Would 7-year-old me be proud of who I’ve become?

Sometimes it feels like I’m not myself anymore. But I am, I’m just growing. And changing. I’m finding my way in the world as an adult. Not that that’s new, it’s been a good few years now, but when I was first 18, I didn’t feel like an adult. Even when I turned 21 and I went out and bought a six pack even though I don’t drink, I felt like I was faking it.

But now it’s been a few years, I know my favorite brand of beer and I’ve voted five times. I’ve felt what it’s like to fall in love and I know all too well the hopelessness of heartbreak. I still live at home and I’m still trucking along in college, but both of those are nearing the end of their lifespan. I can’t help but wonder where I’ll be in five years. That feels like a more daunting question now than it ever has. Will I still be living five minutes from the beach? Will I still be friends with these people who’ve lived down the street from me our whole lives? Will I have started my career? Will I be happy?

Sometimes I wish I could go back to being 7, laying in the grass in the backyard of my childhood home, listening to the same song on repeat until I learned all the lyrics. Or until it got dark out. That song was eight minutes and four seconds long. It was a song from before I was born and I still remember most of the lyrics. I wanted to learn the words so bad for virtually no reason other than just wanting to. I would write on a piece of paper for weeks, all the lyrics to this song from my parents’ childhood. And eventually, I learned all the words. I never showed it off to anyone, I never sang it for anyone. I did that purely because I wanted to see if I could.

At the time, that was something that brought me the greatest dopamine rush. Nothing made me happier than to be able to swing on the swing-set, listening on my $30 off-brand mp3-player in the crisp spring air, and quietly singing all the words. It was my project and no one else’s. Nothing could’ve made me happier.

Maybe the key to feeling that freeness again is to pick up that habit again. I should do things for me, to make me proud, not anyone else. I’ve always been a firm believer in thinking: if 7-year-old me knew what I was up to, would they be proud of me?

the world’s most nostalgic person

And I didn’t know how I wanted it to go until that day. It wasn’t like I was unhappy, but I certainly wasn’t happy. And sure, sometimes I was content. But it wasn’t enough. I fall into this trap of settling so often, you’d think I’m not still young. I get petrified of any negative feeling; I ignore the ones I’m already feeling. And it’s ironic, and I get that, but sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s wrong until it’s over. And this happened a year ago. I’m only thinking about it because I’m the world’s most nostalgic person.

I miss things. And I miss people. It’s the reason I annoy my friends with all the mentions of exes. I get accused of not being over them, but it’s not true. I don’t miss the people; I miss the feelings. And sometimes I miss the people, but it’s not usually for long. I miss ex friends more than I miss ex boyfriends. And even them I know I’m better off without.

And on the day when that two-year, arguably worst relationship of my life ended, I remember I went to the gym. I know we shouldn’t have broken up over the phone, but he lived an hour away and we both knew it was coming anyway. I went to the gym and I listened to a break-up album that had conveniently just come out that day. I became fixated by it. I wound up going to the gym a lot in those coming months. And I was fine. I was happy. I didn’t miss him in the slightest.

But I realized, after two years of constantly being lied to and treated like yesterdays garbage, that I was happy to be single. And I’ve been happy being single for the better part of the last year. I think when that nightmare of a relationship started, what I needed was a friend. And I realize now that all I really want are friends. I don’t feel like I need a boyfriend or girlfriend to be happy. I’m just happy hanging out with my friends and watching a show and maybe having a drink. And that’s fine.

And now Valentine’s Day is coming up and I never much did celebrate that even when I was in relationships. So, I’m not too worried. I’ll probably end up watching some rom-coms at home and I’m content with that.

Summer

I miss my carefree nature,

I miss the wind at my back,

I miss the way the sun beams glowed

early summer mornings.

I miss watching the sunrise

from my bedroom window,

and I miss watching the sunset

on the beach with the dog.

I miss the simplicity,

and how I knew it’d all be fine.

Sometimes winter gets so cold,

I fear I’ve gone as bitter as the wind.


Tea and Nostalgia

Tea in the afternoon,

hard at work on this or that

and the sun shines through the window, cracked.

Tea on the windowsill,

a gentle breeze cools the drink.

It’s not as cold as it’s been lately

and the smell of fresh air

brings a sense of nostalgia

for when I had no troubles,

spending all my time running around outside.

