the way way back

Blasts from the past.  There really is now way of avoiding it when you meet up with old friends, which is what I did the other day.  Names came up that I haven’t thought about in years.  Old roommates, apartments, past relationships and jobs – you name it, we talked about it.  It seemed like lifetimes ago.  Perhaps on a different planet and a girl who just looked like me.  That’s what it feels like.  There was so much that happened, so much I had forgotten.   It wasn’t intentional but as the saying goes, ‘the world keeps on turning.’  Everything came rushing back with vibrancy and clarity as if I had grabbed an old book off the shelf, a smile smeared across my face, and dove into the past.  Nostalgia can be a little minx.

So much that meant the world to me at the time has become an overlooked shadow in the museum that is my life.  I think about my life like that all the time – not because I think my life is worth preserving and should be archived, admired or sought out by ANY means – god no, who cares? –  but just symbolically I think it’s an interesting way to look at the past.  What are the highlights, the moments that define you?  What would your blooper reel look like?  What would your plaque say?  What picture would they use?  How would they engrave your tombstone?  I told you my mind is a lunatic, this is just what goes on up there.  She can’t be trusted.

You can run from your past all you want.  You can pretend it never happened or deny its existence all together but it will always be within you.  Your journey into this moment tells a story that is all yours.  When I bought a one-way ticket to Los Angeles back in 2010, it was extremely bittersweet.  I had lived in Chicago for five years.  Sports aside, I love that city real hard.  I called it home.  If I could pick it up and move it to the west coast, I would.  Some of my favorite memories are there and while leaving was hard, it would’ve been harder to stay stuck where I didn’t belong.  I got this feeling that I had to go – this longing for change and a need to escape.  The wanderlust is strong with this one.  I worry everyday I’m going to wake up feeling that way again.  Feelings are also very minxy.

It’s crazy to me that we have all of these memories in a closet that we can access when we want to and yet, I rarely do.  Not necessarily because it’s painful or because I don’t want to but just that I’ve moved on.  I’m not that person anymore.  I am proud to say I was offered to facebook stalk an ex and politely declined.  I know, I even surprised myself.  It’s not that I don’t care or wish him all the happiness in the world, but we are just strangers with the same memories and our lives have nothing to do with one another any longer.  I wouldn’t want him creeping on my life.  I mean, knock yourself out if you really want to – all you’ll find is a lot of booze and nonsense.  I think some things in life are meant to be memories.  Some things don’t last forever and that’s not always the easiest thing to wrap your mind around.

At one point in the conversation we started talking about ‘the one who got away.’  When all eyes turned to me I was speechless.  I can honestly say I don’t feel that way about anyone.  If they were the one, they wouldn’t have gotten away.  I truly believe that.  If there are any relationships that I have regrets about or feel holes in my heart about it’s the fallouts I’ve had with friends.  Those are the ones that got away, those are the ones I still feel from time to time.  I haven’t found my person yet, or if I have, I have no idea who he is.  Whoever you are, SURRENDER!  I’m kidding (but seriously get out here with your arms up cause this has become a game of hide n’ seek I’ve very much lost interest in…no offense).  My point being that because of this, my friendships and my family are the most important relationships I have in my life- those are the keepers.  Those are the people that have been by my side through every single bump and turn.  Those are my ride or dies.  Those are the people who have kept me afloat when I’ve lost the strength to swim.  Those are the loves of my life.

It’s unreal how I feel like there’s not enough time in the day and yet I look back over the years and so much has changed.  They say never look back and I have to ask:  why not?  I think it’s more than okay to look back at where you’ve been every once in awhile to appreciate where you are now.  To see what you’ve overcome.  Someone asked me if I was going to take down the pictures of me and my ex on my social media and I haven’t.  I don’t plan to.  It happened and it was very real for a moment in time.  I can’t delete that.  It’s a part of my story and in order to move forward we have to embrace where we’ve been.  I’m not saying squeeze it to death but to acknowledge where you’ve come from and be okay with it.  All of it.  The good, the bad, the sad, the ugly, the funny, the works.  We are not one memory.  We are a collage of moments, a symphony of emotions and a roller-coaster road of pit-stops.  Memory lane is fun, but I don’t worry about where I’ve been so much anymore…I’m more interested in where I’m going.  Full speed ahead.

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