Sometimes that change is losing a way of life you had, losing the person closest to you, leaving a place you called home for four years or the sinking feeling that the answer is “D. All of the above.” For better or worse, rest assured, things change. It doesn’t have to be a person; it could be a place, a time or a feeling because loss is entirely relative and for many of us, we’re about to lose an incomparable time in our lives. Know that this is your life, and no matter how hard you try you can’t stop the march of time, the relentless engine of change, but we can still remember.
I still remember.
All those good moments that seemed so utterly insignificant at the time slip to the surface of your mind like a Trojan horse, their grandeur and importance swelling inside you to an unbearable crescendo. Becoming so close to something that all the space in between disappears creates a sort of endearing feeling of dependence that, when torn, leaves a scar. This scar is the feeling of nostalgia, which in Greek, literally translates to “the pain from an old wound,” or so I’m told. It’s a sentimental longing to go back to a time or a place now lost, and that discrete, personal feeling that accompanies it. Though we can’t stop time and change, nostalgia lets us travel back and revisit those good moments, which are ironically, the most painful. Those little memories sit on you like a sheet of lead that no wishing well, no amount of money and no voodoo spell is going to revive. You can argue until your lungs are dry and your guns are rusted, but time remains oblivious.
If that’s the way it is, then that’s the way it is.
Never get too comfortable with where you are and what you have. Because even when you work hard and burn the candle at both ends, God, Allah, Yahweh, Xenu, the flying spaghetti monster or whatever omnipotent being you believe in isn’t too apprehensive about capsizing your boat in icy waters. It’s easy to be paralyzed, bemoaning your fate until you hit rock bottom. But that rock bottom will crumble and you’ll fall even further until you reach the very core of things. It’s like that myth that stars can be seen from the bottom of a well even in the middle of the day. It’s at the core of things when you can look up with clear eyes and appreciate how remarkable life really is. If bones break, they come back stronger. If something can be torn, it can be sewn. If it get be sunk, it can be salvaged. If it can be lost, then it can be won, it just needs time. Once you realize this, you’ve dodged a lot of bullets in your future. Not just any bullet either, one of those gigantic bullets from Super Mario with teeth that took up the entire screen, forcing you to hide.
It’s not going to be the last one.
Remember that the future is uncertain; hard times may be ahead, and though things may indeed never be as good as they were, who said unending happiness isn’t boring? If we could be fixed in the good times like that mosquito from Jurassic Park preserved in amber, we’d be trapped in what’s sweet, and the sweet is never as sweet without the sour. In the end, when history sings, you won’t remember the probability theories from DSC 205, the disease strains from MBI 111, the derivatives from MTH 151, and most certainly not some lame column you read in The Student. You’ll be left with the nostalgia from what’s past and gone; the words you kept, the people you met and the good times you shared. I know I still remember: searching the Yager stands for their face, fishing on Lake Michigan, the arch, the drive-in and those nights walking down Bishop. Despite what we had in the past, the future is clay to mold by us and us alone, and whether it’s fortune and wealth or years in the bread line, we can still look back in reverence and remember.
I still remember.