How I Use Nostalgia As A Tool To Measure My Growth

Disclaimer: Feelings are involved

Natasha Anwar
4 min readSep 11, 2020
Photo by Iman soleimany zadeh on Unsplash


A wandering mind can take you where a focused mind won’t

Slightly cold, with a heavy heart, and a feeling of grounding and defeat, I felt a pain I hadn’t felt in about four years. It wasn’t as strong as it used to be but it was vivid enough to send me back in time. I sat on the yoga mat listening to Gregory Alan Isakov’s “Amsterdam” on Spotify. I wondered if this is what healing is supposed to feel like: soft, dulling pain that’s building distance with time.


The only way to stop drowning is to swim

As I lost myself in the sweet crooning voice of Gregory Alan Isakov, I was reminded of all the times I felt this way about the voices of other men.

The way my heart would yearn to belong to them.

The way my mind would circle the idea of knowing all of their thoughts.

I thought about how four years ago I broke my own heart and let him go because my gut told me this was for the best. And how it still comes back in aches every now and then, a reminder of what it was, what I went through.

I made my choice and I stand by it. For the sake of myself.

And every time I ask myself if I would have changed my mind, my heart screams:



Seek to listen if you seek to learn

Knowing that I will never do it differently felt powerful.

Something that was so out of place yet so grounding.

The fact that I decided my future serves as a reminder that my life was lived, my time was spent, and not wasted waiting.

I made the waves I wanted to swim in.

And yet, it’s inevitable that some days a song, a smell, a sound will transport me back to a pivotal moment. Some moments will ring with laughter, and some will put Niagara to shame.

But the moments I cherish the most are when my heart had said:


In a minute I became my own guardian. I felt the wind beneath my wings as I propelled myself out of a continuous emotional spiral. At that very moment, I realized I had so much love to give and the hurt came from not being able to share it with anyone else.

That’s when it hit me:

This love is mine.

This love is MINE.

I can give it to whoever I want. Whoever needs it the most. And you best believe I need it the most, a lot of the time.

I wanted this love. I wanted my love.

I wanted to feel embraced in velvety soft protection.

I wanted to hold myself in my own arms and tell myself that it’ll be alright. That it has always been alright when I’ve been around. I’ve always taken care of things and it was time I took care of myself.

It was time to feel at home with all the sweetly knitted socks of love-glue I hand out to cure others’ brokenness while my feet were frigid in the middle of December.

I could be the sand in my own toes, feel the way the waves do when they wash over your feet and engulf you, lapping around your ankles, spraying your knees with a gentle mist.

Seeing the way I stood up to my emotional spiral, I realized I was finally ready to take control of my feelings.


If your heart is a country that stood for its freedom, then its scars are landmarks that tell your story

In the last four years, friends were lost, lovers were gone and I was left with nothing but the remains of my love intended for sharing. A love that cried cold tears, afraid that it will never be spent on a worthy receiver.

All until I was ready to see myself as a worthy recipient.

And now that I see it, there is no going back.

Through my moments of reflection, I have come to believe that at the end of the day, you live longest with yourself.

If you were told you would live with your car for the rest of your life, wouldn’t you think of keeping the peace between both of you? To keep the peace, you will need to take the time and understand your cat’s language.

In that regard, maybe you should take the time to learn your language.

Imagine being the best friend to yourself that you are to others. Imagine appreciating your own words the way you wish someone else did. You could quite literally be your own best friend, always there to hear yourself out in times of trouble.

Wouldn’t it be nice to always have someone on your side? Wouldn’t it be even better if they stayed with you for the rest of your life?



Natasha Anwar

I write about experiences. Fluent in feelings, tech, and existentialism.