Is it just me, or do bygone phases of life feel like old movies we once watched and then forgot about?

Lately, random things have been triggering nostalgia. Every time I’m around a toddler, it takes me back to when my kids were tiny tots. Every day brought a new discovery during those years; I remember marveling at the process of them learning to talk (looking for mayonnaise at the grocery store: “Mommy, there’s a mayonnai.”).

One of my Facebook friends posted a photo the other day of the Noid, the claymation advertising mascot for Domino’s Pizza from the late 1980s. I hadn’t thought of that character for years. From 1986 to ’89, my husband and I both worked for Domino’s in various capacities, so the Noid was burned into our brains on a daily basis. I can’t say I have any fondness for the impish little figure, but just the sight of him brings back lots of memories of cheap pizza, late late nights and zipping around to deliveries with the classic rock station blaring in the Domino’s car.

Songs are of course especially potent memory triggers. If you listen to Pandora radio over the Internet, you can choose a favorite artist and have Pandora find other artists with similar styles, and create a customized channel for your listening pleasure. I’ve discovered, strangely, that one of my favorites is the Rick Springfield channel. I wasn’t a rabid fan of the Australian actor/singer when he was eye candy back in my teen years, but his catchy pop-rock songs and the other ones Pandora finds to complement them are usually just what I need to boost my energy for a bout of housecleaning or as a mood picker-upper. Click on Pandora, turn up the volume, and I’m back at my high school dance, feeling the rush of puppy love all over again.

I used to avoid thinking about the past. I would get bummed out because I’d think that times were better then than they are now, or I’d dwell on less happy times and end up depressed either way. Now, apparently, I’ve gotten over my aversion to things past. I’m not one for saving memorabilia or making scrapbooks, but I’ve learned to appreciate every age for what it was, take the important things away from it and use them to build a future.

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