Nostalgia - How Much Is Sufficient?There’s a little nostalgia in all of us. If you’re not familiar with the word, here’s a definition provided by


Nostalgia (noun)

1. a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one's life, to one's home or homeland, or to one's family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time:

a nostalgia for his college days.

2. something that elicits or displays nostalgia.


When it comes to working in a highly non-veteran environment, how much nostalgia should you bring to work each day?


When you take a verbal walk down memory lane, do you bring non-veterans with you?


A quick check of most any friend’s social media page and you’ll see all kinds of evidence of nostalgia. Old photos of homecoming, prom, or class photos might be there. You might see pictures of high school team sports, that big victory over a legendary rival, or maybe even some of those senior superlatives such as “Class Clown”, “Most Beautiful”, or “Most Likely to Succeed”.


In military circles, nostalgia might present itself in the form of service affiliated clothing such as t-shirts, hats, and bumper stickers. Nostalgia exhibited by the military community takes on an added level of heart since everyone involved has that added responsibility for guarding the nation, protecting each other, and the bonds that form when people serve together.


When I look at my timeline on Facebook for example, I see lots of nostalgia posted. A couple of examples of nostalgia seem to be trending so to speak:


One of my friends seems to have an endless stream of football photos, highlights, and stories from years ago. He’s got and amazing collection of newspaper articles, videos, and some cool photos from key moments in some pivotal games on the gridiron. He has bona-fide school pride and it shows. When he gets together with others on the team, the stories flow for hours.


Another friend has some incredible pictures of horses and dogs she’s raised, trained, boarded, adopted, and bonded with over the years. I’ve witnessed the high and lows of horse and dog ownership vicariously via social media. She has a heart for animals and it shows. Ask and she’ll tell you all kinds of interesting pet stories.


I have several friends who show a high level of nostalgia through music. A few even formed bands that perform tunes from back in the day. All the various styles of music when heard, take you back to a time of the past. Nostalgia while tapping your foot. 


As I enter my 23rd year as a veteran, there’s one thing I’ve heard time and again from people who never served in the military. I’m going to paraphrase what our non-Veteran counterparts express from time-to-time.


“Veterans love nostalgia!”


I agree. We do. It bonds us together like super glue. I also agree that as veterans working in the private sector, we need to be aware of how or if we include our non-veteran co-workers into the conversation. As veterans, we know how to fall into the extra long conversations about the way things were.


It’s all good talk amongst ourselves, even for hours at a time.


Your situational awareness will tell you when it’s time to cut it short or wait till after 5pm, or when to include a non-veteran you work with into the conversation. Have you experienced a level of nostalgia that may have excluded others you work with?


What do you do in that situation? Do you include others so that they can better understand the roots of your nostalgia?


How much nostalgia is sufficient?


Have something to add to this post? Share your insights below.


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1 Comment

I see some vets never talk about it; they've moved on.

Past experience is a prereq to follow along with nostalgia. It inherently excludes others just like conversations among alumni of the same school or ethnic background about those commonalities. I'd explain if people walked into a break room and heard something they were curious about.