What I Learned After Revisiting Places Of Childhood Memories
While home from college on a boring afternoon, I decided to go on a bike ride.
I hadn’t decided the destination until I rolled to a stop in the parking lot of my elementary school. I started to think many things about memories and how we think of memories.
Suddenly my afternoon cruise turned into an hours-long journey to once-familiar backdrops of my days as a bratty juvenile. Here’s what I wrote about the experience.
When you revisit a place attached to a meaningful memory, you think of a few things.
First, nostalgia. How you remember the ways in which the place made you feel good.
Then, criticism of that nostalgia. How did the place actually make you feel before it became a distant memory? You may recall some fear, sadness, or anxiety, if brave enough.
Then, a connection with your past self. You stand in the same place as your past self once did — maybe a hallway, a soccer field, a sidewalk. You wonder if the “old you” would be proud of you today. You wonder if your former self had any idea you were coming to visit today. What has changed since you last stood there?
Then, a dramatic shift in perspective. You wonder if your future self will ever return — and if so, when? What will have changed since then? How will your future self think about you — with longing, pity, content?
In the shift of perspective, you become a “past self.” You send your future self a blessing.
Then you leave, holding the blank pages of your life’s script in one hand and in the other a pen gripped a little harder than before.
I encourage you to revisit the homes of your finest memories. Reconnect with old pals, read a dumb book you savored over a decade ago, urinate on your high school’s football field. Make your former self proud!