Every now and then, I catch myself being nostalgic. I’m not always sure what it is I’m nostalgic about. The past, good times with my friends, summer vacation, the younger version of myself, the times that everything was possible… You might think I’m exaggerating since I’m not even 32, yet there’s an old lady living inside me. She likes to look at old pictures and contemplate on what has been.
Nostalgia is sweet; it’s remembering the good times, the happiness, the smiles, the company of the people we love, acknowledging the wealth of life in moments. Nostalgia is beautiful and necessary, as it makes us idealize our past and forget about the difficult moments. It’s a coping mechanism, we need to remember the good moments in order to see our lives as worthy and in order to like our own story.
Nostalgia bears sadness… Things are not as they were and those brilliant moments that coloured our lives, can’t be revived or repeated. Nostalgia is the realization that each passing day takes us further and further away from our youth, its excitement, its longing for the future and the mystery of it all.
We usually see youth as the most exciting phase in life because of its carelessness. Growing comes with responsibilities, less freedom of choice at any given moment and less flexibility. On top of that, time takes from us our youthful appearance and energy – qualities that are highly valued in our culture.
I think however, we should ask ourselves some questions. Is it only youth that can be exciting? Do we stop having opportunities when we grow? Is it true that we can chose how we want our lives to be only when we’re young? Are beautiful moments less beautiful just because we’re older when we experience them? When we baptize youth as the greatest gift given to us, we doom ourselves to grieve its inevitable loss for the rest of our lives.
Sure, I’m writing this mostly because I care, but I also see often in my friends a sadness when they talk about all the cool stuff they did when they were younger. A sadness, probably caused by a thought that nothing equally cool can ever happen again, or that time is running out.
Are beautiful moments less beautiful just because we’re older when we experience them?
And this is when we need a reality check.
What is it really that can’t happen? Vacation with our friends? The pursuit of a different career? Love? All of the above and more can happen, as long as we are willing to keep our minds and hearts open and work hard when opportunity presents itself. More importantly, opportunity will present itself as such, when we stop devaluing it because it came too late.
Time makes us wiser and more skilled. It gives us self-awareness, confidence and makes us more effective. It enables us more than it disables us – as long as we are healthy of course. Youth is undoubtedly beautiful, but we need to learn to see the beauty in growing as well. We need to value and enjoy every single day that comes our way, because it’s entirely new and can bring surprises and miracles.
Remembering, is sweet but can be misleading as well. The journey is not over until it’s actually over, so next time nostalgia comes for a visit, thank her for the appreciation she gives you and tell her to come soon again to find out about what has yet to happen.
Opportunity will present itself as such, when we stop devaluing it because it came too late.