The Conflict with Nostalgia

girlsplaying.jpgI’m not quite sure when it happened, but somewhere between my childhood and early teenage years I stopped believing that I was capable of doing anything. We all did. Knowing better overruled my sense of creativity and ability to imagine any possible combination of outcomes.

Last night I sat next to my best friend of 24 years, on the floor of her Los Feliz apartment. Each with a computer on our lap, we wrote our stories. I remember when we used to sit together and, instead of just creating fictional characters, we were those characters. Our imaginations transported us like a time machine to wherever we wanted to go, as whoever we wanted to be.

I can recall being a shopkeeper – and a damn good one at that – at age 5. Kate and I would block off the kitchen and charge our parents a nickel every time they wanted something out of the fridge. In retrospect, we were genius. Back then, we weren’t intentionally manipulative or greedy money makers. No. We were just doing our jobs - because after all, we were shopkeepers. And it was awesome.

So what happened? When did we lose that ability? I’d give my right foot to really be a shopkeeper, or a German tourist as we would sometimes pretend, or whatever I wanted to be at any given moment. It takes a few glasses of Jack to take me there now. Joking. Maybe.

Nostalgia is a weird thing. It was once described as a form of melancholy, a painful yearning for the past. After the initial joy of recalling a particular memory, all I can think about is how far removed from it I am today. Eckhart Tolle would be waving his finger at me now. Nostalgia is the biggest enemy of living in the moment, because life moves on around you while you’re stuck reminiscing about the past. But while I long to be back in a stagnant memory, I paradoxically love change and maturation. I just wish I could figure out how to love this moment as much as I’ll love recalling it.


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