Thursday, June 25, 2009

On Time: Everything changes, and yet so much stays the same.

I've been reflecting about time a lot lately. The spark for my development of this blog was perusing some of my old livejournal posts, and deciding that I didn't want to be "represented" on the internet, if you will, by that collection of emo ramblings. The journal was started during another time of transition for me, but while both then and now have in common the themes of self-discovery and self-definition, reading those posts is almost like reading the thoughts of a totally different person. The girl of those days was untried; she was reckless; she was self-destructive. She was unashamedly promiscuous, and a heavy drinker who rarely slept and even more rarely thought more than a few days ahead. This was the girl who killed her car by neglecting to put oil in it; who repeatedly failed entire semesters of college because she couldn't be bothered to go to class; who always yearned after unattainable (and totally unsuitable) men; who routinely bounced checks and ignored bills; who had to go to jail for playing the "maybe if I ignore it it'll go away" game with an underage consumption ticket.

I don't even know who that person is anymore. In those days, I thought I wanted to be a graphic designer, I was still carrying a torch, and I had no idea where my life was heading. If someone had told me then who I'd be about to move in with I'dve laughed in their face. Now I'm a good student, who may actually graduate some time in the next year with a degree in something I've always been fascinated by, moving in with someone I love with an intensity I didn't know was possible, who actually takes care of me and treats me not just well, but like I am something truly precious to him. I'm stable, I'm responsible, and I've begun building a life that I think I'll be proud to look back on. But it's a life that the girl of that livejournal would never have pictured.

Really, the truth is, it doesn't take traveling back even five years to spin my head in terms of time. This time last year, I'd just come back from Fibark, and was embarking on what would turn out to be a pretty intense summer for me. Lots of things about it were great - I spent a ton of time out hiking, and lots of time laying out by the pool. I was in the best shape I've been in in years, with a fabulous tan and a generally positive outlook. But I also made some stupid decisions, let myself get swept up in an incredibly unhealthy situation, and did a pretty good job of alienating everyone important in my life (though not permanently, thankfully). For a while there, I wasn't me; not only was I not me, I wasn't someone that I liked very much. And I'd probably be a lot more bitter about it, except that without the lessons I learned last summer, I wouldn't be who I am today. More importantly, I would never have let go of the fixation I had on unhealthy, unstable, unattainable men, and fallen in love.

The biggest change in my life is definitely Dan. Really, most of the change in my life (new man, new apartment, new outlook) is centered around him, and our relationship, our commitment to each other. It started out totally unexpectedly, but I really couldn't be happier. We've gotten so serious so quickly, and it's incredibly scary, especially for a confirmed commitment-phobe like me, but I've never felt so sure about anything in my life. And if I hadn't gone through what I went through last summer, if I hadn't spent so much time hanging out with Dan, talking to him, crying on his shoulder, getting closer to him than I ever had been before, if those steps hadn't been taken then we may not have ever wound up together, and that would have been tragic. And so while I don't relish the memory of all of the emotional turmoil, confusion, and pain that I went through, I can't be bitter.

Something else that got me reflecting about time happened to me this week. Dan and I spent the afternoon and evening in the hospital with Elly and Branden a few days ago. Even though as emergency surgeries go, an appendectomy is fairly routine, it was still pretty scary to go through. But it's times of crisis like that that really bring home how lucky we are as a group of friends. I mean, sure, we're always bringing in new blood, but it's rare to have such a close group of friends that lasts over such an incredible span of time. Dan, Elly, and Branden know me as well or better than even my own family (which is saying something, because I'm pretty close to the fam, too). We've been through so much together. So when something awful happens, it's a little less scary because we have this incredible support system. If we can get through what we've all already gone through together, we can face anything. It's easy to forget how blessed we are to have each other during the day-to-day minutia of our lives, but we truly are.

More than a decade ago, when Branden and I first became friends, when through him I met Dan and Elly (and Fletch and Christina and others who aren't around so much any more), when through me he met Sarah, and the core of our group was formed, we all figured we'd be friends forever, just like any group of friends does at that age. What's truly incredible is that we were right. We've grown up, we've changed, our lives have taken turns that none of us would ever have predicted in a million years, we've fought and reconciled and moved away and come back and now as we are all taking the steps into real adulthood we're closer than ever.

I think that's pretty cool.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this picture! What a flashback! I recently dug up some pictures from freshman year (which I don't think Elly would appreciate, so I'm not going to post them) but man, what a trip. We really are lucky to have friends who've been there for so long. :) Great post.