Every Day is Saturday

Finding Joy in the Here and Now

Memory Vision

Catawba Ad Bldg 2013

I go back to my college Homecoming every year. I go because I want to see people I only get to see during that weekend, and to re-connect to the person I was during my years there – young, passionate, naïve maybe. But hopeful. Blissfully ignorant of the daily grind of adulthood.  I liked her, and I like to hang out with her once a year. But I’ve said all that before.

What struck me on this visit had more to do with the way my memories of those years come alive for me when I’m on campus. The school has outwardly changed very little in the almost 30 years since I graduated, so picturing my younger self in that setting is incredibly easy. When I’m away from there I of course can remember what the buildings look like and how they are situated, but when I’m there it’s like I’ve stepped inside my memory. The administration building, my dorm, the theatre – they all exist both then and now simultaneously. I spent a lot of time walking around campus with various people on this trip, and I kept seeing myself everywhere I looked.

This ditty is the best way I can describe it:

Memory Vision

I see with two sets of eyes.

They see both then and now.

 

I walk down a sidewalk today, and I see my 20-year-old self

Almost dancing down the same sidewalk, dressed up like a Gypsy,

With my friends, a band of Gypsies,

Going to the Banquet.

 

I look at the old building and I see me, bursting through the door,

Rushing to class, my books in my arms,

The chapel bell tolling out the seconds

Of my lateness.

 

You and I walk into the place I lived, my dorm,

And I see us, sitting on the couch in the lobby,

Talking, teasing, testing –

Where would this go?

 

We didn’t know, because we couldn’t see us,

who we are now, our older selves with our gray hair,

Standing and staring

At where we used to be

And still are,

And will always.

 

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Happy Birthday

birthday candles

One of my most enduring friends (that’s a nice way of saying “old” without making it sound like we are elderly, which we are not) had a birthday recently. By way of a birthday greeting she asked her friends to share a memory they have of her. I sat down to do that and realized that it would be more difficult than it had any right to be.

I thought about when we knew each other in high school; we had many activities in common so we spent a lot of time together. We performed in plays together, and we both sang in the chorus. We lived not too far from each other so there was much coming and going. We hung out at her place or mine. We went shopping and to the movies together. I remember talking and laughing and crying with her. I remember chorus retreats and play rehearsal. I remember sitting on her bed talking about boys. But none of these memories is sharp or distinct. That worried me for a while until I figured out why.

I think the reason (apart from my crappy memory anyway) is that this friend, unlike so many others, never hurt me. She never lied to me, or treated me badly, or talked about me behind my back. She never once caused me pain or disappointed me. The times I remember most from those years seem to either involve a boy I was interested in or a girl who had done me wrong. It seems that those memories are the only ones still sharp in my mind. I suppose what they say is true, that you remember things more if they involve great emotion. In my case I can clearly recall situations where I was hurt, or betrayed, or embarrassed. Those come easily to mind even though they are the events I’d much rather forget. But that’s how it works I guess.

The flip side of that, though, is that the memories I have of my friend are so totally intertwined with everything to do with who I was and the things that happened that I can’t separate her from them. She was, and is, a part of me in a very fundamental way. She is woven into the fabric of my past so completely that her bright thread can be found everywhere I look. For those years in high school, and for most of the years between then and now, she is always with me as I continue to shuttle and bob my way through life.

So, my friend, this is my gift to you. You are not just a moment in time to me, you are all the good things I remember, and it is my sincerest wish that our lives continue to weave together until we really are old friends. I love you. Happy Birthday!

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Thanks for reading my blog!  If you want to know more about me and my journey, check out my book “Everyday is Saturday” on Kindle.  The book is part diary, part memoir, about the first year after I was laid off from my dream job.  I think it has something to say to anyone who is struggling with change.

photo credit: jessica.diamond via photopin cc

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