April 10th, 2014, 11pm

There’s something addictive about the bitter-sweetness of nostalgia. At just one smell, one sight, one touch, you’re filled with a soft warmth that clouds your head, yet it’s juxtaposed with a sharp twist of your gut. It’s like you’re squinting at a scene through a camera, struggling to adjust the lens, yet you can never get it to focus. The picture remains fuzzy, and while it still brings you happiness, you cannot escape that you are looking at something that you will never recapture fully.

Nostalgia is an intoxicating feeling, and like any intoxicating substance, how if affects you depends on your state of mind prior to indulging.

A few weeks ago, a friend and I embarked on a planned “nostalgia trip” - it is only now, as I try to put into words just what nostalgia is, that I appreciate how fitting that turn of expression is.

I met my friend, M, over three years ago. I had just started university, just moved from my small home town to the Big City, and I was completely in awe of him. An exchange student, a few years my senior, he went by a different name then - “Tenzin” after the 14th Dalai Lama. Tenzin was the most intelligent and interesting person I’d ever met, yet he was never arrogant. He spoke eloquently and beautifully. He gave me the confidence to dance. We and our gang would roam London, eating, dancing, drinking and exploring. When I think of Tenzin, I see bright eyes gleaming.

My friend M is very much the same person as Tenzin - a little less wild perhaps and a lot less drunk for sure, but his eyes shine just as bright. The change I notice the most is in myself. Three years ago, I was amazed someone as special and as beautiful and as unique as him had any interest in the friendship of someone so dull and so unaware as me.

Now I have grown up a little more, and experienced a lot more, rather than being in awe of M, I am inspired by him. Inspired to be a little braver, to dream a little more, to explore a little further.

It is because of the change in me that while on our nostalgia trip to our old haunts, the sweetness overwhelmed the bitterness. While there was a pang of sadness that this chapter of my life is almost at an end, I could appreciate how far I had come, how much more confident I am in my own skin. At a time of uncertainty, and frankly terror, about my future, I hope that in three or so years time when I’m reminded of the person that I am now, with all her fears and doubts, I will be able to look back and feel the same.

Shu, Adrian, David Wade and Sanna said thanks.

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Ellen Catriona

I want the courage to explore

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