What makes you feel nostalgic?

Music brings back nostalgia for me. There are certain songs that I associate with certain times in my life. For instance, Semi-Charmed Life really defined my sophomore year of college. Limon Y Sal defined my first year at my new jiu jitsu school. I definitely have had songs that I’ve listened to on repeat but then have gotten tired of.

Nostalgia is a weird thing. It’s an indulgent emotion. I don’t like nostalgia sometimes because it makes me sad. Either because I know that I can’t go back to the way that things were, or because thinking about the good sometimes also brings up the bad. Wishing how things used to be doesn’t seem that productive, and besides, it is a product of warped memories, anyways.

Still, there are times in which I do wish I could capture and bottle up certain moments in time. For instance, the trails at Amherst College during the fall was nothing like I had experienced up to that point, because I had lived in Texas almost all my life before heading up to the Northeast. The way that the crisp autumn air would rustle the leaves is the scenery that I choose every time a guided meditation asks me to visualize a peaceful place. Taking long walks and runs on that trail was a healing experience for me; in nature, I was able to be with myself and learn about who I was as a person.

I think that nostalgia in some ways is like a way to cope with the temporary nature of life. If we had no way of looking back on something and feeling good about it, it would be very hard indeed to convince ourselves of why we would continue with present experience, which is often mundane. Nostalgia is our mind’s scrapbook; a collection of ticket stubs, souvenirs, faded photographs that we have chosen to keep for safekeeping, but also for sharing, with family members and friends when the conversation strays in that direction. It reminds us that although we won’t last forever, we can still hold fast to our own great moments, at least for a little while more.

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