Always, it seems, an echo of wistfulness reverberates in my soul to which I assign sadness and loneliness. It occurs to me now, though, that the best course may be to uncouple this sensation from depression. Experiencing wistfulness doesn’t have to be negative. Perhaps nostalgic is a more apt synonym than melancholy.
Wistful vs nostalgic. Memories of my summers at Liberty Lake, where I spent my high school years, come to mind frequently: the $1 hamburgers down at Sandy Beach resort, a mom-and-pop owned set up with cabins built in the 50’s, I’d guess, and a mobile home community now. My boyfriend lived across the street, his family cabin right on the beach, with lots of toys, including ski boat, hobie cat pontoon, windsurfers, mopeds, etc. Nothing particularly unusual or exciting in those mental snapshots, though I’m certain my teenaged self had sufficient drama. I do appreciate how fortunate I was to enjoy the year-round beauty and benefits of life at the lake. In any event, I don’t wish myself back there or that things unfolded differently than they have.
Various sources online describe wistfulness as a sadly pensive longing, homesickness, or a bittersweet yearning for things of the past but other synonyms include grimness, despondency, moroseness and moodiness. Then I looked at merriam-webster.com and found this:
Given this etymology, the closest original meaning seems to be intently wishful or silently wishful. So, both experentially and according to the vernacular, nostalgia does seem more fitting for fond recollections of my youth. Wistful, however, intently wishful strikes a familiar cord. Silently wishful, but wishful for what?
And there it is, some more. Another “aha” moment. Wishful thinking. I really wish I didn’t struggle with anxiety and depression. I very much wish fibromyalgia didn’t interact with those illnesses in such a way that each of them makes the other two worse and makes it harder to deal with all of them effectively. So which wishful is my wistful? Am I expressing a desire or hope for restored health that might happen or is it actually impractical or unfeasible? I had a year of the former but now it feels more like the latter.
Wistful some, wishful a bit, and, yes, nostalgic for those summers at the lake.
*off topic* I am loving writing so much! Thank you to anyone who reads this. I can’t believe 149 people have clicked the follow icon; the steady flow keeps me blogging. I appreciate you.