We're a little crazy, about science!

Day 355: Nostalgia for the unsentimental

Memories

One of the oldest photos I still have, it seemed appropriate for the post today.

To say I had a whirlwind of a life would be an understatement. Until my mid-twenties I moved at minimum once every two years. Not just moved across town, as in moved states. To be fair, as a kid it was bouncing between a few states. It wasn’t until adulthood that I started moving further away. Oddly enough, it wasn’t by choice, life just seemed to get in the way of staying in one place long enough to settle in.

Maybe that’s why I’m not sentimental. It’s hard to get attached to things when you lose basically everything you own every few years. Sure, I have a handful of things that have somehow managed to follow me around, but if there was a fire tomorrow, I wouldn’t cry over the things I lost. After all, it’s just stuff. If it’s one thing I know all too well it’s that stuff can always be replaced with new stuff.

That doesn’t mean that I haven’t been able to settle down now, thankfully. School has made it hard to move, which has been helpful and getting my care/benefits setup through the VA has had a hand in that as well. The point is, when you’re life isn’t a giant whirlwind of moving and figuring out how to make it through the day, you have a chance to reflect on all the crazy things that happened up to that point. Some of it is definitely more cringe inducing than others.

Lately I’ve been stuck on one summer that stands out. It was probably the one time in my young adult (see: well before owning a home) that I was happy. Like legitimately happy, it involved sun, beaches, listening to the beatles (I’m not that old, just a fan!) and a lot of time just floating in a pool. I do enjoy swimming and I haven’t had the chance to do that much, but I remember thinking it was how I wish I could spend my life. Just floating in a pool and doing basically nothing.

Can you blame me though? Life had been moving so fast up to that point that I couldn’t keep up with it. It all feels like blur going onto the next thing faster than the thing that came before it. There were whole chunks of my life just forgotten, lost to the void. Relaxing seemed like such a novel concept I wanted to do it forever and in some ways I still do. The idea that I could just brush off all the hectic things that life seems to throw at me and just BE is very tempting.

I’ve been in a weird place this summer, going back to that summer and the fall many years later when I tried to kill myself. There isn’t as much incongruity as you might imagine to jump from that very happy memory to that very sad one. It’s the music you see.

If there was a soundtrack to my life it would be all over the place. Still there are certain bands I associate with those two times in my life and I still listen to them both regularly. Obviously the Beatles, but also the fall I attempted to kill myself I associate strongly to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Like I said, all over the place, or maybe not. Listening to either makes me nostalgic for those two points in my life and I still listen to both regularly.

Maybe it’s odd to say you feel nostalgia for a time in your life when you were trying to die, but it was a complex point in my life. A low so low that it felt bottomless. Then contrast that to a content feeling I had up to that point never felt in my life and in some ways it makes sense. They are like two sides of the same coin.

I don’t generally have moments in life where I get to feel strong, raw emotions one way or the other. I mean depression to me typically means feeling numb and while I struggle with it to this day, I don’t normally get to enjoy high, highs or low, lows. That probably sums up the best why I like to reflect on those two points, they were unfiltered and pure. They were times in my life where I felt with every fiber of my being an emotion so strongly that it could have ripped me in half.

In some ways both of those moments did just that, but you know if you offered to trade me the world for them, I would keep those moments every single time.

 

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