|Motu swimming in the channel|
during younger days
- a long drive five hours from our home
- scheduling (the condo was sometimes rented when we wanted to visit)
- work (we like to visit mid-week which requires using vacation days).
We have all gotten older and in the ten years we have been visiting the condo things have changed a lot. We used to order lamb and double cut pork chops from the restaurant we visited, but six years ago due to gallstones I overhauled my diet and eliminated dairy and nearly all meat. Now we order fish grilled plain and without the cream sauce and ahi salads with dressing on the side. Our dog is too old to chase the ball that we used to throw into the river with a "chuck it" and must take the elevator instead of the stairs when I take her out to go to the bathroom. She sleeps most of the day. We went the entire week without television or renting DVDs and instead watched Crackle or Netflix streamed onto our laptops. We spent a couple mornings hiking in the desert enjoying nature instead of lifting weights or running on treadmills at the gym.
And though it was a relief once the sale closed and the condo was cleaned and empty, I found myself being nostalgic about the times we spent there and the rituals we developed. The smallest covered bowls that I packed away reminded me of all the guacamole I had made over the years and packed into a cooler to take out on the boat we rented. We ate dinner at the same restaurant our first night at the condo, brought enough coffee, cereal, and fruit for the first day's breakfast and then went grocery shopping at the local Safeway after a leisurely sipping coffee on the patio enjoying the warm, dry air in the morning. The snowbirds who rented the condo during the summer left odds and ends--a pair of crystal glasses for sipping whiskey, small floral vases, and a large cooler with their name on it.
I haven't had much use for nostalgia in the past and was always more focused on what was ahead of me than what I had left behind. But this time something felt different. I enjoyed reminiscing with my husband about buying king crab legs to cook on the barbeque and driving to Hasting to rent a couple of DVDs. According to psychologists couples feel closer when they're sharing nostalgic memories. Nostalgia also has been shown to counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety and make people more generous to strangers and more tolerant of outsiders.
This exercise in nostalgia has motivated me to look forward to building new memories. It reminds me to take pleasures in everyday living and enjoy my family, friends, and my dog as they are now. It also taught me that my photostream is a reliable catalog of memories that reminds me how quickly time passes. I look at photos that seem as though they were taken last summer but are actually two years old, a further reminder to do things now instead of waiting for a better time.