I liked James's most recent post, and thought, why not steal it? And besides that - I wanted to tie in those stolen goods with something I've been thinking about recently: how unbelievably biased nostalgia is, and how untrustworthy our memories of happiness are. Not that I'm critcising your graph James (it probably averages out on the long term), it's just that, at least in my life, there are moments I look back on with extreme fondness, which with a lot of thought on my part, I've realised weren't even that happy at the time. My graph would go like this, if I were to rip it straight from my subconscious:
The main problem I find with nostalgia is simply that sometimes this thought occurs to me - that I'm happy at every point in existence but the present one. What I mean simply is, even nostalgia of previous months (where I am horribly depressed) likes to glue itself to my perceptions, where no spatula can remove it. But my extensive keeping of journals does help me appreciate that my life is actually, well, a lot worse than I estimate it at usually. And the same should go for everyone's life, I think. Were you really *so* happy at that particular moment, or was that moment just so perfect, from an OBJECTIVE point of view, that your brain is equating the experience with SUBJECTIVE feelings of happiness, like fluttering little snapshots into worlds that never existed. I don't think anyone could really be "so happy" on say, their wedding day, unless they had shot up with heroin just moments before. Nostalgia, I think, is another important reason why people vastly overestimate their lives - and more importantly, most importantly in fact, their children's potential lives.