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Longing for a Nostalgia that has yet to be


Paper clay, glass preserving jar

This longing is a deep undercurrent I’ve sensed beyond the Heartbeat on Scotland survey responses. It’s especially strong in Dundee. A city trying to transform itself without really sitting in meditation with the realities of what life is, and has been, in Dundee. I feel a clamor to dignify a past that was much less than rosy for many with superficial glorifying of the very industries and people that left many struggling. Multifaceted storytelling is missing.

This need to feel “as good as” or “better than” plays out in contradicting and counterproductive choices for the future of the city. While the push toward trending industries is strong everywhere, we see it leave behind so many people. There’s little thought for how people might adapt, or if they want to adapt to the trends. And there’s little apparent support to adapt or create alternatives. This push to feel nostalgic about a good life that has yet to happen ignores, suppresses, and denies the suffering that drives it.

There is more than one way forward, many ways at once in fact. But there is no way forward without sitting with, and honoring, the suffering of the past and present. Only then can the healing necessary to choose a new way to be happen. Otherwise… Dundee, Scotland, all of us are doomed to repeat the past in new and different ways.

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Kara Thorndike

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