I was just thinking the other day about how rarely I think about the past these days and the same theme of how for me, the right love has been the most uncomplicated love, with nothing to pick apart for hours on end.
Yes, I can introspect about my own lack of introspecting. What can I say, it’s a gift. But today I finally got around to sorting through junk to take to Goodwill and consignment stores, in a long overdue mission to simplify and de-clutter and only take the essentials with me into the new place. I’ve forced myself to be more ruthless in determining which talismans of the past are worth keeping. I love Foodlife, but do I really need a commemorative napkin? I will be back there again. Seriously, I keep everything. As I opened up plastic bins of old clothes, the ghosts of the past me came swirling out. Sorting through vestiges of the younger, thinner me, with flashback whooshes, I remembered the most significant times associated with each piece of clothing - dates, concerts, parties, holidays and Renaissance fairs, and all sorts of events I haven’t thought about in a long time. When I first got to grad school I used to reminisce about college all the time, not just how much fun I had, but also how much I felt like I grew up and changed for the better. But it’s just a case of anchoring and adjusting. College had a much fonder place in my heart than high school. And now, the further away I get from college, the more I appreciate my life now and realize that as much as I thought I grew up in college, I have even more so during grad school.
I moved away from home, became independent, and built a much more stable life than the one I had in college. College was an emotional rollercoaster, I was either really happy or really down. I don't miss that.
Just as the concerns and issues I dealt with in college seemed so much more important and real than high school angst, even though I’m still in school, I feel much more in touch with the real world than I did in college. I can clearly see all the ways I was such a stupid young thing, in all the normal ways that youth are stupid. I know better now and everything feels more genuine and substantial – relationships, friendships, the chaff has been sorted from the wheat. So I’ll smile at how much fun I had in that sexy little black dress and that skirt with slits up to here and have mixed feelings about how tiny some of these clothes are (I used to be pretty bony, right up until grad school, which quickly took care of that. I don’t necessarily miss being that skinny, but I don’t think anyone enjoys seeing clothes they can hardly remember being able to fit into), but then they’ll get thrown in a box and taken to the store as I clear away the past to make more room for the future.