Yesterday night we played a whole bunch of High School Musical songs, and I had the weirdest bittersweet feeling. Can I Have This Dance was playing; the one from the third movie that goes like this:
It's like catching lightning
the chances of finding
someone like you
It's one in a million
the chances of feeling
the way we do
Those lyrics literally made me tear up, because it brings back such monumentally amazing memories, but at the same time it's a symbol of how my childhood is inevitably over. Troy and Gabriella ended. It's all a big fat metaphor - or at least it seems that way to me, in my head right now.
It's funny how insignificant the triggers of emotional nostalgia can be. Every time I hear a song from Taylor Swift's album, Fearless, the memories come back, and I can see myself at 9 years old jamming to You Belong With Me wishing for a neighbour of my own to write notes to from my bedroom window. I don't wish for Taylor's life in that video anymore. Instead I think back to all the great times I've had belting that song out in the car or in school or anywhere.
Every time I think of Mason and Alex from Wizards of Waverley Place or Jake and Miley from Hannah Montana or even just the Jonas Brothers, I grow overwhelmingly appreciative of the beauties of my childhood. It's hard to explain that absolute high feeling I get when having these appreciative nostalgic sessions. There are moments of complete happiness, where I can do nothing but cry a little, or turn to the person next to me and start screaming about how deep my love for this Disney ingenuity goes.
All the tiniest connections - even just looking at all the photos along the staircase in this house, thanks to my overly memory attached family - make me think of my own life back then. For some reason I am under the illusion that I was undeniably happy. I know I was oblivious to the ways of life and people and society, and since I seem to have the philosophy that ignorance is bliss, I am under the illusion that I was completely blissful.
This is obviously not true of course. I may have been a stupid twelve year old, but I certainly wasn't clueless, and I cared about everything, much more so than I do now. That was one important thing I've learned since then; that caring about every single person's opinion and every single aspect of your life will always lead to disappointment, pessimism and unhappiness. Only care for the important things. Twelve-year-old me probably was happy, but she hadn't learnt any of that.
I had a wake-up call from this longing nostalgia when an old primary school buddy decided to tag me in a "throwback" photo on Instagram. Looking at my dorky self, with my uneven jagged fringe and tall slouching frame, I pity twelve year old me. I most certainly wouldn't want to be her again.
And even going back further and further and further, I just get more and more clueless. I've been growing every single day since I was born, and going backwards would be a nightmare knowing what I know now. Looking back, I would never want to be a past version of myself ever again. Yes, as a five year old I lived in blissful ignorance, but I didn't have as many opportunites for fun and unique experiences as I do now. Five year old me had never seen High School Musical.
There's this quote I've seen twice on social media now, and it's managed to stick in my head:
"Nostalgia is a dirty liar that insists things were better than they seemed"
Thinking of my childhood - my memories, pop culture back then - give me a whole range of emotions. I should learn to realise that appreciating their existence and having a purely happy feeling is great, but I need to remember that life wasn't all too good then anyway. Life is better now, in the present, for sure.
And one day, years from now, I'll be looking back at my life today with a feeling of euphoric nostalgia, with none of that melancholic longing at all.