Sadness from the Past

This post is part of Agora Road's April 2024 Travelogue.

Earlier this week, I opened a genealogy documents to check for something. It was fairly basic; a simple list of weddings. As I read it, I was assaulted by an intense feeling of sadness. This puzzled me. It listed people that I never interacted with, the only exception being my grandmother and grandfather that died when I was 3 years old (so I have no strong attachment to them).

It gave me the feeling that my current existence was wrong. So detached from traditions that it is impure. After putting the document away, those feeling immediately vanished.

Earlier today, I consulted a genealogy webpage as part of a related search. It depicted people 3 generations removed from me (if they are actually related to me at all). This time there were photos. I saw a black and white photo of a man cutting down a tree and got that aforementioned feeling of sadness again. Once the webpage was closed, the feelings disappeared.

I recall another instance in 2023. I had discovered a cache of old family photos. Most photos predated my existence, but it still depicted scenery and some people I was familiar with. I remember thinking, "the people depicted seems so happy). The photos were quite ancient, many obviously predated the 80s given various contextual clues.

This description may sound like a standard case nostalgia (and/or anemoia), but I don't l know. It was less of a "oh man, those were the days" and more a "argh the modern world is so wrong" feeling. It is particularly notable because it is completely at odds with how my opinion with the world in general.

This "surge of sadness" do not systematically happen every time I look at archives of the past. It seems to only happens when I look at archives directly related to my ancestry. Curious. One day I might investigate it further.

Written by manpaint on 14 April 2024.