Have you ever found yourself seeing other people and associating them with other people from the past? Oh, that looks like so-and-so… But, they are not that person. They never will be. A stranger cannot surmount to familiarity, especially if you never approach them. Feelings of nostalgia are feelings of longing. Feelings of how things were and the people involved. Sometimes, you’ll listen to a song, and without moving, you are transported to a time where that song meant something to you. More than just a song. You remember a moment. And just for a moment, a small moment, you remember. You  remember everything. How you felt, where you were, who you were with, what you were doing. Everything. Sometimes, the present seems so much like the past, which is probably why it’s harder to accept that it changed. Time changed. There are different moments where nostalgia are extremely prevalent. For instance, when you move to a new environment. You want to fight the unfamiliar by flooding your mind with memories of good times. You say that where you are will never compare. Things will never be the same, and you are sad that so much changed. But, after some time and after some adjusting, you realize that things aren’t so bad. This could show when you move to go to school, for a new job, etc. You miss memories. But there are so many you can create.

Nostalgia can also occur during difficult times. Sometimes, you look at how things are right now and think they are horrible. You don’t have any friends, everything you start doesn’t get finished, you don’t have enough energy to ask yourself how you are doing, your job isn’t going well, everything is going wrong. The past seems so much simpler. The problem is we focus so much on seeing the past as a whole and think, overall, it was a great experience. Rarely do we compare a horrible experience now to a horrible experience back then. We compare a specific hardship to an overall positive experience. That’s the problem.

Nostalgia can also manifest itself when we see someone we think we know and someone we actually know. There have been countless times where I will see someone that reminds me of someone I’ve known. This may happen when you catch someone from a side view and mistaken them for someone else. You take a double take and then realize that you don’t know that person, and perhaps, you never will. When we do see someone we know that we haven’t see for a while, it’s almost like meeting them for the first time. You try to act “normal” and to do that, you just mention the past. “Do you still like eating peanut butter out of the jar?” “Do you still get scared when you watch horror movies?” “Do you still get motion sickness?” “Do you still work at that corporate company?” You reminisce so much about the past to make the present seem more comfortable. And when you begin to talk about the present, it’s not the same.

Nostalgia can also occur when we find something we haven’t looked at for a while. Rummaging through old notes, old texts, old photos, old videos, old belongings, just brings waves of emotions. Sometimes we look at these items as if we are proud of them. A grin arises that is difficult to erase. In that moment, you analyze your items and observe them as if from a distance, making sure to keep them intact. We place so much importance on the past, which is why we do all we can to preserve it. Even if it means not creasing a photo.

Nostalgia can also occur during certain times. Every school break may have gotten more and more inconsistent over the years. You may have spent your breaks building tents, eating junk food, watching television, and playing video games. Those were how your breaks were. Always. But now, they are replaced with work, school, and other responsibilities. Your breaks are no longer how they used to be. This may also be common with birthdays. Every birthday, you may have gotten a cake, wore your favorite outfit, be surrounded with loved ones, and so on. Now, you may get a phone call, you may go out to eat, or you may just stay at home for the majority of it. The pinata and the balloons are no longer necessary. Things have changed. How you spend your time has changed.

Nostalgia may also show up when you are listening to music. Certain songs make up the soundtrack to particular moments. The song you heard on your road trip. The song you heard every day going to school. The song you heard when you cried. The song you heard while dancing aimlessly in your living room. The song you performed at karaoke. The song that played on an audible card. These songs give you mental images of the times you heard them before. And it’s not odd to mimic the feeling you had before now, listening to the song all over again.

The past doesn’t have to be a sad pity party that every time you look back on, you long. Not every memory has to now be a sad one, but simply a reminder, of how things were. You will have inevitably changed from the start to the end of this blog. You will have inevitably changed throughout the years. Not all change is bad. Grow. Grow from experiences and learn. Reflect. Then, grow and learn some more. And don’t be afraid to look back every now and then.

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