Nostalgia Is A Liar

Photo by Kleigh Balugo

By Kleigh Balugo

Nostalgia is the biggest liar ever. I didn’t think it was true but I know now for a fact. Especially after being locked in our houses for so long, it’s so easy to romanticize the past. Like most people, I spend so much of my time lusting over memories and people I once knew. Maybe it’s a little melodramatic and annoyingly contemporary, but it’s true.

I don’t think it’s a bad thing to miss your past or reminisce. Sometimes when I’m in a three hour zoom class, the only thing that gets me through is thinking about all the times I was laying out on the beach with my friends or sitting in Central Park seeing fireflies for the first time. It’s really easy for me to say “I wish things were the way they used to be,” or “I wish it was 2019 again.” But the truth is, that probably isn’t true. Those memories are only tiny fragments of what actually happened. I remember the good stuff of course, but I’m not wishing to relive bad days I’ve had.

That’s one way nostalgia lies to you. It omits so many details and leaves you with a sweet little memory that fits perfectly in your pocket. I try to remember it’s not reality. Everyone and everything that existed in my past is just that, my past. It’s definitely scary to wait around anxiously for the next exciting moment in your life or good memory to look back on. But I don’t know if that’s healthy. All of that nostalgia and memories is just an edited version, a Supercut, as Lorde would say, of what actually happened.

But, maybe I’m wrong and it’s not a valid point anymore because 2019 was a lot different than now. Nostalgia can’t be a liar; the past really is better than our present. Maybe that’s true but that just means our nostalgia is even more heightened. I bet when I was on the beach my face was burnt from the sun and when I was seeing fireflies in Central Park my feet hurt from walking all day. That doesn’t mean they were bad times though.

Reminiscing can be just as sad as it is happy. I’m sad that those parts of my life are gone but dwelling on it won’t make them come back. Admittedly, if I had a time machine I would go to the future so maybe all this inner rambling is for nothing.

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