I’m one of those people who will recall certain moments down to the second. For example: this exact time (from when I’m writing this) two weeks ago, I was headed North for Christmas break. That morning, a little ache begged me to stay in Los Angeles for the weekend. The clouds were supposed to break that afternoon — and, when they did, the day was a gorgeously pure Southern Californian day: unobscured by smog, with its summer-like holiday spirit in full force.
I drove home anyway, because coming home too often and for too much time is what I continue to do best. That first Friday night home, I crawled into a warm bed with the feeling that all was right with the world. (All being right meaning that reality, and January, felt an eternity away.)
In the midst of a memorable moment—however large or simple—I am intentional about capturing a photo in my mind of the sight and smell and sound. Last night, while at Twin Peaks, every word that came to mind failed the sight of San Francisco. The City sounded mostly of tourists; though when I allowed myself to be lost in thought I heard only the hush of the wind with scattered honking cars and buses in the distance. San Francisco smelled like crisp air: the kind that rubs a face red and feels clean in the lungs.
Each time I stand still for a handful of moments—in spite of my intention—the motion of time eventually speeds up — usually without my awareness. Before I know it, twenty-four hours has passed, and the nostalgic process of thinking back begins: this time yesterday, I was standing at Twin Peaks…This time two weeks ago, I was on my way home...
I assume I've held tightly enough to the moment as if I could freeze it myself, and yet time slips swiftly anyway.
Every new year I find myself in the same predicament: nostalgic for all things within the past year. I’m all for self-reflection. If you’ve followed along on here or read my personal blog, you would know that. However, I’m at a point in my life when self-reflection requires balance. The irony is that my expectation for the future also needs balance.
I tend to hold fast to the sights and smells and sounds that come with the past. I grasp, until my knuckles are white, at the moments most familiar to me because they feel safe. I exhaust myself on the how life felt when’s… And on the what used to be’s…
And, the problem doesn’t stop in the past. I even make the mistake of going to the complete opposite side of the spectrum. In attempt to correct myself for wallowing, I look to the future with unprotected expectation — expectation rooted without hope and with entitlement, and placed with too much emphasis and not enough faith.
For the New Year, I want to find a middle ground between holding memories and comforts near to my heart without allowing nostalgia to rob me of the joy and familiarity waiting to be found in the future. I also want to stop placing the sorts of expectations that keep the future from organically working itself out.
The future is inevitably imperfect, but that doesn’t mean it should go on to exist without any hope invested in it. I want to learn how to expect, without building walls of expectations — walls that are unclimbable, walls that ultimately scare me off or keep me in.
I do hope to continue capturing those intentional little moments, because they are the snapshots that decorate the walls in my mind. I just hope to also look out the window of my life with the intent of finding unexpected things that, however unfamiliar, will grow my perspective and change my life some more.
In this new year I hope you can look toward something new and invigorating, while holding closely to what has rooted you all along.