When I find myself thinking of the past, I don’t tend to go to the good old days in my life. Usually I am bombarded by the negative, embarrassing and the somewhat awful memories that I am trying so hard to run from. As I’ve grown older I’ve found it harder to remember the good things that have happened in my life and sometimes wonder if they even happened at all. But there are moments where I am taken back to a time of ease and happiness. Back to the days when my only worry was what cereal I would eat while I watched Saturday morning cartoons. I am taken back to the “good old days.”
I can be transported to the good old days through a variety of means. The most common way comes in the form of music. Whenever I hear a song from the late 90’s or early 2000’s I immediately feel like a kid again. I feel like the girl sitting in the back seat of her mom’s Jeep Cherokee, listening to the music and trying (but usually failing) to remember the lyrics. One of the songs that has the power to do this is “I’m Like a Bird” by Canadian popstar Nelly Furtado. This song plays an especially important role because of its place in my childhood. My mom bought me my first cassette tape and it was Nelly Furtado’s “Whoa Nelly.” “I’m like a Bird” was the first track on the list. I never even made it to the other songs because I would constantly replay the first track and get lost in the soulful ballad. To me it was the “Bird song,” and I never even wanted to hear anything else.
Of course in 2019 that song does not get a lot of time on the air, but when it does play a certain feeling comes over me. I experience the familiar joy that I have had since I was 5 years old, sometimes for the simple fact that it’s an amazing song. And I have nostalgia for what for me was a much simpler time in my life, a time where I didn’t have to worry about student loan debt, my career, or climate change. Those were the good old days, and sometimes all I want to do is go back, even just for a little while.
Everyone experiences nostalgia for the simpler times in life, and I think that’ s perfectly ok. There’s nothing wrong with reminiscing about your childhood and feeling joy from all your good memories. Sometimes you have to feel like a little kid in order to get through life as an adult (strange, I know). But it is important to keep in mind that the past is the past and that it is all behind you. Just like getting lost in all the bad memories, you can get lost in the good ones too. Even though they can take you to a happy place in your mind you are ultimately losing out on your time in the present. By being in the present you have so many opportunities to make even more good memories that will make you happy. Yesterday was great, but today can be even greater.
It’s fun to look back on the good old days and go back to times where you felt nothing but joy. But you can have joy in the present, and it’s important to never forget that you’re living life right now. The present can give you good days now. You just have to be willing to take a leap of faith.