Memory's Fool

on 21 December 2009

You know the "good ol' days"?  You know why they're good, right?  It's because they're OLD.

I think a prerequisite to happy memories is the passage of time.  Something happens in our brains as time passes, the pain, the frustration, the exhaustion, the disillusionment, they all fade out of focus until they drop out of the picture all together and all that remains is the happy. 

Two years ago I went out to Seattle to see Whimsy with Child.  I hadn't been back since 2003.  We drove around, we shopped, we chatted.  And it was so happy.  I was happy.  Enough time had passed that the pain, the grief, the disappointment, the struggle had faded out of focus and everything that was left was polished by the patina of time.

I think not enough time has passed for that to happen with Athens yet.

I had a wonderful time with my women.  They are all of them amazing, and they have nurtured me in ways they can't even imagine.  But it wasn't all happy.   I drove around town with a keen sense of how hard it had been.  I could remember the tears, the frustration, the disgust, the struggle and the many, many sleepless nights.  All of the self-doubt, the insecurity and paranoia came flooding back. 

We stayed up late Thursday night talking and laughing and telling stories.  I had already put the Boy to bed, Sarah and Ginny's older kids were playing in the other room.  For a time it was like being back there in school.

And that night, I went to bed and I lay awake.  My head flooded with fear, what was I going to do?  What was I supposed to write?  I had wasted time!  I hadn't read any good books lately?  My mind was growing stagnant!  I was forgetting my languages!  I was out of touch, out of the loop, and in danger of becoming irrelevant!  I berated myself with shouldas and couldas and felt exactly like I had 6 years ago.

And as I drove south, I sighed.  Great big, heaping breaths of relief.

That's not my life anymore.  It was a good experience.  I love that I have a good education, but it's not my life anymore.  I have made my choice.  And as I climbed into Bed Sweet Bed with my Chris and my cats, I felt nothing but Peace that it is a good choice.


Swan said...

So sad I missed your visit, Melissa. We truly have to wittle away the good to make room for the best and most fulfilling things in life, don't we? A time and season for everything!

Bird said...

Its hard to not let a physical place remind of us the emotional place we were in then. Let your new home give you the solace and strength of knowing that despite a hard few years, you have moved on to a wonderful new chapter. Let the memories you make now remind you of the happy times you live in.

Erin P said...

Good post. You're lucky that you can see the past and more so that you can see the present for what it is. That's key to being happy, I believe.