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Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus help over 20 million people live meaningful lives with less through their website, books, podcast, and documentary. The Minimalists have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Forbes, TIME, ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, CBC, and NPR.

Podcast 091 | Nostalgia

In this episode of The Minimalists Podcast, Joshua & Ryan discuss whether nostalgia is useful or dangerous, and they answer the following questions:

  • How do you determine which sentimental items to keep, and how do you ensure that you don’t apply that sentimentality to everything else?
  • Is it okay for an aspiring minimalist to keep a small container of sentimental items as a time capsule?
  • How did you let go of yearbooks?
  • Is there a healthy form of nostalgia, or is it inherently useless to hold onto the past?
  • How does nostalgia impact historical awareness, and how will minimalism change that in the future?
  • Does nostalgia have a place in today’s world?

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Minimal Maxims

Joshua & Ryan’s pithy, shareable, less-than-140-character answers to the lightning-round questions:

  • Josh on the utility of nostalgia: “Many things are both useful and dangerous. An automobile is useful; an automobile is dangerous. Likewise for nostalgia.”
  • Ryan on the utility of nostalgia: “Memories exist with or without a physical item in hand. Don’t use nostalgia as an excuse to hoard those physical items.”
  • Joshua on nostalgia’s impact on historical perspectives: “Nostalgia is a rose-colored rearview.”
  • Ryan on nostalgia’s impact on historical perspectives: “The past shapes our present, but does not ever equal our future.”
  • Joshua on nostalgia’s role in our lives: “Everything in today’s world has a place in today’s world. The question, then, is what will we choose to be nostalgic for in tomorrow’s world?”
  • Ryan on nostalgia’s role in our lives: “Nostalgia can make us feel warm and fuzzy. When one feels stressed over the nostalgic items they hold onto, it’s time to let go.”

Mentioned in This Episode

This episode was produced by Shawn Harding. Our theme music was written and performed by Peter Doran. Our podcast is completely free, so if you find value in these episodes, please consider donating a dollar. Your donations help keep this podcast advertisement-free (because advertisements suck).

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Questions? Leave a voicemail at 406-219-7839, or send a voice memo to [email protected]. We’ll also answer lightning-round questions from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter if you use #AskTheMinimalists.