Nostalgia: How long does it take to move on?

Yesterday I got to know that I have a chance to visit my school after 6 years. Having spent almost 15 years of my life in those buildings, I was pretty excited to visit it again and revisit the nostalgia. As a favour to one of our neighbours, I offered to visit the school for helping on some admission process as they have recently enrolled their toddler for primary class. Being an alumni, they considered me perfect for this chore since I was familiar with the buildings and classes.

Having entered the gate, I found the buildings more or less same but very well maintained. But when I started to  look for the classes, I found that many things have in fact changed. Many new buildings  have mushroomed up on the campus interconnected by shaded tunnels. The canteen which use to be a small tuck shop operated out of a window now had expanded and offered an assortment of food and stationery supplies. Many old buildings have been painted fresh and there were CCTV cameras installed at every corner.

New primary wing was built on the end of the playground that we shared with our neighbouring school. My initial half an hour was focused on finding the class and completing the chore that was given to me. It took me surprisingly short time and I was in and out within 10 minutes.

But on my way back, walking through the campus, I had a very different realisation then I expected. I was not overcome with nostalgia. There were no memories which were gushing back to my heart and making me not want to leave. Sure, I saw a few familiar faces when I saw group of teachers leave for the auditorium but I don’t think there was any chance they would have recognised me. I have changed drastically in last 6 years, and now that I think of it, it was not just physically.

No longer was I skinny, dusky, curly haired nerdy girl with face dotted with pimples and heart full of love for books. Not to toot my own horn but skin is now spot free and hydrated, thanks to countless visits to various dermatologists over the years. My hair are shiny and smooth given my regular hair care routine. The only thing that remains the same is my love for books and stories have only increased with time. So it was no surprise none of the teachers that had taught me over the years could not register any sign of recognition when they saw me. They walked right past me and I stood there, a pool of my own confused emotions.

Standing at the place where I had spend large part of my life learning, playing, laughing, making friends, losing friends, crying and learning life lessons I suddenly had to encounter a strange detachment I felt towards this place. And the question that immediately came to my mind was,

How much time does it take to overcome something which once was a significant part of your life?

Is this how it feels to move on?

Was I able to move on peacefully because I know this chapter of my life was over and I can never go back to school, even if I wanted to?

Can you associate with something in your past but it can no longer hold the power over you to hold you back?

I cherish the memories that this place gave me and how important it was in shaping my life. For if it was not, my life and my life choices would have made me a completely different person then I am today. Having acknowledged this I smile and thank as I watch towards the same familiar exit that I had used thousands of time before, only this time not looking back as I drove off home.

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