by David Todd McCarty | Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Everyone wants to be home for the holidays, even if only in our dreams, or so says the old carol. Thanksgiving and Christmas are especially difficult times to be away from home. Our thoughts are packed with memories and emotions that at times, quite literally, define who we are, and where we come from, or at the very least say a lot about what we wish were true.
Nostalgia is defined by the dictionary as “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.” The word is actually a Greek compound, consisting of νόστος (nóstos), meaning “homecoming”, a Homeric word, and ἄλγος (álgos), meaning “pain, ache”, and was coined by a 17th-century medical student to describe the anxieties displayed by Swiss mercenaries fighting away from home.
It’s literally a longing so strong that it causes pain. Now that’s powerful stuff.