No one loves to celebrate nostalgia like this gal. Even though my identity and my world perspective is rooted in progressivism, I still maintain a soft spot for *some* tradition. Although these traditions are few and far between, this connection I hold toward *some* tradition leans mostly toward reflecting on happy memories. You know, “the good ol days”. I like to reflect on a simpler time in my life (i.e. college), and I know I am not alone in this. I know this is not abnormal. But I am writing this to reach those who sometimes hold onto these memories to seek primary joy. When we play the comparison game of our lives today to our lives “back then”, we are gambling in a dangerous round– we are telling ourselves that we crave a life that once was, and that the life we have now is “less than”.
For me particularly, that reflection was held in the very few years of my college days to where I traveled a lot with a high school friend of mine who I ended up dating for quite a while. We were fairly serious (in terms of status, not attitude), and I think this added to the romanticism of the relationship. His family would take us on vacations that filled us with lots of alcohol and fried foods. We celebrated every day. This family opened up a whole side to me that I never knew was there. (See: Carefree) They took me in and loved me unconditionally. We spent lots of time laughing and enjoying one another’s company. Happy times are so intertwined with those people and those years that it took me a very long time to embrace the present. And even though my instinct told me that this wasn’t meant to last forever, I still wanted to hold on for dear life because I assumed that would be the extent of adventure and the extent of unconditional love and connectivity that I would ever feel.
My life since then has been wonderful and joyous, but even reflecting on those moments can sometimes make me a little sad. Maybe because I know that that was such a special time that I will not be able to relive. It is without a doubt that I was placed in their world for a reason, just as it is without a doubt that those people were supposed to enter my life at that pivotal moment of my time here on earth. But I do know, as we have learned from Juan’s grief post, grief can take on many forms. And for me, grief takes the form of remembrance. Sometimes, if the weather is just at the right temperature, and the drinks are flowing at just the right amount, and the smell of barbecue is all around us, I get a little sad because I think of those times with that special family.
As time has moved us forward, I have learned that when those memories hit, I breathe them in for just a minute, only so I can breathe them out just as quickly. I ground myself. I honor those times. And then I take a bite of my BBQ Brisket sandwich, sip my beer, and remember that I create my own happiness.
And life looks pretty good from where I’m drinkin’.