Over Christmas and New Year 2018 I found myself being bombarded with nostalgia. Although I do very much believe the turn of the new year is really just another day, it is inevitably an ending. Endings of any kind are always an opportunity for reflection on how you experienced the journey to the end. Throughout December I found myself reflecting on not only my 2018, but on the New Years of years past.
Nostalgia by definition is the sentimental feeling associated with a memory. For me I find nostalgia a weird sensation to experience. It’s sort of happy, sort of melancholy and is usually accompanied by a pang of longing for that place, person, time which is bitter sweet. As the year drew to a close my mind consistently wandered to times and places gone by and often without permission to do so. I returned to Goodison Park, the home of Everton Football Club and a ground that has provided me with hours of entertainment but often disappointment – we’ve historically been quite shit. I was 6 years old when I started watching live football with my Dad, I was 16 when I stopped attending regularly and I returned in November aged 26. I’ve seen the odd game here and there in between, but the feeling of walking up those concrete steps in a bobble hat and a massive coat to see the pitch and feel the atmosphere, the anticipation of the match ahead; ughhhh I LOVED it. It took me right back to being little and being surrounded by scousers eating chips and curry and singing songs, going mental when (if) we got one in and hearing loads of swear words and not knowing what they meant. It’s like you’re part of a collective who are all passionate about the same cause and it feels good. I’ll be filling my 2019 with as much footy as I can get in.
For my birthday I was bought a bottle of perfume that I wore religiously from year 9 onwards. It’s Lacoste Touch of Pink and I remember loving it. On my birthday I sprayed it generously and the smell transported me straight back to being 14. I remember wearing it to school and the decision was made for me to wear it forever more when the boy I fancied commented, “you smell nice scouser.” Well that was it, I was sold. I don’t remember when I stopped buying it but I know it was loved and used for years, long after the 14 year old crush had fizzled out. I recently wore it to work as a 26 year old woman and I swear it’s the most compliments I’ve had all year, so juvenile as it may be, it’s here to stay!
I’ve always loved live music but I had 2 particularly special gigs this year. For my birthday I went to see Jeff Lynne’s Electric Light Orchestra. My brother and I were the youngest audience members by about 30 years but it didn’t stop also being the loudest. I grew up on ELO both with my mum and my dad and have many fond memories of singing in the car. Later on I saw You Me at Six, a band that I have loved for over 10 years. The nostalgia feels were real with this one! They played their debut album in full which was originally released in 2008. I was still in school and it was hilarious to me that a decade later I was screaming back lyrics of teenage angst with just as much conviction as I did in my bedroom at 16. There was one moment during a particular song that I stopped and took stock of what was happening around me and I filmed it. Hundreds of other aged fans were around me singing at a point in which the band had stopped and let the crowd do the work. It was moving if I’m honest, and one of those moments where you stop and think yessss life is good. More live music is too on my 2019 to do list.
In the age of social media it’s nigh on impossible to forget about days gone by. Facebook has a ‘memories’ function which shows what you posted, who posted to you and who you made friends with on that day over the years. This can be hilarious, saddening, embarrassing and well, nostalgic. I must admit I do enjoy checking this daily, mainly because it’s funny to laugh at some of the crap I used to spout online, bad haircuts and youthful ignorance. But a lot of time although it makes me smile, it makes me sort of give a sigh and a “oww.” The one thing it has opened my eyes to is the frailty of human relationships. I don’t just mean romantically, but of any kind. Almost daily I’m presented with pictures, jokes, conversations and anecdotes of people who are no longer in my life. Some of these people once meant a great deal to me and I regarded them as my nearest and dearest. For some I am acutely aware of how this came to an end but for the majority, I’m really not sure what got in the way. I won’t name names on such a public forum but I could literally list and list names of people who were once prominent in my every day life who now I know nothing about. I’m never sure whether to revisit some loved and lost and say hello, or whether the past is best left in the past, who knows eh.
I suppose it’s fairly common for relationships to not survive the transitions that come with adolescent and early adult life and now, in my late twenties, there will be a plateau of more stability. Nevertheless, I still find it bizarre that at one point in time you can know somebody to the core; you know their likes/dislikes, their secrets, the intricacies of their personality, their favourite colour, if they’re okay day to day, and then you just…don’t.
In 2015 I met a guy from Australia who through fairly mental circumstances became a good friend of mine. He inspired me. He was a free spirit in the truest form and had a lust for life that I still envy. We knew his time in England was limited and towards the end I took him to Liverpool to a tiny pub on Aigburth Road that shared his last name. We chatted to the regulars, got a chippy, drove round talking and said goodbye at Liverpool Lime Street. It’s an odd feeling saying bye to somebody knowing that you’ll never see them again but there’s a comforting closure that is not found elsewhere. Rob – if by any chance you ever magically read this, I hope you’re doing well buddy.
In 2018 I said goodbye to some fairly important people. I also met lots of new people for who I’m very grateful and now can’t imagine not knowing. All this has taught me is to enjoy every moment of having the people around me that I do whilst they’re still there. On New Year’s Eve I looked back at my previous postings on facebook and for the past few I’d written a year in review. Over the last 3 I’d claimed to have the best year of my life and the worst but it really made me realise how quick it’s all going. My twenties have flown by and who knows, although hard to believe, one day I might just be nostalgic about right now.