Nostalgia: Life’s Reminders
I never really thought about when I was younger, and that the memories I have would creep up on me later in life. As a kid I couldn’t wait to grow up. I found being young much harder than becoming a young adult. When I got to my teens, I cared less about playing and being outside, than I did crushing on boys in my school, or figuring out if there was a party to go to. When I was younger, I had no freedom. My mom and dad controlled everything I did- even the clothes I wore! Ugghh it makes me cringe thinking about the dresses and other ghastly outfits my parents would lay out for me before grade school and before family gatherings.
I could never eat the foods I wanted, watch the movies I heard about, and would have to go to bed when I wasn’t even tired. Let’s just say that when I could control all of these things, I felt more free and more responsible. I never resented my parents. They were just being parents really. Nostalgia was something my dad used to talk about a lot. He would say “this is good for nostalgic reasons” whenever I had friends over or for school events and plays (things I did not enjoy).
I never truly understood what he was saying. I learned about nostalgia when I got into higher grades at school..but I still didn’t see what value it had. It is pretty much just memories and that is it. But something happened last week that really changed my understanding of what Nostalgia means.
I had met up with a girl friend to get some coffee. We both live in different cities now because of our jobs. She moved after high school when she went away to university. We still stayed in touch regularly, but I was feeling weird when she first left- like I was missing a piece of my life. It was unusual. After we grabbed our drinks we didn’t really know where to go. The coffee place was crowded and noisy and we wanted to chat. She had the idea of going and sitting at our old elementary school. I said sure and we went there.
I used to hate that school yard. All of the memories of being forced to participate in stupid gym games, track and field, the bullies, the teachers telling us we can’t throw snowballs. Total buzzkill that place was. But now it was weird. Everything was the same still, but her and I had changed drastically! All of these images of her and I playing, talking to boys, running from the lunch monitors- you name it. I began feeling the twinge of….NOSTALGIA. I finally knew what my dad was talking about. It wasn’t the memories exactly; it is the time in between then and the moment you get that feeling-life moves fast.
My friend and I had a good time. We chatted and caught up and talked about how our jobs were going and the nuances of relationships and break ups. In the back of my head, I was playing a slideshow of mental images. Those times felt close but long gone. It is a very strange feeling. The first human to feel it must have felt crazy. On the drive home I thought about all of those times and how they seemed so unimportant at the time. I was literally just existing, no time at age 11 to remember the moment!
Nostalgia is something that we experience to make sure that we value the memories that we have. As I got older I never truly understood this. Now, being older I have experienced one of life’s little reminders. Family and friends are the most important piece of who we are and what we remember. They are always in those memories. I never truly valued the memories. I guess it just took an old school yard to remind this 23-year-old. Who would have thought?
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