Don’t Let Memories Define Your Life

Nostalgia is a big topic right now. It is everywhere from Space Jam clothes at Forever 21 to  Facebook Memories of pictures of our awkward teen years and days that once were. As a Millennial it is hard not to get caught up in it all. The conversation has changed from “Ugh, look at those choker necklaces”, to “Damn, I miss my jelly sandals”. I think it is safe to say Millennials have made nostalgia cool again.

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Nostalgia has been creeping it’s way into my life more and more (mostly thanks to social media). As nostalgia has risen to new heights, people (myself included) have started noticing the negatives like hating on your body because you don’t look like your college freshman self or defining your new memories by things that once were. I even catch myself sometimes, hanging out with my old friends, and talking too much about “the good ‘ol days”.

I feel this may have defined my 2016. But, hell if I let it get another year. Being aware is the first step to focusing on the positives of the past and forgetting (or at least ignoring) the negatives. So far, my 2017 has been about making memories. Some days I don’t even look at my Facebook Memories Feed.  

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What I’ve learned from just that small change is that clarity can come from the most unexpected places and experience. I recently went to a book reading (which turned out to be more of a discussion) by Junto Diaz, an award winning Dominican American writer. I knew absolutely nothing about him or his work. I had been invited by a friend, and even though this author was a complete mystery to me, it turned out to be the most inspiring experience. I got so much clarity from a discussion that had absolutely nothing to do with my past or my interests. He discussed his youth, racism, and the struggle between wanting to make art but needing a career that produced enough for a writer to live on. I went to a book reading with no expectations and left with more understanding about myself and what I wanted out of my own life. I discovered I don’t want my identity to be defined by my past.
The best thing about memories, is making them.I will continue to make this year about trying new things. I want to make memories, not just remember the old ones. I want to feel surprisingly inspired without even trying. I know 2017 will be a year of great experiences not just remembering the old ones, and I encourage everyone step out of the comfort zone made up of old selfies. Try new things. The happiness you get may even surprise you.

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