The Nostalgia

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If this time of year is all about new beginnings, why do we find it so heart wrenching to tear down our Christmas trees and wave goodbye to our holiday weight? Maybe because they subconsciously remind us of a time, perhaps when we were younger, of home comforts and warmth. A fine example of things we try to cling onto.

At midnight on the 31st, we’re reminded that it has been yet another year since some happy occasion; for example, graduation. It’s coming up to two years since I left, some of you maybe even longer and all I keep thinking about are house parties, lazy days on the beach and meeting my friends in halls for the first time. My thoughts also return to the fun I had in the library at three in the morning, high on lucozade and playing “find the biggest book on the shelf”. What I forget about however is how much I disliked living in a small a city as Exeter, how lonely it was when I missed my friends from home and how much the workload actually was which lead me to being in the library at 3am in the first place.

My point is, that by dusting away the bad bits of our memories, we focus only on the good. This should provide us with a ten minute, positive trip down memory lane, but what it can do is make a dig at the here and now. We actually tend to be quite modest about our present. We too easily complain about how much weight we’ve put on or how much we hate our jobs. We barely ever think about how lucky we are to be able to enjoy the company of our colleagues on a Friday evening, or how much bigger our boobs have got. In comparison, our pasts are gleaming with arrogance and brilliance. A few years ago we were oh so slim, flourishing in our work lives, our purses were brimming and we had a line of prospective partners practically knocking down the door.

The first issue here is that we’re lying. Secondly, we’re pointlessly comparing. Although we’re the same person that we were then, we’re here now because of changes that we made happen. Sugar coating memories before comparing them to now is doing no one any favours.

That wonderful single life, free from the shackles of children? Think about how much better your Sunday afternoons are, watching them play rugby. Still living with your parents? Think about how warm it is in comparison to your uni house. Things don’t seem so bad when you look at them in the context of 2013 instead of 1997. Besides, the era of the Spice Girls will make anything look mediocre in comparison.

Nostalgia is more of a yearning than reminiscing, leading you to believe that your past is better than your present. This is damaging, so ban it. Think back to the fun you had in history class or on that trip to Croatia, but be sure to realise that the beauty of now is that you’re still yet to enjoy it. The sooner you get excited about that fact, the better.

Or you could just book a flight to Dubrovnik full of expectations.

The choice is yours.

Happy New Year.

The Loss

Despite being seventeen, weighing far less than I do now and being head over heels for my boy-band look-a-like boyfriend of the time, 2006 was undoubtedly my worst year to date.

I lost three of the most important people to me within nine months of each other, and it was more than a kick in the ball bag, as I’m sure you’d imagine.

In retrospect, that year consisted of a ridiculous amount of tea, sandwiches and biscuits, memories of relatives that I’d never seen before or since acting as though they knew my life story, a bleary eyed great aunt Phyllis and the need to wear ill-fitting black dresses just because they were funeral-appropriate.

I manage to push all of this to the back of my mind, until those fateful days when I come across an old photograph, a gift from them, or I have to help someone else face losing someone they love.

That’s when I’m reminded of that thudding sentiment of disbelief.

If you’re privileged enough to have never felt this sort of sadness, imagine being really, really hungry. Not “after a run” hungry, really hungry. And now imagine knowing that you’ll never be able to eat again.

Think of the worst break up you’ve experienced and times it by five billion. You might just about come close to what it feels like to lose someone for good.

It’s the control that we as humans strive for so often that in these circumstances we lose, leaving us, ironically enough, for dead. You’re the least in control you’ll ever be when something like this happens.

The only positive that stems from this incurable pain? The sobering effect that it has. Nothing seems a big deal and petit problems concerning a lack of funds or a pair of shoes become trivial. The realisation that you could die tomorrow is the moment that causes you to start living.

So make ends meet. Get back in touch with those who you’ve always meant to, take that trip across the other side of the world, but most importantly, simply take the time to appreciate the people you have around you now.

As scary as it is, we have no idea what tomorrow brings.

This weekend reminded me how lucky I am to be surrounded by such great people.

For Sue and Sue. x