this morning i had to sort through some boxes of cards and photos to locate a baby pic or two to take with me to a shower i'm attending today. and as i was sifting through all these treasures, i found some cards from my grandparents, notes from old friends, and the hundreds of things my best friend has written me over the years. and i couldn't help but feel overwhelmed with the love contained inside those cardboard structures. i was also reminded, unfortunately, of how much i've lost...of how some of those people whose handwriting graces birthday cards or whose faces smile in pictures are no longer in this world. my grandpa al, my grandma jane, my friend polly...i shed tears for them all this morning.
and then there are people with whom i've sort of lost touch. i mean, i know where in the world they are, but our lives have taken different paths. this is the case, really, with a number of friends whose memories line those boxes. and the whole experience had me thinking....can you ever really go back?
i've made efforts over time to keep in touch with various people—and really, facebook has helped me to reconnect with a lot of people from my younger days—but the daily grind kicks back in so quickly and it's really, really hard to sustain those connections beyond something utterly superficial. and in truth, i think we're not really meant to turn around. life is lived in forward motion. if one chooses to interact with people from the past, it has to be about who they are NOW, not who they were then. and what i've learned is that some of us have never really grown up much. i see the faces of people who are still clinging to their teenage selves, still drinking like they're in college, still trying to avoid their own realities. and as much as i get that, on some level, i just can't be there.
no, see, i'm done pretending the way that 18-year-old me used to feel she had to do in order to get by. i'm done living in a big game of charades and comedy sketches, and 'what would you really think of me if you knew what i was thinking'-type scenarios. i prefer to look you in the eye and just be me, unabashed. and the me that i am now might not be super palatable to some people who've called me 'friend' over the years. i mean, sure, i haven't turned into a jerk or anything, but i've also come to this place where i no longer feel the need to live up to others' expectations. and some of my more zealous ways have been tempered into something a bit more...well....reasonable for me and where i live my life these days.
so while it's lovely and heartwarming (and, at times, sad) to sift through what i was and where i went and who i was with, i want to see what today will bring...what memories there are to be made in THIS space, at THIS time, with the beautiful people around me. and i welcome tomorrow with open arms and the hope that my future 'looking backs' will find much sweetness and very little sorrow. for now, though, head up, eyes open. onward....