Nostalgia has immense, intangible but very real power over us. Its effects can ultimately feel bittersweet, whether our memories are good or not. Scientists delved into the peculiar phenomenon that has us chasing nostalgia and confronting difficult memories. They observed what happens when people revisit their childhood homes – why they do it, and what the results can be.
Ultimately, they found some remarkable things. Visiting childhood homes comes from three main motivational forces, the research suggests. They are a desire or need to reconnect with this lost age of innocence, figure out how they got to where they are now, and seek closure for wounds left unhealed. No matter what drives a person back to the familiar stomping grounds, it relates to one of these motivational factors, the research found. Have you taken this trip down memory lane? What drove you there?
A trip to revisit a childhood home comes from a need to connect
Time can take a toll on everyone. Each year removes a person further and further from a simple era in their life deprived of big cares and full of excitement for life. Then, reality hits. The bills build up. Jobs require performing. Everything becomes about obligations and constantly going. That’s life, and that’s what we do to reach our goals. But plenty of people want to reconnect to that time, to remember how they used to be, recall what filled their days before the choice was out of their hands.
And so they find themselves revisiting their childhood home. There, they hope to recapture feelings from their childhood. It brings a simple, pleasant past to the chaotic, unrecognizable present-day. Sometimes, getting immersed in these moments long past helps explain to people how they became who they are. It offers an explanation for how they got to where they are. Perhaps this childhood home was the site for some betrayal, great parties, neglectful parents, major leaps, forsaken responsibilities. Any and all can show how these kids shaped into the adults they are.
Expect the unexpected
While some people go to remember the good and gain answers from the bad, others still want closure. They open this cracked door just to fully close it with finality. Psychology Professor Jerry Burger, PhD pondered as much during his work with Santa Clara University. He noted the remarkable figure that millions of people take part in this pilgrimage to the past, finding themselves where they lived from the ages of 5 to 12. All of them sought to either recapture what was lost, see how the past shaped them, and find peace with the past and any associated traumas.
For some, the results do not always match their intentions. Dr. Burger noted mixed reactions and conclusions. The majority found gladness when they visited, enjoying the experience as a whole. Others, though, found they could look at their upbringing with the all-new perspective of an adult. It changed things, changed the way they viewed their childhood, which they realized they sometimes romanced. What do you think you’ll find if you revisit your childhood home?