Archive for the ‘reflecting on the past’ Tag
A lot can happen in ten years. For some people, they can fall in love… become engaged… get married… and have a baby. For others, they may study abroad and only come back to The States every other Christmas. Then there are those who enroll law school or med school and lose track of time (and their social life)altogether.
But for me, the past ten years since I graduated high school have, in essence, taken me away from everything I knew during the first 18 years of my life. (Interesting enough, I say this as I prepare to embark on a roadtrip back to Pittsburgh with Cubby, my boyfriend.) However, ever since I made the decision to plan my 10-year high school reunion this week, high school doesn’t seem that long ago… until I think about everything that has changed since my teenage year.
I don’t talk much about my high school days, and really haven’t done so since I left “The Bubble” (which is what we all used to call our hometown) officially before my sophomore year of college. In essence, so many things have happened since then, and I’ve grown so much, that they really are simply part of past now. They include some good memories, as well as some bad ones. But most importantly, as I reflect upon that time in my life, I have no regrets. Now I’ll be honest and admit that wasn’t always the case; however, ten years later, I’ve finally let it all go.
Tonight, for the first time in at least a year, I got off my Brown Line stop and headed down Diversey to the apartment at roughly a decent hour for a weekday night. (Around 6 pm, I believe.) Actually, after getting off the train and heading home- with a detour through Trader Joe’s first- I wondered,Wait, did I make this whole spring break thing up and should really be in class right now? Yes, unfortunately that’s the truth. It sounds like this spring break arrived at the perfect time.
Anyways, as the evening sky darkened, I found myself experiencing some sort of the deja vu. Soon I found myself recalling all of those previous walks home from the train stop that accompanied my relocation to Chicago more than three years ago. As some know, back in the beginning no one- including me- thought that I would make it through the year without moving back to Columbus. However, here I am nearly 3.5 years later, and all I can think about is how much has changed.
For goodness sake, this past year has been an array of changes in itself. From leaving the job that brought here to beginning a full-time grad school program for Child Life, my daily life has kept me on my toes and clinging to any chance of a social life that I could grasp. To tell you the truth, my social life hasn’t been too adventurous lately; however, overall this past year has allotted a fair share of OMG moments. And the wrap-up of this past year couldn’t go without mentioning the boys that somehow found their way into my life. Yeah, some of those situations should more appropriately be classified as WTF moments. However, even thought I had some luck in the guy department this past year, I can stress that there is neither a ring on my finger nor a bun in the oven. Heck, there isn’t even an “It’s complicated” status for this girl anymore.
But then again, while this year has been somewhat adventurous, it also hasn’t been easy. Along with all the changes, I found myself struggling at different points of the year. (Oh well, enough about that.)
As I lay in my bed, ready to fall asleep at the time that I typically arrive home from class, I find myself reflecting back on my time in Chicago and all of the obstacles that I’ve fought to overcome. Wow. It’s really been a wild ride these past 3.5 years, hasn’t it? And to tell you the truth, when I think about every single challenge that I faced, I also remember the friends- either in or outside of Chicago- that helped me adapt to this new life.
While I’m not entirely sure if I’ve reached the point where I truly see Chicago as “home”, I will say that tonight’s walk home allowed me to see just how much of a life I have made for myself here. I guess it’s best to end this post by saying, “I’m glad I came to Chicago in the first place.”
Song of the Moment: Glad You Came by The Wanted
In a matter of seconds, I went from a Chicago-living 27-year-old to my former 12-year old self by simply seeing a “Frozen Lemonade” sign in the window this morning. Before I knew it I was lost in memories of those summer days spent at my brother’s baseball tournaments and all those Aunt Thelma’s Old-Fashioned Lemonades that helped me beat the heat. Besides supporting my brother, I soon found myself noticing those cute boys in ball caps more and more. Boys: Our sweetest downfall.
Those days were fifteen years ago, yet I still remember how innocent things used to be. Actually, if my memory serves me correctly, that was one of the last summers- if not the last summer– of innocence for me. Shortly after that summer I had my first ‘real’ boyfriend and first kiss- soon to be followed by another boyfriend and another round of kisses. But as sweet as those days proved, the Terrible Thirteens also introduced the terms Frenemies, Pettiness, and Jealousy. Yep, the Age of Innocence was definitely over for me!
