Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a difficult time looking at old photos and home movies of my family. Instead of being filled with joy from images of love that surrounded me growing up, a heavy melancholy cloud attaches itself to my being.
Pictures of my mother as a child bring me to tears. A happy family portrait from my youth crushes me. I have the most loving and caring family anyone could hope for, so why am I unable to experience a fondness for memories of the past?
When I discovered Jason Silva’s video “Existential Bummer” a few years ago, it was as if a window into my soul was opened instantly. He eloquently states, “Love simultaneously fills us with melancholy. Sometimes I feel nostalgic over something I haven’t lost yet. Because I see its transience.”
The video resonated so deeply with me. It provided profound insight into why I had been feeling this way my entire life. I love my family with all of my heart and I’m afraid of the time when they are not on this earth anymore. It’s as if photos and videos are a glimpse into the future when I will experience loss that I can’t fathom.
I married the love of my life last year and our relationship carries the same mixture of true love and at times potent sorrow, because I know at some point we will leave each other in the physical form.
I wrote Old Photos with the hope of a personal catharsis; a way for me to release raw, built-up emotions and explain the conflicted nature of love that I have felt throughout my life.
Life is fleeting and we are small. Love your family and friends today as if they won’t be here tomorrow. As I grow older, I’m more present and understand this is a vital component to living a fulfilled life and fostering loving relationships. The sadness I feel for the impermanence of our time on earth will not go away. But ironically, these intense emotions also remind me of how fortunate I am to love and be loved so deeply.
* – 2015 post-release