finding comfort in nostalgia

If you know me, you know that I’m quite a nostalgic person. In my free time I might get distracted and spend hours reading through my old journals dating back almost 10 years. I look through boxes of dusty photographs my parents took of my brothers and I; old trips to Disneyland, play dates in the park, and my favorite: parading through the streets on Halloween in hand-made costumes. I even collect rubber stamps like my grammy used to, paper dolls, records, and own two film cameras. All that is to say I find pleasure in looking back.

I realize that it is a privilege to look back, and see a carefree childhood. Not everyone has this positive experience. To me, however, nostalgia has been restorative and has helped me feel more rooted in myself.

I think nostalgia can come in any form. To me it often comes in the form of smell and touch. It’s the feeling of rhythmically rifling through a box of photos, the glossy paper swishing against each picture. Nostalgia is the smell of cedar that takes me back on a summer bike ride, singing and laughing as we rode through the grove of trees. Or it’s the faint scent of a wood fire like a lazy summer day in hills of northern California at my grammy and poppop’s, and their old shed.

It can even come in the form of reuse: being given a hand-me-down item of clothing, or an object that someone no longer has space (physically, emotionally) for. Often times family members such as my grandparents, will gift me with objects they used in the past, such as clothing, fabric, etc.

Nostalgia allows me to look back at myself as if through a reflection, then look forward at who I want to be, and see the same feelings, emotions, cycles. The same soul carrying me through life.

I often feel nostalgic not only towards my past self but when I’m outside, admiring the beauty of the earth- the trees, the grass, the sky, things that have been admired with awe from the beginning of time, to this very moment.

Dedicated to Ruth Peterson, my grammy