A Lesson in Nostalgia

Or, How I Became Exactly the Person I Didn’t Want to Be

Yesterday I went back to the high school I graduated from, to visit teachers I was very fond of as an Adult. Last June, I swore I would never step in that building again; like a lot of people, I don’t exactly have fond memories of high school. Or do I? Time, even less than a year, does strange things to our memories. Some people can only remember bad things but I always remember the good.

A few days ago, I figured that going to say hi would be a fun experience. But the day of, I found myself incredibly reluctant. Why? Why didn’t I want to go back?

After I graduated, I said to myself, I will not be the person who can’t escape high school. It’s like being an adult still obsessed with their college days. I look at those kind of people with a sort of contempt. Like their live isn’t interesting enough now, so they have to go back to the days when they were happy. I’ve always felt, deep down, that sticking to college or high school means you’ve failed at having an interesting life.

And that’s kind of fucked up.

I don’t want to cling to the last straws of the Good Ole Days (even though they weren’t that good), but does going back to visit my high school mean I’m doing that? Why should anyone even care, why should I even care? Maybe it’s because I’m a different person than who I was in school. Maybe it’s because I desperately want to separate myself from that person. The fact is, high school was a major part of my life– four exploratory, formative years. It’s hard to just walk away from that and quite frankly, no one should feel the pressure to have to.

I told my theater director I’d do him a favor, which meant I had to go back to the school today. It felt like everyone was wondering why I wouldn’t just leave. But they probably weren’t. They probably didn’t even care.

For the Love of Christmas

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Every year I go through the same cycle: around Thanksgiving I dread Christmas. I’m always just so disappointed by it, it’s too early to care, etc. Then, mid-December, I go crazy. I clean, I decorate, I spend way too much money on presents. Then Christmas comes and I am, in fact, tragically disappointed like I said I would be. Why? Do I hype it too much? I always find myself struggling to live up to what I remember my childhood Christmases to be. Every year I want to believe in the magic of Christmas again and every year I fail.

I wonder what is so tempting about nostalgia. Is it because we hate change, or because we seek certain things that have made us happy in the past? We are dedicated to traditions, familial ones and societal ones.

I think this is a common problem.

This year is already set up to be a strange Christmas. There’s no snow, for one, and even though there wasn’t any last year the Thanksgiving blizzard more than made up for it. My mom isn’t coming over for Christmas breakfast, which should be completely expected but somehow still makes me feel upset. My favorite aunt and uncle won’t be at dinner. And my dad has refused to decorate– no lights, no tree, no nothing. Which means bringing the spirit is all up to me.