Adulthood is challenging in many ways. It takes energy and effort to stay on track of daily life, to coordinate and perform tasks that once seemed simple and easily accomplished. (I’m looking at you, dishes.) No one really tells you how to act when you’re put on hold while scheduling a dentist appointment, how taxing meal planning is, or how untrustworthy metabolisms seem to be, especially when you sit in front of a computer all day.
For me, though, one of the greatest challenges I’ve faced in this transition to independence has been mostly unexpected. If I created a listicle with a “Hardest Parts of Adulting” headline, with things like paying bills, getting married, exercising daily, making doctor’s checkups, it wouldn’t be complete (okay, planning a wedding was pretty difficult, though there was a very clear light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel-type motivation).
The most brutal part, for me, is nostalgia.
Nostalgia is not a victimless sensation, especially as we age. It used to be easy: we could peer back into our subconscious, pick out a fond memory, and walk it around the block with a smile. Now, more and more those memories come with a pang.
The dog in the memory? Long gone. Childhood home? Converted into a parking garage. Happy family vacation? A creeping sensation that you’ll most likely never take a vacation with your immediate family all together, ever again. The trajectory of dread increases with age, as the subjects within the memories whither, and relational dynamics change completely.
This is a morbid thought. Yes, I’ll admit it. It might even be a symptom of a mild anxiety disorder and a slight resistance to change. Converting nostalgia—one of our Favorite Things—into a messy source of conflict? How dare I. This thought still carries validity, however, and a weight that can be hard to confront.
What’s the name of this blog again? That’s right, it’s Sunshine with Savannah.
I named chose that title for a reason. I chose it for many, actually: because I aim to be positive, because the sun recharges my batteries, because I want to make a radiant difference in people’s lives. And sometimes, that needs to happen without peppy, on-brand clichés and colorful platitudes.
Shared experiences are an effective and honest way to connect with others. Thus, your bleak and dark dose of relatable, seen-through-clouds sunshine.
It can hurt to look back at your life, and to feel a change of emotion in real time. You can be looking at an old photo one moment with a pleasant gleam, and then be overtaken by other, harsher realities—you’re not close with that person anymore, you haven’t seen that house in years, you might never do that activity again. These emotions and realizations are normal. I go through them too. Though they can at first be overwhelming, that urgency will not last.
And, by talking to someone (if not a friend or family member, perhaps a professional), you can confront those heavy feelings in a healthy way. Nostalgia shouldn’t be a difficult pressure, all the time. It doesn’t have to be.
It can be hard-hitting, but not often permanent. A perk, perhaps, of adulthood: it’s a constant cycle of “what’s next?”
Thanks for reading,