The last few days, nostalgia has been hitting me like a train. One of my good friends has been willing to stay up late with me as I rant about the good times, the bad times, and the silly stories (for which I appreciate him very much). I seriously don’t know why this all came at me so suddenly but I have been reliving the last 5 years of my life inside my head.
I can practically feel my sled moving underneath me, and hear the laughter of my old friend (who has since moved), and feel the cold wind knock the air out of my lungs. I can see my breath fogging up the air in front of me as I lug the heavy sled back up the hill, and hear the crunching of the snow beneath me. For just a moment, I am back on a retreat with my old youth group, with my old friends, and my old youth leader. Now, my family has switched churches, my friends have moved, and my youth leader is gone. Even if I were to go back to the church, none of those people would be there. That retreat and that youth group exists only in my memory, and I treasure it so dearly.
Maybe it’s because my dog just passed away that this is all hitting me, or maybe I’m just a very sentimental person. But diving into some intense nostalgia is such a beautiful and exciting experience. I mean, our human brains are so complex and wonderfully created that we are able to STORE a piece of our lives inside of our heads long after it is gone. We can re-experience the people and things that we miss and relive the euphoric sensations that come with a happy memory.
To make a long story short, I love nostalgia. It is so enthralling and an instant mood-changer. I even enjoy experiencing secondhand nostalgia. What do I mean by that? Read this:
“The night before my birthday, my last night as a child, I got really nostalgic. I took my diary and a pen and went outside to sit on my porch. It was a lovely night, reminiscent of fall evenings from my childhood in Minnesota, just when the leaves started to change. My little sisters came out with me and played jacks. They kept losing the ball. It was just like my nights used to be. It was like God gave me a little more of my childhood.”
Did that actually happen to you? Well, unless you are my friend Merry, probably not. But when I read that, I get super nostalgic over something that never happened to me. The imagery makes everything seem so real and triggers similar happy memories in my own head.
So go ahead, give yourself some alone time to just think and remember. It may be awkward or slow-going at first, but as you get going, one story will remind you of another one, so on, so on until you are blissfully dreaming.