Love and Other Problems: Fading Nostalgia

previous next

Fading Nostalgia

After walking away from home to travel to an unfamiliar, towering city, I wanted to figure out what to do, what I wanted, what type of love I wanted. While I did try to brush old dust off my hands, put ‘figuring things out’ in a casket and let life take me wherever it wanted, I’ve realized that while I met someone new everyday, I never had a connection with someone that made us more than casual friends. My life became full of friends you see occasionally, friends you’d grab a coffee with but it would be too much to get serious, to vent about trivial things, to share your fears because, well, now everyone’s uncomfortable. These friends were like holding a lit firecracker between my teeth; fun, explosive, painful and with me for a minute. 

After watching another blank smile, another the-one-that-‘walked’-away, an age old story, the sound of cold footsteps becoming fainter and fainter was a rhythm I became all too familiar with. So I thought about the most intense form of love I could experience; romantic. I’d had three relationships in the past, three very different ideals and experiences, three different lessons learnt—and I came out of them with three different understandings of what type of love I wanted. 

The first was foolish and exciting. I never wanted to think about the relationship too seriously and never thought about why I didn’t want that—this love had fumbled somewhere, I didn’t know its purpose anymore and so it was an inevitable end. The second was a blazing meteor and maybe my karma for the nonchalant mess of the first—it was a crash-and-burn-and-run scene, a rehearsed speech and anger and pettiness, a gaslighting, nauseating mess; in hindsight it was for the best that it ended. The third was less intense and exciting than the others, it was healthy and good and pretty, it was comfortable, but we had no chemistry. The contrast between the previous excitement and current calm became boring and my words had lost their meaning somewhere between my heart and mouth. There was no point in lying to myself and forcing it, so I ended it. We did stay friends, but then I changed and he changed and we didn’t get along anymore. 

These feelings and experiences molded what I looked for in others — I knew more about myself as a person and what I wanted out of people, not just partners but also friends. Some of these attributes seemed obvious, but I apparently needed them slapped across my face to see clearly. Looking back at every lesson I’ve learnt and every moment that was spent learning loudly through tears or screaming or quietly through silences and overthinking (all silly things now and I skirt from recalling them too often before unpleasant memories can fully form, before they can bite) I comprehended a large reason as to why it was becoming so hard to grow close to someone in college: fear. I comprehended this through a fourth almost-relationship that I had. He was perfect, with a pretty eye-smile and was sweet and funny, but I was scared of timing and life (it didn’t seem like the right time, being so new to the city, but when I got that there was no ‘right time’, it was too late), so I rejected him and it was something I ended up regretting. Fear took this from me and gave in return a lot of mediocre could-have and would-haves. 

I made mistakes and I learnt, people made mistakes and I learnt too. Love in college was harder than I expected (where my expectation was borne from books and other fiction). I wanted the same things as these rose-tinted fantasies but it hasn’t been easy. I don’t have a storybook arc, I don’t face a challenge to come out ‘stronger’ or anything remotely similar, love and life in reality doesn’t like to be so straightforward.

out with my friends for our last new year together!

I did not think of these challenges when I started classes at NYU, and then I made the aforementioned mistake of just ‘watching, not trying’. I did like people, people I saw across the room, people who were in my classes, pretty, smart, gorgeous and fun people. I talked to them too, I got to know them superficially but that was it. I talked to them when I had an excuse, but that was also how I talked to any new friends I had made…and they all stayed like that: friends. This wasn’t a terrible life-ending situation to be in, but it got exhausting when everything seemed to be going well and then there was a halt, a stagnant sort of space where nothing became of our talking or closeness. Then we fell out of touch.

That was when I thought back to just a year ago, how all of my experiences had shaped who or what I wanted. There’s a lot of people who think everything that happened in high school was supposed to stay there, but I disagree. I liked who I was in high school because it shaped what I want today, and everything that I had experienced wasn’t as irrelevant as people made it out to be. In the excitement of moving from one stage of my life to another, it was really easy to forget what I had figured out from my time there, and easier even to claim a fresh start instead. That didn’t help me, it just set me back.

This comprehension came later though, a semester-into-my-freshman-year later. There was a lot I sat through in that first semester which made me think back to high school, and ultimately the contemplation shaped me into a person better prepared for the rest of the years I had left in university and even after. It made me learn how to tackle love and friendships in a way that would result in the outcome I wanted, an outcome that would leave me happier for it.

dinner with new friends in the city!

While attempting to talk to people there were a lot of restaurants I visited with different people, I used to visit Bareburger with a coupon that I found really helped override the costs that came with eating out so often! Take the opportunity and grab this coupon for Bareburger for a great lunch with your friends too!

By Mahrukh Shaikh

Mahrukh Shaikh is a student at New York University studying Business and Finance with a Marketing concentration. She has been writing and creating literature for years and is fond of various artistic mediums and social issues.

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services. At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.


Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.