Updated: Apr 25, 2020
Life moves on
The way life does
But some things are prettier
The way life was
Someone once said “Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be”. OK, not someone; it was Hector. The lead character in a funny and insightful movie - “Hector and the search for happiness”. Now, I’ve watched this movie twice...6 years apart. Certain things that didn’t stand out prior caught my attention the second go around. Like the quote-
“Nostalgia is not what it used to be”.
We often look to past moments for joyful inspiration and comfort. Telling ourselves the next moment we get we’re going to recreate those moments and it’s going to be epic!
It seems like we are simultaneously seeking joy in two places we can't touch -
The past and the future.
Let me tell you something about Nostalgia - it rarely ever was the way we choose to picture it.
When I was in Morocco for my 40th birthday I was sick for most of the trip. You couldn’t tell from the pictures and I consciously pushed my grouchy, nose blowing, feverish moments to the back of my memory.
Because I didn’t feel sick every day. Some days where intolerable, some days were glorious, most days were memorable. A variety of feelings throughout; which in reality is what made that trip so memorable in the first place. The good and the bad.
But in the end, my most glorious moments became the poster child for that eventful trip.
Kasbah Tamadot Hotel, Marrakech (photo credit: Cheli Njoku)
That my friends, is Nostalgia. A very selective way of looking at the past.
Why do I bring this up?
Because in the age of self isolation that we are currently living in, I’m starting to feel depressed. Slightly anxious. A bit irritable, and cabin fever is starting to creep in.
So I seek out Nostalgia as my needed hug and best friend. Reminding myself how things were and how they could be again.
The summer vacations
The graduation ceremonies
The beach. I repeat. The Beach.
I live in the ghost of moments past and hide my face from the present. Pretending the past was so perfect when in reality it had its share of imperfections.
Apparently I hid from that too.
As I psychoanalyze myself, I go through my “stages” -
Deflated- I’m trying to be hopeful but failing at convincing myself. Self righteous people are starting to trigger me and I begin to resemble the “straight face” emoji on my iPhone.
Epiphany: I ask myself what can I do, right now? It's dinner time. I'll make dinner for the family. It’s within my control and I have everything I need. So I do it mindfuly. Focused with no distractions. I do it well. Allowing myself to control only what I can while serving others gives me calm.
Hopeful: I’m falling back into depression again. I feel the "mean reds" creeping in. I go into my daughters room for a change of environment and some comfort. She’s not there but I stumble on a prayer I typed for her a long time ago on her bed. I read it. With each word I say, I feel a little more at peace, a little less depressed, understood, protected, calm, faith-filled, hopeful.
I know the present is not like the past and in moments it’s not ok. I don’t know when it’ll be ok. I can’t dwell on what could be or what was. I will live in what is.
I’ll face it with courage. I’ll hide my face when I can’t. But I’ll always come back to the present. Today I have a job to do, clients who depend on me, and young adults who need my leadership.
I’ll face it with courage
I’ll hide my face when I can’t
But I’ll always come back to the present.
Have an inspired Monday!