Fall is coming, and I have to prepare myself. Every year, this season gives me pause in many ways. It’s so tightly wrapped in nostalgia, but sloppily and uneasily so.
While I confess that fall is my favorite, it also is emotionally difficult. The terrain is complicated to traverse. Good things continue to build, while the things I once cherished stay put in the past.
Feelings of Fall
Originally posted in the October 2016 edition of the CU Sentry.
Fall drips with nostalgia. Memories trickle and dribble as they resurface, simultaneous to falling leaves as they drift and sway to the ground. The cold months are nothing short of misery, where we aim to forget; autumn serves as a lasting grasp onto our fondest moments.
There’s nothing quite as pleasant as going through old memories. Sometimes we get the chance when we sift through our bedrooms and discover preservations of the past, like newspaper cut-outs or hand-written journals. There might come a time when our parents, tired of hoarding our belongings and acting as storage vaults, give us boxes of memorabilia to go through—old report cards, those coveted light-up sneakers, that dusty VHS dance recital collection.
Thanks to Facebook’s “On This Day” feature, there’s also a digital copy of our past. We get notifications of our online memories—what statuses or pictures we posted or were tagged in on this date over the years. Seven years ago I added my aunt as a friend, six years ago I shared “How about them Rockies,” and three years ago my mom asked if I enjoyed my first college care package.
I’m partial to nostalgia, and for good reason: I have fond memories.
While many people find themselves either embarrassed of who they used to be and say, or struggle with the pain of their past, I’m fortunate. My life has, overall, been a pleasure to look back at. Sure, I referenced too many song lyrics and added on too many “ha”s to “haha,” but those posts represent who I was and probably, who I’ll never be again. My conflict comes when I am left alone to think about my memories.
Fall-time nostalgia, though it’s hard to admit, does pose a threat: I’m vulnerable to my feelings. This season has always been flooded with emotion. My softball career took place August through October; I left my childhood home as summer ended; my first date with my partner took place on a chilly Halloween.
I could tell you that a picture of me in the batter’s box or on the pitcher’s mound brings back all of the feelings I used to have, and miss: my competitive edge, the joy of the game, endearing camaraderie, thankfulness for talent. Or I could tell you an underlying truth: maybe I mostly miss my dad and all that we shared—when he taught me how to compete, introduced me to the sport, pushed me toward teamwork, practiced with me until talent became skill.
Maybe I miss the warmth of my parents’ hugs before bed. Maybe I miss the charming innocence of youth, the silence of teenage independence, the quiet-yet-constant buzz of external reassurance. Maybe I miss the soft spot of not-quite there and past due, and how ready I felt for more.
Sometimes it’s not just a matter of missing memories—it’s accepting that they’ll never come back. And just like that, the leaves will lay dead and silent as snow begins to fall. Enjoy the nostalgia while it’s here, but try to remember that after the cold settles, the chance for rebirth will come again.
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