There are moments, I tell you. These moments when the world falls away and we remember who we were before we became who we are. There’s this impressive forward motion to humanity: we are encouraged to move forward, to progress, and to be present. We are encouraged to avoid rumination over regrets of our past. For some, this leads to the forward momentum of avoidance – of regrets, disappointments, embarrassment, heart-break. You can see it like the quick dash of a rabbit avoiding a predator – zigging and zagging all over the place.
But then there are these beautiful and bittersweet moments where we are so happy where we are in the here and now, that we are able to feel the beautiful nostalgia of where we once were. Regrets and grudges be gone, we are here because of where we were and true nostalgia allows us to pay respect. I say, live in the moment, but leave a little room for nostalgia over the past and much hope for the future.
I’ve recently been propelled into my youth via the conduit of music. Somehow, suddenly and without notice, I encountered music that holds a special place in my heart and reminds me of everything I was and hoped to be as a teenager. That tumultuous time where we are so consumed with hormones, driven by emotion, and utterly and completely confused (despite the belief we “know it all,” quite literally). I’ve spent the last 12 years distancing myself from my adolescence. I’m not sure why. I think we all feel confused and emotional during our adolescence. I was so ready to move beyond that time in my life I fear I dashed out friendships and relationships too quickly. I wanted to travel, to explore, and to break free of all of the cliched stereotypes engulfing me.
In any case, somehow moving beyond my 20’s into my 30’s has marked a significant forward movement for me. A freeing, of sorts. I didn’t know what to expect, but somehow, somewhere, I found peace. I’ve heard this is common. Here I am, a cliche yet again! In any case, I’m here, and I am me. Somehow I’ve spent the last 20 years trying to get here. I remember so many journal entries about wanting to be in a place feeling exactly as I am, with people around me who love me for all of me. And here I am! ME! What a weird feeling after 20 years of struggling to be here, and to be me. But I’ve come to learn that self-love is the only way to end up in a place where we are surrounded by people who are loving, kind, accepting, and love us unconditionally. Self-love is truly the only way to be the people we want to be.
I suppose arriving at ourselves allows us to be grateful for the influences of those who propelled us forward, who shaped us, who challenged us (however painful the challenges may have been), and who hurt us. All of the turmoil and (oft, self-inflicted) pain of youth and early adulthood teach us how to pick ourselves up and move forward. By looking back with an open heart we can consider those we may have hurt and hope only they too have found themselves exactly where they want to be, looking back with fondness and nostalgia.
Here’s to looking back with a smile…