On Being Nostalgic


I’m a very nostalgic person. I grow attached to things because of experiences. Never objects, really (besides books + music). When I say things, I usually mean physical locations. I get very sentimental and emotional when I’m at a place that holds great memories in my past. While I didn’t really enjoy college (the academic part), I will still get a happy feeling in my stomach when I step back onto campus. I feel a sense of contentment when I drive past the house I lived in until my siblings were born. I even smile when I pass the exit that leads to the first (crappy) apartment Adam and I ever lived in as a married couple.

The funny thing about it all is that I have a horrible, horrible memory. If it wasn’t captured on camera or video then I most likely don’t remember it. It’s quite odd. So while I have these warm and fuzzy feelings tied to books, music and places…I never really know what I’m remembering. Am I remembering all the fun times tied directly to photos that I’ve seen? Am I forgetting all of the worst?


So last weekend, I found myself in an emotional place. We spent a longer weekend at my family’s lakehouse in Michigan. My grandparents have owned it since I was born and I’ve spent time there at least once a year for 26 years. As my grandparents have gotten older, they decided this year to put the house on the market. I spent most of last weekend trying to reflect, conjure memories and taking pictures (in fear that I’ll forget).

I’m sure it sounds much more dramatic that it really is. But to me, it feels dramatic.


I remember looking up at the sky and thinking about how there will be so many more cherished places in my life. Someday Adam and I will buy a home. We’ll vacation at our favorite places. We’ll remember the houses we grew up in fondly. It’s okay to feel sad but it’s more exciting that I get to live my life surrounded by really amazing people. They are the reason these places are cherished.

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Comments (12)

  • I am exactly the same. I’ve gotten nostalgic over cars, homes, clothes and music especially. Anytime I hear the Backstreet Boys my mind wanders… haha!

  • I know just what you mean, that achy nostalgia, but not a ton of concrete memories backing it up. I just started reading a childhood memoir last night (bell hooks’ Bone Black), and in the preface she said something along the lines of – how our memories imagine our experiences is more important and influencing on our lives than what actually happened.

  • I love this post. I feel the same way about nostalgia and all the different places I’ve visited, lived in, or made memories at. Your grandparent’s house sounds wonderful. I read somewhere that our brains tend to hold on to positive experiences and dull the bad ones as time goes on. I personally have no problem with that at all!

    • I agree – I definitely think it’s great. There are times, however, where I don’t think I process things properly due to my lack of memory…

  • i am very similar, i feel very attached to places (i even remember conversations, people or smells when i walk or drive through certain places) and i tend to remember only those things and moments that have been captured on camera or video.
    i am leaving the house (and the city, barcelona) i’ve lived in all my life, this time forever, and all the feelings that have been coming lately because of this have been quite dramatic.
    i just know i won’t really, painfully, miss it as much in the future when i’m busy living other adventures in other places, right?

    • Oh I’m sorry to hear you’re leaving that house. I get very emotional so I understand. I try to think about how I’ve survived other times in my life where I’ve had to “move on” but there is something so comforting about a home or a place where we’ve been able to retreat. Thinking of you!

  • I am with you on the nostalgia. And there is something particularly nostalgic about summer time – memories of laid back summers as a kid influence how I shape my summers now.

    Deciding to stay home with the boys, I have struggled with raising them in summers that look different than the summers I had. I often want to recreate the wheel.

    I am hopeful that your grandparents sell their home for the right price and that the decision serves your family well. I am also curious to see if you still go back to the same area some day in the future with your own family and create new memories nearby. (or if maybe even, this season is wrapped up and you spend time in the future on a different lake or in a different town.)

    • Yes!! Summer time must be a magical timeframe where we as kids held on so tightly. It’s interesting to hear from you perspective (about raising your boys the same way you were in the summer). I’d love to hear more!

      Thanks for your sweet words. I know selling it will ease stress and allow them to enjoy their time together. I always joke and say when I get rich – I’ll walk up to the house and offer cash (just like Father of the Bride) hehe

  • yes! I just drove by one of our old apartments yesterday and it’s funny how easily we hold onto memories and how romanticized they become!

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