Google defines nostalgia as “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.” In so many instances throughout life, we find ourselves wishing to go back in time to happy moments and times where “everything was perfect.” The funny thing is we don’t realize how truly precious those moments were until after we've already experienced them. 

Honestly, I’ve realized this through the Snapchat’s “Memories” feature. That crazy, awful feature. Almost every day brings forth a new memory or two. Memories of typical high school events. Memories of people that I thought were going to be in my life forever. Memories of my sisters with silly filters on their faces. Memories of times where I regret focusing on the negatives because there were clearly so many positives. 

As much as I hate this “Memories” feature, I can’t bring myself to turn it off. It’s bittersweet, seeing how quickly time flies and how much life changes in a year. There’s just something about the past, especially seeing yourself in it, that’s hard to “turn off.” 

Nostalgia can hit you like a ton of bricks. Whether it be through a Snapchat memory, listening to a certain song, talking with an old friend, or even eating a certain foods, feeling nostalgic can allow us to in a way, escape reality and go into our own world. Its effects can be so powerful. People feel joyful for having experienced a moment or a time so incredible, yet feel sad that it is over. 

Nostalgia can be a comforting friend, yet it can also be a trap. Constantly reminiscing about “perfect” times can lead to fully living in the past, which is a big no-no. As someone who can tend to live in the past sometimes, I constantly have to bring myself back to reality. Life happens so fast and things can change in an instant. It’s important to be present and aware of the moments that are right here, right now. 

As Andy Bernard from The Office once said, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” As we experience the different chapters of our lives, each chapter brings forth good and not-so-good. When I think back to certain times in my life, I know that in those moments, there wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows. But the sunshine and rainbows are the parts that I remember. They’re the parts that make me yearn to relive those times again. Perhaps if I would’ve known that those moments were going to end up being some of the most memorable, I could’ve enjoyed them more. 

But that’s the beautiful thing about life. As you go on this incredible journey, it’s a guarantee that you will experience an abundance of beautiful moments, perhaps even more beautiful that the ones you’ve already experienced. Have gratitude for your life and enjoy every. single. moment. Because one day, you might wish you were living it again.