Playlist: Sentimental, or Ironically Circular, or Maybe Both

by kattiewampus

Do you ever have moments where your life feels ironically circular? Not so much in the sense of history repeating itself, but more like doing the same thing you did before but for completely different reasons?

I guess I’m just feeling sentimental this morning. Right now, I’m listening to a playlist that I listened to all the time last fall. At that time, I listened to it because it reminded me of home. I was working from my apartment, which was wonderful and awful all at once. I loved having the apartment to myself after all of my roommates had left for work, even though I hated being by myself all day every day for the majority of the week. I would bring my laptop downstairs to the kitchen and make breakfast. Then, I would sit at my kitchen table and work. I would let this playlist run on repeat because it made for good background music. And in that incredibly peculiar way of nostalgia, it would make me feel happy and sad all at once. I guess it made me feel closer to home and slightly mitigated the bitterness of missing yet another autumn in the Bay Area.

But now I’m listening to that same playlist because it reminds me of last fall. I’m sitting here at my kitchen table with a cup of coffee and a candle burning, and no one else is home. In the quiet emptiness of my house, it is just me and Corelli’s “Adagio,” (Concerto Grosso Op. 6 No. 8 In G Minor) and the remembrance of when I used to have mornings like this in my apartment kitchen. And the irony is that now I am here at home listening to this music because I miss those mornings, when so many of those mornings were spent listening to this music because I missed being here at home. Yes, I am aware that I suffer from a “Grass is Greener” complex. But right now I’d just prefer to think of it as ironically circular.

Last night, my roommate took me out for my birthday. Right now, she is apartment hunting with her fiance. Listening to her talk about the pros and cons of the different apartments they had applied for reminded me of May a year ago, when she and I were searching for apartments. We started reminiscing about the different places we’ve lived together over the past three years and I was waxing eloquent about how much I loved our last apartment. And as we talked, I acknowledged the reality that we would never be able to go back to it. Living in that apartment for a year was a wonderful experience and it was also a complete experience. That time in our lives had ended. There would be no returning to the apartment, to the way things were. No matter how much I loved it or missed it, that time had passed, along with all of its accompanying memories. But no matter how many times I try to talk myself through that reality, something inside me stubbornly refuses to accept it.

So, I end up sitting in my kitchen by myself, trying to re-create an ambience that will allow me to reflect a little longer on the things I wish I had appreciated more when I had the chance, and wondering: at the heart of it all, what exactly is it that I miss? Whether I’m missing home or missing my SoCal life, what is it that I am really longing for?