Monday, October 19, 2009

Looking back

I've been thinking a lot lately about people from my past. Mostly about how strange it is to be so close to someone for so long and to spend so much time with someone and then not to. Not suddenly (usually), but over time as life changed.

Facebook has brought up a lot of this for me. As I've reconnected on the weird, mostly superficial level that Facebook creates (I haven't talked to you since high school, but now I know what you had for breakfast), I've mourned silently the loss of some of these people from my daily life. That mourning never took place when the separations happened. It's all getting dredged up now. And, it seems like I'm not alone. I've received more than a few emails from people apologizing for things in the past and genuinely wondering why we stopped talking long ago.

Over the weekend, I found and played an old mix tape that I made a few months before I met A. I called it, "A Mix for the Worst Week of 1996 So Far." Man, there is some great music on there! But it took me quite awhile to remember why that week was so bad. Finally, I remembered that it involved an all-out war between me and another woman, who was actually the childhood best friend of my best friend and roommate. She was also dating my best friend H from high school - a guy who had had a crush on me for years. A bunch of us used to hang out all the time, but there was a lot of tension between the two of us (she is also named Kristen), and finally we held an intervention of sorts to get the bitterness out in the open because our mutual friends couldn't take it anymore. And, I had been dating this clown, I mean guy who after almost two months decided to tell me that he was moving to LA and had been planning to all along. So that's what constituted my worst week that year. LOL.

These memories make me laugh and wistful at the same time. I think it's so funny that my life had so much drama in those days. But not really important drama, just silliness and pettiness. It didn't feel that way at the time, of course, but looking back on it now, I laugh at my angst. No one was sick or dying, divorcing, trying to conceive and couldn't, no one lost their job or couldn't pay their bills. On the one hand, life now seems much more important and serious. But at the same time, my life now seems pretty boring in comparison. I don't have that 20-something angst anymore. I don't have the whole, awful dating thing to deal with. Life is good and comfortable and peaceful.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this. Except that it's weird how it all turned out in the end. In those days, I spent nearly every waking hour it seemed with those friends, especially my friend H from high school and then later his best friend and roommate, R. I loved that time and those people, even with all the turmoil and hurt feelings and messiness. I caused a lot of that hurt and messiness myself.

Last week, my friend R sent me a link to his wedding photos. I haven't seen him in years and we've only emailed each other here and there. It was the strangest thing looking at his wedding pictures and seeing him in his life that I don't know and that I'm not even minutely a part of. I've never met his wife. He's never met my son. And, that made me really sad. My once best friend, someone I thought I'd be around forever, is now a stranger.

The other Kristen and I keep in touch today. A and I met her for lunch when she was in town visiting two weeks ago. She watched R while A and I sang during our friends' wedding. My former rival is now my friend.

Part of me thinks that this is just the way life is - people come and go, their importance changes, and you move on with some sadness but not really noticing either. But then I look at A - he is still friends with almost everyone he knew from high school and beyond. He makes friends and keeps them. He doesn't see them all the time, but the friendships are still there. There doesn't seem to be many endings in his relationships. And, I wonder why there are in mine.


LEstes65 said...

Awesome post. I'd love to hug you right now.

shaun said...

I feel the same way at times Kristen.
There are so many people who I wish were a part of my life now, but at the same time some who I feel bad about not wanting in my life anymore.
For me, I think it has been a lesson that family is most important. To me anyway, my brother who I used to beat up on a regular basis is one of my best friends in the world and one of the few people who I can really count on no matter what.
I think people come in and out of our lives and the ones who are family( whether biological or not) are the ones who stay. Or maybe we stay with. i don't know .. Any way,
I hope you don't let it get you too down and comparing yourself to other people usually is not a self esteem builder if you know what I mean. I for one think you are awesome, even if we just talk on the internet now & then, you are loved.

sandwhichisthere said...

agonizing over the past gets you nowhere. The past cannot be changed, no matter how many times you roll it over in your mind. Each day you did the best that you could. It may not have measured up to someone else's best but it was your best.
I was forty when I realized that my best friend in high school and early twenties had been using me all along. I was disappointed for a while and then realized the situation he was in at the time and how desperate he was. It still didn't make sense or seem fair but I was still able to find some compassion for him.
It is good to be old. It is good to be past all of the tension and self-doubt of youth and to not be able to remember too much of the past. All of the memories are happy ones, full of family and beauty and things that make me chuckle. I like the red Chuckles best.
My Brother is my best friend and his wife is my only other friend. I do not regret the paucity of the number of friends that I have and I glory in the quality of the ones that I have.
I remember an acquaintance I had when I was younger. He later became fabulously rich and famous by starting an investment firm. He also cheated at cards which I noticed early on. I remember two things that he used to say.
"In business you have no friends.".
"What good are friends if you can't use them.".
I spoke to him about fifteen years ago and he was very unhappy with his life. He described all of the wonderful things that he had accumulated but he was still unhappy. I found it hard to have any compassion for him. I asked him if he still cheated at cards and he got up and walked away, never realizing that that was the purpose of the question.
Take the friends and the good friends of the past and toss them all up in the air. The winds of time will winnow out most of the friends and leave the gems that are good friends. Those friends that you shared a chuckle with long ago. The green ones aren't bad either,