in my home in vintage art glass, and it has the best affect on my emotional well-being, especially when the light hits it. So, what are the colors that evoke memories of a favored time in your past, and, are you using them in your home's design? If not, why not?
Listening to music, especially on vinyl, is a surefire way to get a big dopamine hit. The music I listen to most right now is from - you guessed it - the 1970's, but I also love vintage Brazilian jazz and music my grandparents listened to. It's not the only music I listen to, but my goto for good nostalgic feelings. Did you know that nostalgia is recognized in the scientific community as being a powerful tool in fighting depression and anxiety? That when you experience nostalgia, you feel positive, creative, and it also boosts your self-esteem?
We could all certainly benefit from a healthy dose of that, especially right now, couldn't we? Now, you don't have to pay a fortune for a turntable - this one on Amazon here is just $41.00 and is about as authentic sounding as you can get. This portable record player has built in speakers and it's highly rated by musicians, too. Sure, you can spend several hundred on a great turntable for a higher quality sound, but if you're just starting out, and again, you want something authentic, this is a good place to start. Vinyl albums go from about $19-$40 on average and can also be found on Amazon. Here's the thing about listening to vinyl: vinyl is an experience and the quality of sound is incomparable. You are also really forced to listen. No fast forwarding, just buckle up and enjoy the ride. Listening to an entire album front to back is taking the music experience to an entirely different level. My one last pitch for vinyl is that people who listen to music on vinyl are better than everyone else. Ha! Teach your children well, folks.
This time in my life has me appreciating where I came from more than ever. It has me really appreciating my 1970's home, too. The storage cabinets in our living room that I once wanted ripped out when we first moved in, I now love and think they are the coolest ever. The big open space in our living room where a coffee table and chairs once were are now a space for dancing. There are no distractions now for seeing the art glass that hold the colors of a beloved past and makes me want to rock out to Led Zeppelin. My best wishes to all of you out there. Stay well, but more importantly, may you find joy every day. Peace out!