Last night, I was listening to the song ‘Stressed Out’ by the band, Twenty One Pilots. Now, everyone who has heard the song would have come across these lines:
“Sometimes a certain smell will take me back to when I was young,
How come I’m never able to identify where it’s coming from,
I’d make a candle out of it if I ever found it…”
These lines might not make sense to many, initially. But the more you focus on them, the more you realize how much they make sense. When the singer, Tyler Joseph, talks about a certain smell making him nostalgic, he is talking about all the little things that make a person take an instant trip down the memory lane.
This happened to me when I was walking down a road covered with the red-golden leaves of autumn, a few months back. Walking down that road sent me on a trip so far down the memory lane, it took me a few minutes to snap back to reality. We all have several instances when we see something and it instantly takes us several years back. We might not always remember these exact memories, because they aren’t so significant. Yet, small things have the power to trigger these memories; they bring waves of nostalgia crashing over us.
Some memories seem very distant, the others seem like they just happened yesterday. But we don’t have the time to sit and reminisce our past. We are all too obsessed with our futures, we forget to cherish memories.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting that we should live in our past. The past is a ghost, it is dead. The present is where we should live.
But we most definitely should take some time out from our tedious, fast-moving lives to look back at these memories. Go through an old photo album, maybe. You have no idea how strongly a particular photo can trigger nostalgia in people. For some, it might not just be restricted to photos. Much like Tyler Joseph in the song, people’s memories can be triggered by little things such as smell, songs, words, places, certain names, and even food!
“The times you lived through, the people you shared those times with — nothing brings it all to life like an old mix tape. It does a better job of storing up memories than actual brain tissue can do. Every mix tape tells a story. Put them together, and they can add up to the story of a life.”
― Rob Sheffield,
Nostalgia is very important and so is creating memories, because these memories are the ones you will cherish. They are going to stay with you forever, no matter how much you try to fade them.
Memories have so much power. They have the greatest power- the power to stir feelings. They can instantly stir feelings of all kinds in a person- love, happiness, sadness, regret, anger.
It is important because it teaches us to find peace with something that we have achieved in life, even things that we have failed to achieve. But, at the same time, if nostalgia leads to actions that reflect our attempt to get back to our fabled, rosy-painted past, especially to a time when we believed that we were a failure, then it is an empty thing doomed to bring us nothing but a deeper sense of failure.
“It is strange how we hold on to the pieces of the past while we wait for our futures.”
― Ally Condie,
Stay rooted to your memories, cherish them. Make every moment count because you never know what might remind you of something from your past. When we remember something from our past, it is not necessary that we remember it the way it was. We tend to remember things in completely different ways- depending upon our perception. As children, we didn’t always get to grasp thing the way they were. So there are chances that we remember certain things in ways differing from the actual event.
However, holding on to nostalgia is not healthy. Nostalgia is just that, a moment of reminiscing. Do not let it drag you into a world of its own. Know when it is time to get back to the real world. Holding on to past memories and trying to relive them over and over again isn’t healthy. Let the waves of nostalgia drown you, but know when to resurface because, we all know what happens when one stays underwater for too long.
Just like Albus Dumbledore said, “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
“There comes a time in your life when you have to choose to turn the page, write another book or simply close it.”
― Shannon L. Alder
Memories are important. Revisiting the old memories are important. But be just that- a visitor. Don’t become a resident in Memoryville because the reality is very different from what it used to be. It will always keep changing and the one who cannot keep up with it would be lost.
Take your little trips down the memory lane. Escape reality for a little while. But get ready to hit reality once your little trip is over. It’s just like going on any other vacation. Once we get back, we must get back to the grind!
If you liked this article and could relate to it, spread the love with a pinch of pixie dust! Also, I would love to hear from all of you. So do let me know what you think.
The Shubhster. Xx