Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Nostalgia: What It Means To "Start Over"

We all want a fresh start. A clean slate. Tabula Rasa. Recently, I watched a movie titled "Another Earth" about a high school senior who drastically changes the life of a stranger when she hits him and his family while drunk driving. That same night, scientists and researchers discovered the existence of a parallel universe residing on what they call, Earth Two. The movie discusses what it means to be human and what it means to have a choice. If we're offered a chance to change the past, a chance to fix our mistakes, would we take it?

I've been thinking a lot about choice and change since I've come home. Revisiting old stores and restaurants has given me a bout of nostalgia that I cannot seem to erase; even the smells of candle wax and old pine have become associated with home. This is where I grew up. This is my past, and I am more fundamentally connected to it than I am able to comprehend.

(Photos taken in Walnut Creek)

Often times throughout the semester, I'll hear one of my professors mention that because we're now college students, we have the ability to be anyone we want. We have the choice to decide what it means to define ourselves. What I want to know is which is better? What exactly does it mean to "start over"? Is it better to completely switch our identities, from changing our names to changing our ideals, and face the world as a new human being? Or is it better to live with our mistakes? To face the world not as a new person, but as a changed person. Is "starting over" the same as acknowledging our pasts and our roots yet consciously choosing to live a better life? I've never really been a fan of New Year's Resolutions, maybe for the simplest of reasons: lists are not my thing and I never seem to remember what I've decided to change that year about my way of life. Or maybe because of a more innate reason, that what I hope for at the deepest level is to be a better person without losing myself along the way. I constantly strive for this particular goal. Whether it is 2014, 2015 or 2016, I know that as a living human being, I'm blessed with the choice to open my eyes every morning. To use my mind to its fullest extent. I have the choice to be more aware, more kind, more knowledgeable and to continue living what we call "a moral life".