[A note: Yes, this blog has been out of commission for a little bit. We’re sorry, we’re just not good at keeping up with anything, let alone our personal drama, during the winter weather. It was too cold for us to exercise our creativity when everything we saw around us was snow, snow, grey skies, snow, snow, etc. But we’re back now; we promise. Consider this the start of a great thaw.]
Soon it will be Spring; I can already feel it. If this winter has taught me anything, it’s that I definitely suffer from some slight form of seasonal depression. Just stepping outside my door on a Monday morning that’s warmer than 50 degrees can make any potential issues in my day seem less relevant (that, or I’ve taken this senioritis deal a little too far). My body and mind are more relaxed; I find myself smiling when I get on the subway, instead of wanting to break down in tears as my boots get wet after the six block walk to the station.
But this oncoming of nice weather and mental health means something different this year, something far better. In less than two months, I’ll be a college graduate, and although I’ve always had a penchant for holding on, white-knuckled, before change hits, I don’t think that will happen this time around. I’m ready for change. I’m ready for the temperature to stay well above freezing, for Rittenhouse to be continuously over-crowded, and I’m ready to finally stop living in the past.
Okay, so that’s obviously a huge statement that I may or may not be able to completely live up to . But let’s say that I’m at least going to try to stop looking backwards. It sounds easy, and sure people constantly use it as a mantra, but the more I think about it, the more I realize how many people (including myself) feel comfortable clinging to the once-was’s instead of the right-now’s. A couple of months back, G and I got real excited about the front-page of an overly expensive psuedo-psychology magazine, which advertised a promising article: how first time anythings will affect us pretty much forever. Finally, we thought, confirmation of our consistent conversation regarding our first-love relationships, and how they become this litmus test for every other romantic interaction with have from then on.
Although the article wasn’t as near as in-depth as our discussions have been, it was nice to know we weren’t alone. Or crazy. We’ll spend hours sitting on our kitchen floor, debating whether we’re waiting for the next ‘serious relationship’ (whatever that means) to come along so we can forget this ground zero boy, or instead, if that ground zero boy will be a constant squatter amongst our baggage, a ghost that becomes slightly more opaque when Mr. New Serious Relationship becomes a little too serious. It’s hard to tell. Was I really in love freshman year but too young to realize how to keep that up? Was what I thought love, really just a feeling that I hadn’t felt before, and therefore believed it to be more concrete that it actually was?
Recently, I found myself at a bar with G and A, and some old friends. The type of friends I used to invite over to drink illegally in my sophomore year dorm room, and unfortunately, date. Yes, my very own ground zero boy (both ‘zero’ and ‘boy’ are appropriate descriptors) sat among these acquaintances. We’re not on bad terms, and nothing is ever that awkward between us (especially in public), so there was no need for dramatic shouting matches or theatrical glass-of-water-in-face type deals, but it did bring up some past feelings. Of course I remembered the good times, the happy times. The times I think about with G when I recall why I’m stupid for passing up my opportunity to be in love. For most of the night, we all joked about the hungover mornings after the obliterated nights, and the fact that we were graduating and finally moving on. It was fun. It was the type of nostalgia I usually relish in.
But after spending the night with these old friends, and reminiscing about the good ol’ days, I felt empty. I didn’t stop the nostalgia at the point when my friendships with them drifted; I kept going. With or without them, in the past two years, I have accomplished so much, and I like who I am way better than who I was. I could look at ground zero boy and not care who he had slept with or what fight he got into with his parents this week. Of course in a way, it would be nice to go back there. I would have went home with that boy, slept in his bed, laughed at our inside jokes. But the next morning, when reality hit again, I’d just have to deal with the rest of the same bullshit I did back then: the fact that we weren’t ever as compatible as I thought we were; that I constantly felt guilty for being successful; that I never found psychedelic drugs appealing enough; the simple fact that what I wanted and what he wanted never met in even close to a middle ground. So why, then, is he my reference point? Why should I continue to live in the past if that dismal outlook is my so-believed Edenic past?
The answer, I know, is because it’s part of the human condition to think this way. What else are we supposed to compare things to without that first-love experience? I don’t regret spending the first half of my college years caught up in a dead-end relationship because it taught me genuine lessons, but it’s only now, another two years later, that I’m starting to realize the impact of these lessons. Bottom line is I don’t want to conduct my life from that reference point anymore because it wasn’t healthy then, and sure isn’t going to be healthy now. I’m glad I had the opportunity to love and to grow (yes, I know, barf), but that period of evolution is stagnant. I’m not going to learn anything new by continuously retreating back to a comfort that only exists in my head. I can’t live in the past. Unfortunately, we all reside there occasionally – that nice warm center of our memories where everything is rose-tinted and Arcadian, but at 22 and almost-graduated, I refuse to give in to that anymore. There are too many other exciting and interesting people in my life for me to live with blinders on.
With all this said though, I feel slightly hypocritical; I may still resort to the well-known detriments, once other interests become blasé. However, living in the now is much easier when the ‘now’ isn’t covered in a constant blanket of slush and ice. Besides, what’s Spring time without (at least the attempt at) renewal or beginnings?