• Ash Srinivas

The Thing About Winter Nostalgia




[ hey, siri, put on the winter nostalgia playlist. ]


It’s really just a whole lot of Taylor Swift, to be honest with you. But there are three main comings of winter (to us, really). There’s the arrival of December. Followed by Christmas. Followed by New Year’s, followed by life. That’s just the way it is: everyone I’ve ever admired has said it at least once before.


The thing about winter nostalgia is that it hits you like a slap across the face. Loud. Sudden. Hard. And every year, I end up at the same crossroads of train tracks, standing there for hours in the snow and waiting for the next train to pass by. Because here at this crossing, we have options.


Because now: it is December, and I am here. And in a few weeks, it will be New Year’s, and then while I’m waiting for “tomorrow” to come, months will pass. Suddenly it’s spring again, and tomorrow has become yesterday, and this is my life. It would now be spring, and I am still alive.


We call it seasonal depression, but I just think that the taught concept of “New Year” has given overthinkers like me an existential crisis while lounging around on the train tracks, throwing rocks, collecting sticks, loitering around in that way we’re told not to do but we do anyway.


And I ask my father, and he says that “that’s just life.”


New Year's resolutions were never made to be followed because there’s no use in trying to draw a map to a destination you’ve never been. Think of it like falling in love with a city you’ve never been to. It’s like wandering blind except you’re carrying expectations for yourself that you’re not sure you really want in the first place.


I think the Earth gives us winter so that we don’t all get so caught up in the art of living and whatever. Because as the days get shorter, the nights get longer, and we spend more time thinking about tomorrow. We’ll all be standing in the same place as the snow turns to rain and today becomes yesterday because these are our lives.


One thing people misunderstand is the idea that you constantly have to keep growing, keep moving, keep running, or else you’ll get left behind. Growth has never been constant. Growth has never been perfection either. During winter, I choose to live. Not to live, as in the art of living, but to live in the sense of watching people pass by and watching tomorrow become yesterday.


And the thing about seasonal depression is that there is no off switch, there is no making it go away. There is only sitting and thinking and feeling and choosing, and I’ll choose to live until the days grow longer again, and spring will come, and a few months later the temperature will rise and it’ll be summer and I will be eighteen years old and still alive.


The thing about winter nostalgia is that you’re forced to reflect on memories and relationships and watch back your experience on the movie screen in your head. And you’re thinking, thinking about the people that you miss, the people that you’ve lost, the people you’ve accidentally left behind. The people that left you, the mistakes you made and the ones that you didn’t, every regret you have and every regret you can’t fix, every life changing thing someone has said to you, and every word of the essay of the year. We are stuck in a room with our old fading reality as we wait for the new one to come in, wrapped in orange with “2022” written in blue on the front.


This reality is still ours, and we’ll wait for it at the deathbed as December 31st fades away to stars, and we’re told to start over. Well, I guess it’s not as much starting over as it is continuing on. To make more mistakes, to create new memories, to waste time chasing old ones.


I’ve made a bet with the train tracks. And I’ve won.


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[ winter nostalgia playlist ]


the 1 - taylor swift

your side of the bed - loote

july - noah cyrus

easy - troye sivan

cardigan - taylor swift

drive - oh wonder

let each other go - BRDGS

comfort crowd - conan gray

infinite - lyn lapid

ease - troye sivan

little talks - of monsters and men

save your goodbye - mike posner

when we were young - lost kings

strawberries and cigarettes - troye sivan

bags - clairo

wildest dreams - taylor swift

this city - sam fischer

people watching - conan gray

for him. - troye sivan

pretty little fears - 6LACK

best of me - john k

overgrown - oh wonder

is there somewhere - halsey

mikrokosmos - BTS

good years - ZAYN