This I Believe

Nicole - Staunton, Virginia
Entered on February 13, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in nostalgia.

I am 22 years old, but some-times I feel as though I’ve lived a lifetime ten times over.

I cherish my memories, and keep them locked tight in a tiny box in my heart. It’s a gold box I imagine, lined with red velvet.

Inside, there are fond memories and bad ones, ugly ones and beau-tiful ones, all mixed up in the same little box – all of them making this feeling that can’t be recreated in the present … only from the past.

People tell me jokingly some-times that I linger on the past. I don’t know if that’s true, but I think that like a history lesson in school, there is much to be gleaned from what’s happened before. The experiences we’ve had deserve reflection – they’ve shaped us.

A few months ago, I was living in a little downtown apartment in a run-down building. There were cockroaches everywhere, leaks in the pipes that left a spreading mold on my bedroom wall and the stale smell of cat pee and ciga-rettes in all of the hallways. Also, there was always noise – the sound of music, footsteps, closing doors and laughter echoing through the halls.

Each morning I would stand at my kitchen window, eating cereal on the sill and watching the squir-rels dig for their buried nuts in the yard. During those times, in the mornings, it was quiet.

Eventually, I moved to a bigger and “better” house in a town down the road, happy to be rid of the cockroaches and ready to start a new chapter in my life. But one morning in my new house, as I was watching the steam rise on my coffee, I looked up out the back window to the sun peeking over the mountains, and then around my big kitchen and I felt sad for a little while, and sort of vulnerable.

I felt inside of me this pull in my heart for that old apartment.

I missed its smallness, the col-ors of the walls, the feeling of people living above, below, and all around me. I missed the experi-ences I had had while living there – the people I had met, the people I had left. The security that came from knowing that during that chapter in my life, everything had turned out all right.

It happens often – I miss … eve-rything. I long for it.

But you know, the world and my life will always be changing, and because of this … this state of always being in between … I find comfort in the fact that memories always remain the same.

You know that by looking back, you’ve been somewhere, and that somewhere wasn’t really all that bad.

Now if only I could look to the future in the same way.