Who doesn’t love a good throwback?
At one point or another, we’ve all been guilty of it. We’ve posted that baby picture on Facebook. We’ve bought that favorite childhood snack at the grocery store. We’ve stayed up until the late hours of the morning watching old cartoons on Netflix. There is no denying the appeal of something that shines particularly bright with the luster of days gone by.
As I spend my summer in the house, the neighborhood, the city I grew up in, I find myself overcome with nostalgia, whether I like it or not, in moments that are both expected and unexpected. I expected to feel emotional as I watched my kid sister (future BC ’17… look out) graduate from high school, stirring up old memories of when I was doing the same thing two years ago. That’s natural, albeit sappy.
But then I started to get verklempt while I was cleaning all the old clothes out of my closet, remembering the last time I wore the heinous blouse I was about to throw out. I rearranged my bookshelf and flipped through the pages of the chick lit that got me through my tumultuous early teen years. It got to the point where I’d get nostalgic over a slice of frozen pizza. And though getting emotional over food is nothing new for me, I knew my penchant for nostalgia was starting to get way out of hand.
If you’re not going forward, you find yourself starting to slide back. Last night, my friends and I sat around for hours talking about high school drama—the past happenings that haven’t changed even as we’ve all gone our separate ways. We could go on forever about who-kissed-who and what-happened-when, because those old times have a degree of certainty. The future, with all its ifs and whens, is a little less appealing than our untouchable past.
The water on the putrid lake where we used to skinny-dip late at night looks sparkling and clean when we have nothing else to do at night. We miss our high school crushes a little more when our present relationships don’t work out. Fear of the future can make us believe that bygone “good times” are better than they actually were.
Revisiting the past is relatively harmless, but it’s no way to live. It’s tempting to return home and fall back into old routines, but once you’re knee-deep in Lucky Charms for breakfast and late-night Nick at Nite reruns, it can be hard to get yourself back up and moving forward.
Though the future can be intimidating, the only way to fight the fear is to embrace it wholeheartedly. Will it be unusual? Sure. Risky? Of course. But that’s what adventure’s all about. Adventure is out there, even if you have to take small steps to find it.