Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Living in the Past

I find that when I am sad or lonely, I find it easy to slip into the past.  Sometimes, when I see a beautiful garden, I think of my GrandBonnie, and my memories take me back to days sitting on her back porch, drinking tea, listening to neighborhood sounds, and asking her questions about plants.  Often, I can focus on only remembering the good memories.  And, I am so thankful for an abundance of wonderful memories with my GrandBonnie.  I truly miss her.  I want her to see the flowers I have planted, the garden I am trying to cultivate, and taste her roast recipe that I'm trying to perfect.

Other times, I look into the past to remember the relationship I used to have with my brothers and sister.  We used to spend so much time together.  When we were little, we would play games for hours.  When we were older, we would go to the movies, downtown, or just hang out with one another.  We always had our differences, but we were able to get along and have a good time.  Now, I hardly hear from either of my brothers.  I know they have their own lives, and I am doing my best to stay out of their way, as they are adults now.  My sister and I still have a great relationship, but we are able to see each other only once or twice a year.  My heart aches for the times we used to have.

I have two wonderful friends, Mandy and Daphne, who I am able to spend time with several times a month.  Funnily enough, these girls are a part of my past that has become a major part of my present.  Mandy and I have known each other since Girl Scouts and Sunday School in elementary school years.  Daphne and I have been friends since we were in the youth group and chorus together.  I am so happy to have these links to my past...girls who have known me for years, who have seen how I've changed, and who still want to be my friends...what a blessing!

I think of my wonderful friend, Kelley, who lives far away.  We used to spend every day together when we lived in Georgia.  She was my work-out friend, my accountability partner, and my confidant.  Thankfully, although we are separated by miles, we are as close as ever.  We have a relationship that can pick up from where we left off, no matter how long it's been since we've spoken. 

Other times, I remember friends I used to have.  I think of all the things we have been through, all the struggles we have faced, and how close we once were.  Then, I realize that taking on the adult world has caused us to fall apart.  And, I'm learning that that's ok.  Because we were friends during our younger years, we might not be suited to be friends as adults.  That's alright.  I have fantastic memories to treasure.

Knowing that I am close to having my degree, I think of what my life would have been if I hadn't dropped out of college when I was 19.  I had a job already lined up after graduation.  I would have been working in a counseling service for low-income families.  But, I wouldn't have 2 amazing children if I had taken that route.

I am very guilty, especially since I've turned 30, of spending time asking a lot of "what ifs".  I know that is not a healthy way to live.  As I've grown older, I have started to analyze some of my past decisions.  I have so many regrets.  I have let people out of my life who could have had a positive impact on me.  I have lived in my own world and have, at times, isolated myself from people who cared about me.  I am sorry for losing some of the relationships I have lost.  I realize that some relationships are not going to be able to grow with me or to be suitable for my life now.  I still am saddened by the loss though.

I know it's dangerous to live in the past and to constantly ask "what if".  Sometimes I feel that my thoughts wondering that way are completely out of my control.  Other times, I know I'm looking for answers in my past about my life now.  While my memories frequent my mind, I am very much alive and well in my present.  Cecely and Titus keep me grounded.  I love spending each day with them.  I am grateful for their unconditional love.  I love seeing little glimpses of me in their quirky personalities.

I am trying not to live in the past, only visit it from time to time.

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