Friday, March 19, 2021

nostalgia lane

Lately I’ve been shocked by my middle-aged ness. When? How?! I grocery shop like it's a hobby, and I vacuum daily. I have arthritis and wrinkles. (WHO AM I and HOW DID I GET HERE SO FAST?) My joints and crows feet swear it’s no joke. But right now, as I ponder life and time and purpose and the future and the past- I swear I’m 20 as I listen to The Counting Crows. 




I am colorblind

Coffee black and egg white

Pull me out from inside

I am ready, I am ready, I am ready,

I am taffy stuck and tongue tied

Stutter shook and uptight

Pull me out from inside

I am ready, I am ready, I am ready,

I am fine

(Color Blind, Counting Crows)

Sometimes nostalgia is looking at the past, and desperately wishing something about it was still true. Sometimes the present feels deeply achey and empty. 

But sometimes nostalgia just feels achey, in a way that almost feels like the good kind of sadness. Do you know what I mean?  The line between happy and sad is thin and razor sharp at times. Sometimes nostalgia is just a look back with honor and grief that it’s over, because it was so good- (even the not good parts), even though life now can feel right and good.

If I’m being honest, I do both, but it’s mostly the latter. I love my life now, but boy those other parts of this ride were so much fun, and over so fast. Sometimes I long for old circumstances, and sometimes I long for the me I was back then. 

Lately, I've been traveling down Nostalgia Lane more than ever, yet I don't know why. A "This is your life" type review. Honoring the hard parts, and simmering in the good ones. Maybe the Pandemic has just given me way too much time to think think think. (Do you feel me?)

Driving through Nostalgia Lane is normal, but staying there is a recipe for sadness. All that we have is today, and if you are stuck living in the past, you lose today. I’m realizing I’m the only one who can pull me out from inside. Gimmicks and platitudes don’t work. I must be ready, I must acknowledge the feelings as real and ok, and I must let them go (SIGH).

Most days are unremarkable. But those unremarkable days combined equal the majority of our life. So I soak up the goodness when it’s good, and I ride the wave and try and hold my breath when it’s bad. Saturday afternoon Parker and I drove around. The air was 65 degrees warm, the Counting Crows were on, and the windows were down. I had an Iced Chai Latte from Starbuck and the wind was whipping through my hair -and the ache of nostalgia was gone. Yes, here I am, I realized. Age is just your body's number, I am every decade I've ever lived til now. I felt like me- Do you ever feel like it’s so easy to forget you? 

Each decade in your life is like a good friend that had to go away. All your favorite foods, where you lived, what you wore, what you do with your time, all your private jokes- gone as you move on. Move on- because life is moving on. Of course we would miss that friend. We’d sugar coat the hard parts, and in hindsight realize where they strengthened and sculpted us. And no matter how many new good friends we meet- (new years and decades we are lucky to live) and no matter how happy you are- it doesn’t mean that old good friend wouldn’t pop into your mind now and then with an ache and longing so real you can taste its sweetness.

Looking back at college, I remember falling in love for the first time, making amazing friends, growing up, taking a full load of classes, and working my ass off at a Restaurant.




I remember tanning beds being my National past time, and pizza and cheeseburgers being by main food group, (as evidenced by the size of my ass in this picture- I'm far right- and this was the first time Mom Jeans were in). I remember the dorm and making new friends and smoking Marlborough lights like it was my job that I was damn good at it. Listening to The End of the Road by Boyz II Men, and Whitney Houston (I Will Always Love You), and Whomp There it is (Tag Team) and Kenny Rogers and Prince. I made a special mixed tape just for College-ha! It wasn't perfect, but it was beautiful and real and boy do I miss it.

That’s the friend I miss. And time is often a happy story teller, because now I forget not having money and having to drop out of my sorority because I couldn't afford it, and working until midnight and getting up for a 7am class. I forget the loneliness of that first love boyfriend being isolating and emotionally abusive boyfriend and I forget that I had an eating disorder that owned me for a few years. No. I don’t want to go back to that time. (Well, maybe for one day), but my heart sure bleeds from the beauty of it all. 

I could wax philosophical for each decade. Each "friend", because it all mattered to the me of then, and the me I am now. 

Our bodies have an age, but our soul is every age we've ever been and ever will be. And nostalgia is just a reminder, that even the bumpy parts of the ride are beautiful, and the hard parts usually don't feel as hard when it's over. 


I am covered in skin

No one gets to come in

Pull me out from inside

I am folded and unfolded and unfolding

I am colorblind

Coffee black and egg white

Pull me out from inside

I am ready, I am ready, I am ready,

I am fine

I am fine

I am fine

(Color Blind, Counting Crows)

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