Sunset near Húsavík Iceland
Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Sentimentality: Learning to Let Go.

The sediment of sentiment can be rough.

I have been dealing with some significant issues in my life recently which have caused me to feel sentimental, which sometimes evokes sadness and other emotions. I have some difficult decisions which need to be tackled and resolved — and I am trying to find the right way to do so.

Sentimentality: Learning to Let Go.

Fond memories over the years offer me joy and comfort. They help me to feel connected once again to people who have impacted my life in a positive way but are no longer alive — even if only momentary. They help me remember experiences that are no longer possible for a number of reasons which are beyond my control. Music only strengthens those fond memories for me — sometimes to the point of me being emotional, as I am feeling as I write this article.

Being sentimental is not a bad trait at all, as some people consider genuine sentimentality as a super power and a sign of possessing a stronger amount of empathy than the average person…

…but too much sentimentality can feel like being in a prison that is difficult to escape, as it may cause a form of paralysis that can impede upon continuing into the future. It can cause the hoarding of otherwise meaningless items. It can cause sadness over the perceived sense of loss. It can ironically even be the source of friction between people at times. Most importantly, it can delay — or even prevent — new meaningful memories from occurring. I cannot imagine anyone not wanting to experience new meaningful memories.

Despite having certain memories of key moments and special people in my life which no one can take away from me, I still have a very difficult time just letting go and moving on. For better or for worse, things evolve. Nothing ever remains the same.

I then thought momentarily about travel and how fortunate I am that I am ironically not much of a souvenir person. Unless they are items which are truly special, souvenirs do little for me. I prefer my photographs — and, where applicable, a small collection of denominations of a currency — as the main physical reminders to supplement my memories of my travel experiences. I never really understood tourists who must load up on souvenirs whenever they are on a trip, only to bring them home and needlessly clutter up the space where they live — especially those cheap items which were not even manufactured in the country in which they are sold.

Despite not particularly being partial to souvenirs in general, my travels are important to me.

Final Boarding Call

Some people believe in simply moving forward with life and never looking back — no matter what. I am not one of those people; and although times do occur when I envy them for having the ability to let go at any time, I believe that the past is part of who is a person. Not delving too much into that past is the threshold of the balance which I need to better manage for myself. Of the plenty of variations of quotes of never forgetting where you come exist, this might arguably be the best one: “Never forget where you came from, but never let that hold you back from where you want to go”…

…and then, we have this interesting quote which is attributed to Margaret Thatcher: “Home is where you come to when you’ve got nothing better to do.” I have never thought of the concept of home that way. Rather, I always thought of home as a comforting sanctuary away from the rest of the world when peace and quiet are sorely needed — even if only momentarily — as well as a place to include those physical items which help to evoke those fond memories.

The featured photograph for this article is the sun setting at eight minutes before midnight near Skjálfandi Bay off the northern coast of Iceland after an amazing trip of watching whales which is very sentimental to me…

…and I thought it expresses how I feel right now: the sun may seem to be setting — but not only will it not completely set this time, it will rise again strong the next day.

I apologize for posting something somewhat personal here instead of a good deal, a report or review of a travel experience of mine, or news which could be beneficial or of interest to you. I will eventually get through this, which will take time. I must move from former stages of my life to newer ones. I have to remember that despite some setbacks, I have been rather fortunate in my life overall — which is from where many of the fond memories emanate — and I have to keep reminding myself that material items are just that: material items…

…so I will conclude this article with this link to an article here at The Gate which I believe offers some good advice in the form of ten tips on purchasing souvenirs — and thank you for giving me a catharsis which I truly needed.

I hope you had a happy and joyous Labor Day 2022 which brought to you some new fond and meaningful memories…

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

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