I have this obsession with nostalgia

and I think it’s because I’m so eternally exhausted

and I miss the feeling

of optimism and pure delight

I only truly had as a child.

I’m only 22

but I’ve been through enough

to deserve this cup of tea

and a moment of clarity.

Nostalgia

I haven’t felt a single thing

and I worry I never will again.

What happened?

I used to be so lively,

nowadays I’d rather sit at home

than be with loved ones.

What happened?

It’s like a part of me died when you left.

I knew it would happen;

I knew from the start

and I did nothing to stop it.

What happened?

What happened to the person I once was?

I have a fondness for things from before,

things like games and music and pop culture

because it’s the only thing

that brings me closer

to who I was

before.


On Growing Up (and how I don’t want to)

No one prepared me for growing up. It sounded liberating, fun, exciting. To move out, get a good paying job, having the freedom to do whatever I want. I loved the sound of that. But I’m tired all the time and I have no motivation to do anything more than the bare minimum. It’s boring, I tried to frame errands in a fun way that made them sound like I’m on some big adventure but it’s just going to the store and buying milk because I’m somehow always out of milk when I want a late-night bowl of cereal. Or it’s going to pick up a prescription but it’s not ready yet- should I wait for it? Or should I make use of these 15 minutes and go do something else I had to do today. And this was supposed to be my day off? My one day off this week? And I’m stuck at the store for 15 minutes because my prescription wasn’t ready yet. If this is what adulthood is then I want no part in it.

But that’s not all there is. There are concerts I don’t have to ask permission to go to, there are vacations I can take without my parents arguing every time we get in the car. There’s still fun to be had, it just feels less fun because I actually need the time off to recuperate from the long work week I just had. Being an adult is exhausting, and I’m not ready to grow up, but maybe I’m looking at it wrong. Maybe it’s more than just going to work and running errands. Because there’s also buying myself that new video game I’ve been wanting since I first heard about it, there’s playing it until 2 am and regretting it in the morning, but I’m still on that high you get when you first play a game that I don’t even realize I’m tired. I’m just counting down the minutes until I can play again.

Or, more personally, there’s staying up all night writing a new story I thought of during work and quickly wrote down on receipt paper so I would remember it when I got home. There’s the six hours straight of writing and editing and planning and more writing and more editing and it’s somehow all fun because I finally, after months of writer’s block, have something to write about again. I thought I had lost the ability to write, every time I tried to it came out as utter nonsense. As if I had written it on no sleep and too much caffeine (which was sometimes the case, but that’s beside the point). When I wrote this new story, it was like I was 12 again and just realizing my love for writing. The possibilities are endless and thank god I can type fast because the words come so fast, you’d think I’m on a deadline. But I’m only just beginning.

When it’s warm outside and life is good again (besides the bugs, the bees, and the humidity)

It’s warm now for the first time

in a long time.

I wasn’t sure winter would ever end,

but it did now.

Now it’s warm nights and sunny mornings,

sipping coffee

as the trees bloom all around me.

I’ve never known joy,

at least not like I know it now,

but I know it now.

invincible

There’s something beautiful about a big open field; I used to dream about them. The endless green grass, wild flowers growing arbitrarily, wandering around them aimlessly. It’s a kind of calm bliss only achievable in a big open field, unaccompanied on a sunlit day. Maybe it’s something to do with how I spent my childhood, often around fields of lush grass and the soft sound of people just out of sight. Maybe that’s why I have such an affinity for them, they bring back fond memories from a time I only vaguely remember.

A gentle breeze passes, I feel sempiternal, unbreakable, invincible. Laying in the grass, I listen to the birds sing, the faint sounds of cars and people, just far enough away to not be bothersome, but still close enough so I don’t feel alone. I’m at peace, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Simpler Times

There’s something about nostalgia

I obsess over it.

Most of my tattoos are tied to it,

half of my wardrobe is related to it.

I attach myself to the past,

it’s difficult to let it go,

it’s too easy to reflect on,

to reminisce about the Simpler Times.

I find myself playing old games from my childhood,

going for walks where I spent so much time as a child,

but why?

I’m often let down,

the games aren’t what they used to be,

the walks cluttered with litter and nosy people,

but I find myself drawn to it all.

Maybe it’s something to do with the simplicity of it

and how nothing ever seems as simple as back then.

It’s beautiful in the saddest fashion,

how I will never again relive those memories,

and every day they’ll fade more

until I hardly remember them at all.