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Feb 14Liked by Jenna Park

This "anticipatory nostalgia" pretty much describes what my life was like for the six years while my wife was living with terminal cancer.

I would have these out-of-body experiences every day, not knowing if it were the last meal we would eat together, our last trip, or her last new iPhone. Every moment became a moment to miss and a reminder of my impending loss.

I photographed every big and small thing to capture as much of our life together as possible, hoping to bring it forward when she was gone.

Until now, reading this, I didn't have a term for what I was going through. So, thank you, Jenna.

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I only just learned about this term while researching nostalgia for this essay, and then I realized that I do this all the time. I know that I have a hard time living in the moment, but now that there's a word for it I feel like I can be more mindful of how I experience things and reframe it - less about missing what is gone, but more about what I have gained. This all can get a little woo woo, but I think you know what I mean.

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Yes, I know what you mean, without a doubt. It can be such a struggle to live in the moment.

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I’m so sorry. Knowing people can live many years with a “terminal” diagnosis, it seems like a new term is needed. One that better describes and supports individuals and families going through that time period, which is becoming more common.

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Feb 14Liked by Jenna Park

Hi jenna,

I saw past lives à couple of weeks ago, liked it pretty well until the very end which moved me very deeply, i couldnt quite say why. I understood it as 'sometimes life is complicated' but your explanation sounds more sophisticated 😀 and sensible. Thanks for this new perspective!

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I think many people had the same reaction you did, Blandine. It made us feel deeply, but we didn't know why. But endings like these stay with you and this is what I ultimately came away with as one interpretation. Maybe I was projecting some of my own questions about life!

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Feb 14Liked by Jenna Park

Isnt it awesome that in an era where screens are everywhere, movies can still blow us away ?!

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Yes! And I like anything these days that make me slow down and think.

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by the way, I think you might like 'return to Seoul' , if you have a chance to see it!

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I started it! But I couldn't quite get into it. Maybe I'll go back to it. Did you like it?

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Feb 23Liked by Jenna Park

Very much so! In a way (the esthestics and the energy of it), it's the opposite of past lives and yet it has common points but I don't want to spoil it. Maybe it's harder to get into it if you're not watching it in a theater?

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Feb 14Liked by Jenna Park

Wonderful movie, wonderful post. ❤️

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Thank you for reading, Dianne.

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I've been "hoarding" Past Lives, not seeing it because I'm afraid of how much I will recognize and how I will be forced to feel my feelings right there, and how much the loss of self-control will upset and humiliate me. I'm such a mess, right? And I also want to watch it alone, and then I also don't want to watch it alone? My family members should watch it but I'm afraid to be so exposed in front of them. I'm also afraid they'll yawn through it. Ugh. Art! It does this! Thanks for writing this, I know exactly how those erasers smell, too!

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You're not a mess! You're human! And I totally get wanting to watch it alone. I think I would too if I didn't watch it at the theater. I'm not sure my kids would have appreciated it 🤔

And those erasers bring such strong memories wow.

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Feb 14Liked by Jenna Park

I'm delaying seeing Past Lives and I, too, want to see it alone if I can bear to see it at all. I think Great British Bakeoff is all I can take at the moment!

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Watch only when you're ready 🥺

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Feb 14Liked by Jenna Park

Also the child of immigrants with a very difficult and complex childhood. I have a strange nostalgia, perhaps tinged with regret, for the childhood I should have had and for the adult I would have become. Not that I'm overly suffering today, it's just a lot of wondering especially at this period in life.

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Wondering is a good way of putting it. I don't regret where I grew up. I'm fairly certain my life is better because of it, but there is an intense curiosity that I have about the other life that could have been.

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Feb 14Liked by Jenna Park

I really relate to this. I was at Target with my 10 year old and he slipped his hand into mine so we could walk hand in hand, as he still likes to do, and I got this rush of sadness knowing these moments are numbered. My husband doesn't get it. He is solidly rooted in the present moment. I really envy him that.

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That is super sweet, and ahhh you're also married to someone who lives fully in the moment. I understand the envy!

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Feb 14Liked by Jenna Park

More beauty and intelligence from you, Jenna. Thank you.

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Thank you Christina. That's a very generous comment.

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Another great essay! And SO relatable. Last month my daughter started her first after-college job. Then I realized it was exactly 25 years ago when I started mine. So I felt my body reliving my past as I heard about her present from the sidelines. I also have a high school senior and the anticipatory nostalgia is kicking in. I feel teary just seeing him in the kitchen. And it does feel overwhelming, like you say “trying to hold on while simultaneously letting go.”

