It’s a unique, bittersweet emotion. I am a chronically nostalgic person– ask anyone who knows me. I’m constantly babbling about how “this is the last time we’ll be at this restaurant as college students” or “he’ll never be this small ever again.” Each time I utter a phrase like this, I get a little misty, a little awe-struck that times passes and disappears from our grasp the way that it does.
With this strong sense of nostalgia, also comes a strong sense of tradition. I think that tradition keeps memories alive. It allows us to relive old times, imagining ourselves in different chapters and phases our lives.
This past weekend, Mike and I went down to Columbus for a friend’s “Stock the Bar” pre-wedding party. We spent the day and night talking, drinking, ad swimming with old college friends we hadn’t seen for too long. No matter how much time passes it’s good to see those familiar faces– it’s like everything just goes back to the way it used to be. At least for fleeting moments.
Time changes everything– people move, break-up, make new friends, get new jobs, and all of these factors shape us and change us. This is what life is about, right? Evolution? Growth? And I’m so happy for that– for that growth and change. But it’s sometimes a hard thing too, because it’s proof that “those days” are gone.
On Sunday, when Mike and I were heading back to Cleveland, we decided to make a little detour to our old college town, Granville. Mike and I went to Denison University— a small liberal arts school in a small town near Columbus. It’s like a place out of a movie or a storybook. Picturesque. Quaint. Noble. Being back on campus filled both of us with a range of emotions. We felt grateful to have called such a beautiful place home for 4 years. We were relieved and heartbroken that we don’t party the way we used to. We were inspired by so many of the shops and buildings remaining the same. We were excited by the multi-million dollar renovation to the athletic center and depressed that this meant we had been gone longer than we thought. We were thankful that this was the place where we met and fell in love. The list of feelings goes on and on, and much of what we felt can’t be articulated.
I’m always happy and thankful to be moving forward, but there’s just something so poignant about the past. It will never be again. We will be, sure. But our 5-year-old selves learning to ride a bike, our 12-year-old selves, grasping on to childhood and exploring adolescence, our 16-year -old selves experiencing the freedom of driving, our 20-year-old selves embracing college living, our post-grad selves moving across the country… those times will never exist for us again. At least not in the same way they did when we were 100% in them, living them, and experiencing them.
The beautiful thing to remember is that we have many more chapters and eras ahead of us, and some those future stages of our lives will be just as magical as some of those past.
Some people say you have to live in the present. I don’t know if I agree– I think that what makes my life the most full, the most hopeful, and the most exciting, is living in the present, traveling back to my past, and imagining my future. For me, there’s no other way to live than nostalgically.
Until next time.