September has always been a challenging month for me because the changing of the seasons brings with it, nostalgia. Dictionary.com defines nostalgia as a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one’s life, to one’s home or homeland, or to one’s family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time.
In reality, nostalgia is far more complicated because, with that longing, also comes grief. It might have been a happy time, but you also must come to terms with the realization that the times you are revisiting are passed. It becomes a struggle to move on and embrace the current moment, or plan for a possible future. Nostalgia can find a way to freeze you in time if you allow it.
It’s also a useful tool if you acknowledge it for what it is. Those moments to which you are returning are often significant messages to who you are now. Something in that memory is telling you what you need to know in able to move on.
One of my most recurring memories is a snapshot of me walking down the street of my hometown. It is my first visit home from college for the weekend, and it is my mother’s birthday. It represents a time in my life when I was undergoing incredible changes. I was no longer a child or a part of this small insular community. I was being expected to behave like an adult and take responsibility for my own life and decisions. Always close to my mother, it was a time when I needed to quit relying on her. Yet, over the subsequent years, I had so many difficulties I typically found myself returning to her. I simply could not seem to find my footing, and my decisions weren’t always the best. I was beset with health problems that caused me to make some decisions based on depression and anxiety reasoning rather than what might be best for my overall well-being. Adulting was proving to be a challenge.
My mother kicked me out of the nest, and eventually I found my footing, but it took years for me to discover who I was, then I had to reach the point of realizing who I was wasn’t tied to what I did or where I went. As I struggled with these life lessons, I eventually realized I was a small part of a much larger existence. It was this connection to the Universe that eventually led me to transcend years of trauma. More on this in another post.