Nostalgia is something I think a lot about. It’s one of those things that makes you feel wonderful and terrible all at the same time and can be therapeutic or destructive depending on how much you dwell on it. The past has always had a stronger hold on me than it seems to have on most other people. I’m not sure why this is. One could say it’s because of the loss of my brother, but if I’m being honest I was always this way. I have a hard time living in the present because I can’t stop comparing it to the past. It’s difficult to enjoy a place if you are busy missing the last place. It can also be difficult to accept yourself as you are if you are always comparing yourself to prior versions of you. I’m not as optimistic as 18 year-old me, not as ambitious as 20 year-old me, not as thin as 26 year-old me. I have traded optimism for cynicism, ambition for the pursuit of contentment, and thinness for the self-medication that food and alcohol bring. On the upside I have also become much more self-possessed, more understanding, and hopefully more forgiving. The standards I held myself and others to 10 years ago are so ridiculous in hindsight I wonder that I had any friends at all. Still I obsess about people, places, and things that should be specks in my rearview mirror. I believe I’m getting better at letting go but every once in a while I’m gripped by a grief for the past that is so strong that it makes current life seem ugly and pointless.
The pop culture of the 90’s holds a special place in my heart. It was the decade I grew up in and not many things will evoke nostalgia in me more quickly than a Tamagotchi or grunge music. When I look at my childhood objectively it was pretty awful to be honest, but looking back all I seem to remember is that all of my problems seemed temporary and the future full of promise. I was going to rule the world- just as soon as I got out of that house. But after losing a sibling at 20 years old, my life became less about ruling the world and more about getting through another day. Now 13 years later, being in charge of another human being seems exhausting, never mind being in charge of a planet. Growing out of such things is a part of life for a lot of people, but I seem to be the only person I know who fears change this severely. I have never even considered getting married or having children despite having more than one stable, healthy relationship in my past wherein it would have been the next natural step. Instead I went ahead and sabotaged those relationships, opting instead for relationships with people who would never try to convince me to get married, due to the fact that they already were (those always end well, FYI). These days I avoid relationships altogether as just another thing that seems exhausting. Now, on the eve of my 34th birthday (holy SHIT) I am wondering what the rest of my life is even going to look like. A job that I hopefully don’t hate, a condo or a small house, and fuck YES a couple of cats. I will be That Aunt. I certainly never saw myself with this ordinary of a life. If 20 year-old me could see me now, in no way a famous primatologist and published author with an amazing social life, she would likely be pissed. But you know what? Fuck that bitch. She has no idea what it’s like to be an adult.
Take us out, Hoppus.