After returning home from a life in Spain, some partial depression and Spanish with-drawl set in once my life finally calmed down. When you’re sitting around wallowing about a glamorous life you once had, there’s a lot of room for inactivity. My inactivity just happened to lead me to stalk myself on Facebook. Sounds mildly strange but we all do it, and if you don’t, well, get a little more narcissism in your system; it’s good for ya.
Anyway, aside from my Spanish reminiscence, and my self-stalking this summer has been one of much reflection, something that I rarely have the time for anymore. But just like narcissism, in small doses, reflection can be beneficial. However, enough of it can dig you an early grave.
Recently, I went through six years of pictures from freshmen year of high school and everything in between. From switching high schools, then switching back, to the big senior year and the even bigger summer that followed. From entering the beginning of college and falling in love, all the way to finally reaching the end of my Barcelona journey. You can imagine how much my heart was twisting in knots of nostalgia afterwards. Because basking in the past is like baking in the sun, you close your eyes and you’re warmed from the outside, in, but at the end of the day you’re just burnt. Remembering is an unfair pastime that we all participate in whether we admit to it or not.
Life isn’t fair though, so while reflecting in the unjustness of it all, I like to weave through and pick out the positive. That’s when I realized what was so unfair. We don’t get to pick up our memories, put them in a little basket, and carry them with us down this little journey called life. We’re expected to put them down, lose the weight they carry, and continue on.
Most of the time, this means people.
When I was a senior in high school, I couldn’t wait to graduate and forget everyone I knew. Now, here I am, about to be a senior in college, only wishing I had a basket big enough to carry it all. It’s not an event or a memory standing alone that makes it important. It’s almost always the people. While clicking through my six-year streak of pictures, I watched my social life evolve.
I remembered the kids I entered high school with, and those same faces that drifted as we developed our own groups in a new school. There’s the obvious thread of faces we know will always be there, and the ironic ones that we never expected to stay around. But there they’ve been, the entire time. There are the faces that were only in a few albums, but changed me beyond my words and then there are faces that sting to look at because you know they’ll never take another picture again. It makes me wonder, is it us that chooses the pattern of these pictures or is it life that does? Why must we build up a collection, when we know we must strip ourselves of those same people in order to grow?
Well, I don’t have an answer.
Like everyone else, I look at these pictures and feel what I’ve tried to avoid.
How could I forget about her? It’s a shame they moved. Does he ever wonder about things like I do? There are even people I’d love to call out right here, right now. When we know, we know though. I think we underestimate the human conscience to recall a connection with another being, however small it may be.
It pains me to know that the people that became my family in Spain are living their own lives across the country without our little family and I can’t run down the stairs at two am to ask ridiculous questions anymore. I never thought the day would come when my best friends graduated before me, and all so soon we’ll part ways. And I’m scared to know that summer is ending, another year will start anew, and my boredom will stir and I’ll click through my pictures once again, unsure whether to smile or frown at the faces that are shaping me now.
How lucky one must be to have a life so bittersweet that it’s painful to look back on the extraordinary people that have filled our hearts. Imagine what your life would be like if you couldn’t?
I am lucky.
Sure, you can’t keep everyone in your life, but you carry the lessons they teach you and that’s kind of like the same thing.