As I walked in my office and reality set in, I couldn’t shake this thought: Am I really that same girl? And if so, how did that teenager eventually become…well…me?
I’m heading home (Pittsburgh, PA) this weekend for some time with my family. To be honest, right now I’m hoping that those four days can be filled with some innocent fun and family therapy. And maybe, just maybe, I am hoping to connect with my former self a little bit more. Having only lived in Pittsburgh for a year and a handful of summers since college, I feel very disconnected to the girl who once only knew the world inside the Hampton Bubble. So much has changed since then. I’ve changed so much since then.
For instance, I associate more with being an Ohio girl than being born & raised in Pittsburgh. Not to mention, those crushes on baseball players are certainly a thing of the past as I’ve been categorized as having a ‘soccer player type’ for at least the last 8 years. Still, the memories catch me off guard every now and then to remind me where I came from.
Even as an innocent and happy pre-teen, had dreams about leaving everything I knew and adventuring off to the unknown world. I was always fascinated by the big city lights and meeting new people. Quite simply, I guess I always felt like there was more out there for me. I always knew the day would come when I’d say ‘goodbye’ and try to find a new place to call home.
But sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I didn’t have that itch; or if I didn’t have the courage to pursue those dreams. Or what if I would have fallen madly in love with one of those boys in ball caps from my hometown? What if I never had the opportunity to crush on those soccer boys? Would I have kept my innocence? And more importantly, would I have been happy?
Sometimes I find myself a little lost in this big city and get to wondering if there’s somewhere else I’d be more fitted for. Truth be told, I don’t think it’s Pittsburgh. (I really don’t.) But I really do value my past and truly believe that it provided me the challenges that I needed to face. I’d love to have an innocent heart again, but then again I don’t know if I would really change it for everything I’ve been able to experience thus far. Nor would I give up those irresistible soccer players that seem to always find a way into my life. Do you hear that, Mr. Beckham?
Ralph Waldo Emerson once told me, “We are always getting ready to live but never living.” And D.H. Lawrence followed by whispering in my ear, “The living moment is everything.” But despite agreeing with these great words of wisdom, I still find myself failing to follow their sage advice. To be fair, I haven’t been following anyone’s advice much these days- not even my own.
“Life life in such a way that if a photograph were taken at random, it would be a cool photograph.” I love this line so much and see such truth and inspiration in it. But that being said, I must be honest and admit that I’ve been slacking on my living these days too. Okay, maybe that’s only partly true. While half of the photos would reveal my shenanigans & adventures with friends, the other stack would show me staring off into the distance in thought or napping in the sunshine on my rooftop deck.
If you must know, I’m finding myself in an unwarranted summertime funk. Instead of living in ‘The Now’, memories of the past and daydreams of future anticipations are consuming my mind and lack of action these days. Again, that’s not entirely true but enough to make me want to do something to change it. I need to make a change. (And I definitely need to start working out again.)
While I’ve been known to be someone who tends to hold onto the past, these days I’m more focused on the future. However, after running into my best friend from elementary school unexpectedly a few weekends ago, I think my mind’s been skipping down memory a bit. Lately I’ve been reflecting more on how I’ve gotten to where I am and how it’s leading me towards where I’m going.
For those of you who I may not know, a few things have happened to me over the course of the past couple of months. Most importantly, I decided to follow my passion and career aspirations and enroll in a graduate program here in Chicago. In addition, I chose to continue working my full-time job as well. So yeah, with my first day of class on August 29th I am anxiously awaiting- somewhat nervously- to see how I’m going to make this all work. I think ‘balance’ is the word I’m looking to use here, although the term ‘trying not to stress too much’ seems more suitable. I just cannot help from wishing that it would start already so I could stop wondering how it’s gonna be.
And I guess it’s fitting to add that my typically lacking love life is absent this summer as well. Unfortunately there are no scandalous photos of yours truly floating around the Chicago tabloids. Sure I had a good run going for a while, but most recently it’s been lackluster. Although an epiphany yesterday has made me question whether or not that’s really true. While that tidbit of information remains confidential, let’s just say it is another reason why I’m longing for what could be.
Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, “Never leave that til tomorrow which can be done today.” I just hope that I can finally take this advice and turn my summer around.
Song of the Moment: How to Love covered by Megan Nicole