Over the past year I have relocated twice, from Atlanta, GA to Dayton Ohio and from Dayton, Ohio to Charlotte, North Carolina. Last night while reflecting on the events of the last year it dawned on me that we as humans generally never really appreciate different points in our life until it is gone and we are looking back at it. From spending my summers with my grandparents in Ohio, to college, to living in Atlanta I realized how important these moments were after I had experienced them. This is one of the reasons why I made it a point to take so many pictures during my year living in Dayton; I knew deep down that I wouldn’t be there for long. Nostalgia by definition is “The 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”.
The interesting thing about nostalgia is that we all search for it, and yearn to experience it. However we can’t experience this great feeling unless we leave that place of comfort/happiness to experience something else. I can recall a a time, roughly about three years ago when I was finishing up my bachelors degree in sociology, and working on my internship before graduation. During this time I was also taking two summer courses, and working my job at the recreation center. Needles to say this was an extremely busy summer for me, and sleep had become foreign.
I should also point out that at the time I had no car and would often have to be up by 5:30 AM to get to my internship by 8 after staying up untl 3 AM studying. I worked as a life skills teacher where I taught life skills to teenagers; touching on a variety of subjects from education, future careers, communication skills, goals, and other lessons to prepare them for their future. Although this was an unpaid internship the intrinsic value I gained from this experience was pricless. Although I enjoyed this experience, and felt accomplished from getting no sleep while working towards my degree I had something else on my mind.
During this particular summer I could not help but think about not having a vehicle, and my long walk to my internship didn’t help. As I stated, I juggled many activities during this summer and time was scarce. Teaching a group of teenagers with only two hours of sleep isn’t the easiest task. Despite the stress that I bared, and being sleep deprived I now look back at this experience and realize it was one of the most productive and life changing summers of my college career. I was pushed beyond my limits which allowed me to discover something inside me I never knew existed.
There are many times in my life I would love to go back and relive; from summers in Cincinnati, Ohio with my grandparents, to my college days. The thing that all of these days have in common is that although enjoyed them I failed to cherish these moments. I also failed to realize that I would one day be looking back wishing they would return. The beautiful thing about life is that we as humans constantly create memories. Although we may want to go back and relive certain moments, we are able to bask in the moments we are creating in the present.
It’s also important for us to remember is even the unpleasant moments we experience play a major role in building and shaping our character to become better people. For instance I often wish I would have enjoyed my summer internship more instead of allowing one minor obstacle weigh me down. Enjoy the day and know that after the sun has set this day will become etched into your memory, never to be lived again.