On Time and Nostalgia
Keah Brown

How Moving Back Home Helped Me To Overcome My Nostalgia

Kait Johnson

It’s easy to blame past me for anything that goes wrong in my day-to-day life. It’s easy to blame her, and to look at who I used to be with the same way past generations probably look at most Millennials. I’m slightly disappointed of her, and just a little bit jealous of this person I used to be.

There are hundreds of things that I wish I’d done while growing up. My past is filled with Should Haves and What Ifs that haunt me. More often than not, it’s hard to remember what I have accomplished. It’s hard to remember that sometimes things happen for a reason.

In early 2015, I moved back home to figure out what to do with my life. Over the past year I have alternated between living at my mom’s house, living at my dad’s house, and working. Moving back home meant that each day I would face some remnant of my past. Old band posters, high school mementos, questionable clothing items that no one should have let me out in public in? In abundance. Those things are manageable, though.

I started working for my dad at his restaurant, a gig that I also had throughout college. His restaurant is close to campus corner, and to where I attended university. Driving by the school, seeing students and remembering my time there? Hello, Nostalgia, my old friend, it’s been too long. Here, let me buy you a bottle of wine. We’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

It’s unnerving sometimes to be so close to a place I once knew intimately, like a childhood home. But, now it belongs to a new set of people, and I no longer fit within its story.

Some days it feels like a decade since I graduated, and others I could have sworn I was there just yesterday. It’s been three years. And, like a weird relationship, I never really found closure for that time in my life. When I remember my time there it is fondly, and albeit a little romanticized. I remember being happy, being in love. As a professional writing major, my classes revolved around genre fiction and writing novels.

I loved my major, and the people I met through those classes. Who could hate classes devoted to writing a novel or reading young adult novels? Maybe non-writing people, but for me that it was a dream.

In those classes I met my first, official boyfriend. And, I fell hard.

All around, it was a good time.

Sometimes I wish that I could back, to hide beneath the security blanket of those memories.

You can’t go back, though. It’s not healthy to dwell on the past. Yet, that’s easier said than done, right?

But, it’s been good for me to face my old school each day. It’s been good for my brain to drag up old memories, to make me think things were better. Because, each time I’ve started to do that, I’ve challenged myself a little. I’ve examined the young woman I was, and realized that I’ve grown so much since graduating.

I’ve realized that I’m a little disappointed in my past self, the girl who spent her time in that school. Because, there is so much she could have done, but for some reason or another, she didn’t. Could have taken harder classes, could have explored other majors, could have researched more internships. She could have dated more, she didn’t have to think that her first real boyfriend needed to be the one. Maybe she should have listened to her mother a little more.

Things are not always what we expect them to be, and sometimes we get lost or the journey’s difficult. And, it would be so easy to go back to the days when things seemed blissful.

But were they really?

If I’m actually honest with myself, those days weren’t really blissful. There was stress about school, family, and my then-boyfriend. They just seem a little sugar-coated with time.

It’s hard, but I’m trying to figure out how to reconcile who I was with who I am now. To stop blaming the old me for doing what she thought was right. To accept my decisions, and to accept myself.

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