Nostalgia’s been whispering to me a lot lately. Her sweet smells spark memories from years past that I can’t quite put my finger on for several minutes. When I finally do, a subtle smile forms on my lips, and I feel my eyes start to sparkle with secrecy. It’s just me and my memory – caught up in that moment to which only I am granted access.
They aren’t big moments. They don’t call for photographs or congratulatory keepsakes.
They’re small…tiny even. A quick glimpse, a flash of poignancy that fades as I try to grab hold.
The intricate smell of a pillow – musty, delicious ocean air mixed with comfort and time.
The feeling of a home – its walls heavy with familiarity and the laughter and worries of a family growing together year after year.
Nostalgia’s voice is soft and gentle. She knows me, and as I grow, I find myself more able to communicate with her. We share intimate moments of knowing – a wink, something held dear between two old friends.
She marks the time. She keeps little happenings that are written deep within my core, deep within the pathways of my thinking and responses. She keeps them safe.
Because she knows what matters most to me, she holds secret knowledge about my future, about the path I’ll choose and why. She’s bittersweet wisdom, collecting my perceptions and ah-ha instants, my moments-in-time that make up my memories, my dreams, the ways I want to feel.
She’s one part comfort one part longing. She tells the tale of where I once belonged, a tale laced with hope that I’ll create a life with those warm feelings as my guide.
Nostalgia sometimes holds me at a distance, though. She watches me cry. Her kind words whisper that I’ll find my way, and she gives me the space to turn toward the sensations, to explore them with curiosity and compassion, so that I may grow.
What if this funny friend is a way of bringing the beauty of the past into the future? What if listening to her is a way of dropping into our bodies, facing and releasing into our feelings? If
we neither turn away nor linger too long, we can take these glimpses of untouched time and write them into our future – the delicious parts, the parts that when you close your eyes, what you see, feel, and hear make you want to sit down, cross your arms, and refuse to leave.
Maybe if we use this bittersweetness wisely, we’ll find ways to honor our story, understand ourselves, and move forward into beautiful lives created with pieces from our past that are written in the promise of our future.
Maybe we can also just enjoy this peculiar addition to our lives. Maybe we can savor these moments of time travel – if even for a second. To let ourselves feel good, let ourselves be cracked open a bit more. I surely will let her wash over me as long as she’ll stay.