In almost every way, I am the perfect combination of my parents. For better or for worse, I am just like them. Well, mostly. You see, the one trait my parents didn’t pass down to me was their easy-going way of letting go. With one of them as a photographer and one as an artist, it is quite literally their job to capture moments in time. So you would think that my parents would be the opposite. I, on the other hand, am completely different. I am the most sentimental person I know. I don’t like to let go of anything. Clothes, old books that I haven’t picked up in years, people. I just don’t know how to let go. I don’t know if I am just extra sentimental or if I have more issues than I am aware of. Probably both. I always tell my parents that someone in the house has to understand the sentimental value of things if they won’t.
I sort of view sentimentality as both a blessing and a curse. Because if you think about it, when you feel nostalgic about something, you aren’t exactly happy. It’s bittersweet. I find myself looking at old pictures from nights that I would say we're the best in my life and it makes me sad. It makes me miss the girl in that picture even though I am the exact same. It almost makes me hate photographs. They are this perfect way of capturing this one single moment in time that will never be the same. As I’ve gotten older and had incredible moments with the people I care most about in the world, I have had to learn that moments don’t last forever and no matter how hard you try there is no recreating those moments. Maybe that is why my parents don’t seem as sentimental as they really are. Maybe they have found this perfect balance of keeping things close to them through pictures, paintings, and sculptures. Maybe they have had it right all this time.
Part of me wants to say screw it. Screw all the old pictures. Screw the old t-shirts. Screw reading old texts. Screw missing who a person was in the moment instead of actually missing them.Wouldn’t life be so much simpler if that were possible? Well here is the scary thing, it isn’t possible. You don’t get to get rid of memories. You can try but the hard truth is, I don’t have to look back at my snapchat memories just to remember the best times of my life. They are all right there in my head. I will always be sentimental about them because they were incredible. I don’t want to forget them. I wait for the day when my kids find old pictures of me and my best friends in high school and I get to say “those were some of the best people I have ever known.” I don’t ever want to forget the people or the memories that come with them.
As much as I ache about the past, I ache about the future. Is it possible to feel nostalgic about things that haven’t even happened yet? Maybe not but that is the best way to describe that feeling. I risk jinxing whatever future the universe has in store for me but I think I know what my happily ever after looks like. I truly do. It’s the in-between part that terrifies me. And maybe that’s what the ache is all about. I can see myself living this life that I picture but I just can’t quite reach it yet. And I am in no way trying to rush it. You don’t rush things you want to last forever. Maybe it’s because I’ve had a taste of that future and waiting another 10 years to get there scares me. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that people in my life right now are the people that I want to be in that future, fairy tale, ending I have in mind.
When I let my mind wander and I get to this vision I have of the future, I feel the same nostalgia I feel when I look at pictures of me and my friends from the best nights. And the same way that sentimentality is bittersweet so is this one. It’s like this, I don’t want to go backward or forward in time, but I’m glad that I can look to these memories or that future. Because things are hard right now but at least I know that once they were great and I will get there again. Because just like the people in my memories and hopefully in my future, they are my safe place. Everyone needs a safe place, mine just happen to be different moments and places in time.