Also loved how you explored why some people are more nostalgic than others. It also seems like individual differences in how memories are stored and recalled plays a role. And thanks for the spoiler alert. Past Lives has been on my watch list. I’m moving it up to the top now.

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The high school senior countdown in full swing 😩.

I only scratched the surface of why some feel nostalgia more than others, and good point about how we store memories. I just find it so fascinating how my spouse and kid and not wired like that. I feel like it's so intrinsically baked into who I am.

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I loved your review of Past Lives, so nuanced and heartfelt. It was one of my favorite films too, as it reminds too much of my own life and journey leaving home and finding a new one.

"Life isn’t always about the grand gestures and emotions. Those can happen, but more often than not, life is a series of quiet fleeting moments that stitch together into future memories of something wonderful, but also sometimes terrible." This is so well-captured - I am feeling this more and more acutely these days.

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I can imagine, especially as someone who came here when you did. I think I only was able to wonder about a different life when I went back last year. The country i left became less an abstract place.

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Thank you for the putting words so what I’ve been feeling ever since becoming a mother! Anticipatory nostalgia.

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Hi Esther! Yes, motherhood seems to bring this feeling on very strong!! Because we know that there is constant change, and even end to parenting as we may know it now (we'll always be parents, of course).

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Feb 15Liked by Jenna Park

Love this post. I am often feelings these feelings. Sometimes its a gift...makes me slow down, put down my phone, listen to the teen. Other times, like yesterday, I was feeling odd about Valentines. The youngest didn't want me to make them for the class this year for *reasons* but I thought, wow, I guess I am done doing that. I didn't know that last year! Parenting sure puts you through it. Also, I LOVED Past Lives. I love Greta Lee, and the dimension she brought to this character. I've only seen her in funny things. What an actress!

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Oh, I need to see her in other things. This is my first introduction to her. I know what you mean about sometimes being a gift and sometimes not. I'm forever fighting trying to live more in the present and sometimes I feel like I'm fighting it.

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If anything I suffer from the opposite of anticipatory nostalgia. I don’t see it coming until it’s much too late. But I love the concept you bring up, and nostalgia is nostalgia. I suppose someone else

s rice cake always looks better than one’s own. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Past Lives” was a monumental film never mind what some detractor’s might have said. I saw in Denver on the big screen with my husband and then again in Illinois with my mother on Appletv. Both times, the film was resonant, but I have to reveal…that afterwards, my Korean mother did say, ‘I wonder what American audiences will think.’ I was like, ‘Mom, we are American.’ She emigrated in from an impoverished South Korea in 1964, and she told me growing up that I was American. That’s why she forbid us to speak Korean at home. It was a common practice at the time. Perhaps Past Lives is more literary and less genre. The film asks important questions and continues to ring in my mind. Thanks again, Jenna.

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Katherine, it's interesting that your mom forbid you to speak Korean at home. I'm not fluent and was encourage to assimilate as quickly as I could, but there wasn't the sentiment that it wasn't to be spoken. All of these immigrant stories are so fascinating. There's often common threads that many of us recognize, and then we have our own particularly nuanced experiences that set our stories apart. Thanks for sharing.

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Anticipatory nostalgia is something I’m very familiar with, especially my son was born. I also noticed it a lot in my mid-20s after my brother died suddenly. All of a sudden I KNEW what it felt like when people just disappeared and how fragile and ever changing it all is. I loved Past Lives too. xo

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It seems like anyone who is a parent can understand this, yes. And people who have grieved loss have a particular experience that is multi-layered. Thanks, Melanie.

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Feb 17Liked by Jenna Park

My own therapist and another therapist whose work I adore (Esther Perel) talk about the grief that accompanies paths not taken. Because even if we make the “right” choice, of course there’s that poignant slightly cloying sadness about the other choices we could’ve made, the loss. I haven’t seen the movie yet but feel like I need to now!

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I'm curious if this is a universal experience - feeling the grief, the loss, for those paths. Or, if only certain people experience this, i.e. it depends on your personality. 🤔

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Feb 19Liked by Jenna Park

Beautiful writing.

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❤️

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Feb 20Liked by Jenna Park

this really hit home with the last one finishing out her senior year...with all the questions/what ifs regarding how these last years could have looked without back to back injuries requiring surgery and lengthy PT/rehab and a best friend relationship that is now estranged due to dating and then trying to step it back due to several circumstances.

The movie. It was so powerful. My tears rolled freely. I’ve realized this daughter is -- for better or worse -- just like me.

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Aww, be kind to yourself. It makes sense that those with kids who will be leaving us for college late summer are going to be feeling this way. The last few years have been a lot for all of us. Sending some hugs your way.

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