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Rose-Colored Glasses: My Journey with Nostalgia

What do you do when you feel like life’s peak has already passed?

The passage of time has always felt like one long, constant loss for me. I tend to view the past through rose-colored glasses, seeing past events and time periods in my life as having been perfect and dream-like, even if I know this contradicts the reality. It sort of feels like a death that I am continually mourning.

Specifically, I tend to constantly idealize the summer after high school graduation. I was surrounded by an amazing group of friends, I was constantly traveling, I’d started to date the guy I’d gone to prom with for the past two years. And in a matter of weeks, I was headed off to college in the city of my dreams. At that time, life truly felt like a teen rom-com: We were all so content and incredibly naive in the best possible way, unsure of what the future held for us but reveling in beach trips, backseat makeouts, basement parties, and ice cream dates.

As damaging as it can be to our mental health, it is incredibly comforting and satisfying to scroll through our Snapchat memories, look at old pictures and watch old videos while reminiscing on “simpler” times. In my case, I experienced a painful level of nostalgia in moments of boredom and loneliness that would creep up on me occasionally during the first few semesters of college and the summers when I would return to my now-quiet hometown.

I got into the habit of stumbling upon snaps of me and my cross-country team on our way to our meets, my family and I at our favorite Mexican restaurant, funny videos of my old friends and I blasting music in the car, windows down. This became such a regular, emotionally-draining practice that it was bordering on masochistic.