Do you ever wish that you could return to moments from your past? Through the recent years of my life, I’ve learned to pinpoint memorable moments as they are happening and to savour them like a vintage wine, or a chocolate covered strawberry (or a 10 piece McNugget meal) so that I can more easily elicit the exact sensations that I was feeling as they were happening. Maybe this isn’t necessarily a good thing, as I often find myself distracted with memories, replaying them a thousand different ways, often including all the potential ‘alternate endings’ that they may have had. Most times though, I just reflect and let the memory sink in, settling into the familiar emotions I experienced while I was living them first-hand.
It’s been only in the past year or so, perhaps even less than that, that I’ve come to accept that I can hold on to really fond memories of people and places that no longer serve a purpose in my life without it being toxic (that is, as long as I don’t let it become that way). I can appreciate a memory, and even would willingly relive it under the exact same happy circumstances that I initially experienced them under, not the way I view those people or places now. For example, there was a girl back in high school that I considered to be one of my best friends, and even though we no longer speak, nor do I ever particularly want to be friends with her again, I’ll find myself missing the closeness and adventures we shared for the years when we were inseparable. Again, it’s not about wanting to reconnect and rekindle a friendship now as adults, but simply about appreciating the memories we shared as teenagers. The movie nights, the autumn afternoons spent scavenging for ugly Christmas sweaters at Value Village, staying up all hours of the nights talking about our first kisses and the guys we were crushing on at the moment, and even staying up late chatting with her mom while we all watched an old VHS of the Arthur episode where the Backstreet Boys were featured.
There is also another friend who was there for the first time I jumped off of a diving board, who I went for my first midnight swim with, who taught me how to play a few Christmas songs on the harp on my first visit to her house, and who I went gallivanting around the forest with. Again, though I can only assume that we will never be friends again, I appreciate these memories. Instead of getting upset and frustrated that I found happiness in thinking about these times with both friends, I instead found a way to be grateful for having experienced those instances of happiness and having those people in my life who — if even for a short, while in the grand scheme of my life — brought me these moments of joy.
There are also the good parts of some relationships that ultimately didn’t work out. I can look back on those times with a smile and know that even though I’m glad they’re over and I walked out learning a lesson, there were still many highlights during those times. There’s easily several moments that come to mind that I would gladly relive in a detached way.
Then, there’s the countless performances that I’ve seen — musicals, plays, ballets, operas, and concerts so frequently that I would often lose track of what I was going to see on which date. Meeting singers and bands who made a huge impact on my life (i.e., that time I met Gerard Way in May of 2015 and felt like I could have died happy that very night).
Then of course, there are so many travel memories I wish I could relive over and over and over again: my first time catching a glimpse of Château de Versailles, the flavours of steaming homemade pierogi in Kraków, tasting freshly grilled shrimp in Indian Shores, snuggling a baby calf in Amsterdam, roaming our 19th century hotel in Prague, watching the cast of Phantom of the Opera perform on stage off-Broadway in New York City. Most recently, hiking my way through the Canadian Rockies with my cousins. Each time my plane lifted off the tarmac in Toronto and touched ground in whatever destination I had made my way over to is permanently ingrained in my mind; the flutter of my heart and bated breath of each exhilarating take-off and landing.
What are some of your fondest memories of the past? Let me know in the comments!