I knew it would happen one day and now it has. I have become THAT man. The man who says “I remember them good ol’ days when we could go into town, watch a movie, have a nice dinner and buy a pair of shoes and still have change from a dollar.” or “Back when I was a lad, I had to walk 40 miles through monsoon rains to get to school – not like you kids these days with your public transport!”
Of late, I have been stricken with the “Nostalgia Bug”. Nostalgia for the good ol’ days of my youth or at least my younger years and especially for the friends that I made along the way. Recently, my cousin spoke of his school reunion and how he still keeps in touch with a few friends that he has known since he was ten. My brother will be coming back from Australia next year to attend the 40th year re-union of his University mates in Malaysia. People will be coming from around the globe to attend.
Now I confess that I have not been good at keeping in touch with my friends. I soon lost touch with most of my school friends the minute I went to university in the United Kingdom. They just went to different places and I lost touch with most of them; they stopped being part of my life or my consciousness. When I returned to Malaysia and faced the strain of a new job and a long, long commute, I had little time and soon lost touch with most of my University friends. The same thing happened when I left my work colleagues to study in Canada and when I left my Canadian friends to seek employment in Malaysia. My mindset then was that with every move (and I moved around a lot during that period), it was increasingly unlikely to ever meet any of them again during my lifetime. And so, I did not put as much effort in keeping in touch as I now wish I had.
So lately, feeling nostalgic and a little melancholic, I have made much effort to track some of them down and to re-establish contact. But they seem as anti-social as I am. Maybe it was a characteristic of my batch.
First I tried to get in touch with my school friends. I got in contact with the one guy that I knew kept in contact with a large number of people from school only to find out that he had a falling out with a few of them about 10 years ago and stopped maintaining contact. I then tried to visit my school’s alumni website but it had the words “UNDER CONSTRUCTION” on it and even more telling was a message from the webmaster on the site, ” It’s UNDER CONSTRUCTION! What did you expect? None of you buggers are lifting a finger to help!” Yay, school spirit! After much effort, I did find one guy on Facebook. We “friended” each other but neither of us post regularly on Facebook.
Then I tried to get in touch with my University mates from UK and Canada. I got two on Facebook but neither they nor I were able to find anyone else. Are most of my friends so social media inept? I tried to google them and made contact with one person and found another on Linkin but that person has not replied. I tried to use other search engines and there was no result. I then joined my University Alumni online (I had refused to do so for years cause I did not want my info so readily available and did not want to receive emails soliciting for donations). I know, I know….I’m an anti-social Scrooge. Guess what! So are my friends! Out of about 40 people that I knew well from University, only two registered with the Alumni and one of them I had already found via Facebook. What’s the matter with the lot of them!
So my advice to the younger ones out there is to keep your friends and nurture the friendships – they are amongst the most meaningful of life achievements. Don’t be a lazy, self isolating bum like me. I think you would live to regret it.
Of course, nostalgia always seem to make them good ol’ days seem better in a bittersweet way as the video below shows. The video itself is a blast from the past for me. It is a spoof on a very successful and ubiquitous TV advert for Hovis bread from the 1970’s and 1980’s in the United Kingdom and I saw that advert very often when I was studying there.