Monday, June 20, 2005

...Memories Good and Bad

At 31, I’m probably still a bit young to get overly nostalgic for my lost youth. In fact, there are few people on Earth I believe more deserving of a sock in the mouth than relatively young people who feign shock at getting slightly older (“I can’t believe I’m actually turning 26! That’s so OLD!”).

However I do have enough consistent responsibilities in my life – taking care of my family of 5, the new house I’m purchasing, running the company I co-own – to make me occasionally long to relive certain periods in my life when my everyday burdens were fewer. Times when simply having pure, unadulterated fun was a much higher priority than it really can be now.

What gets me through these occasional blue periods is reminding myself of all the past experiences I wouldn’t want to relive. For example, college was a whole lot of fun. Who wouldn’t want to relive those 4 years of constant partying and random sexual experimentation? But would it really be worth it if I had to sit through that entire dreadfully dull semester of Geology for a second time? Hardly. And I certainly wouldn’t want to have to write my Senior Thesis again.

Watching my stepsons go through what is likely the most carefree period they’ll ever have in their lives, it’s hard not to long to be a kid again. But there’s no way in hell I would want to relive those 4 miserable Summers spent at Jewish sleepaway camp either. The one where they made you eat stale pieces of bread at almost every meal just to force you to have to say the Birkat Hamazon afterwards. Yeah, that’s great fun when you’re 9.

All those doctor appointments where I had to sit in the waiting room for 2 hours and the exam room for 1 just to have a 5-minute check up. The long plane flights when I forgot to bring a book. The miserable temp job I had shortly after graduating college where I had about 30-minutes of actual work to do per day that I had to try to stretch into 8 hours, all without my own phone and a antiquated computer that *ONLY* ran a particular inventory tracking program (so no Internet or email). 4 separate visits to traffic school.

I found myself getting surprisingly emotional as I went through the final walk-through of our now “old” house Saturday night, making sure we didn’t leave anything behind. Walking past the kids bathroom I nearly had a mini-breakdown knowing I was looking for the very last time at the bathtub where I used to have the immeasurable pleasure of watching my baby boy experience absolute pure joy every time I put him in the water. That got me to thinking about bringing him home from the hospital 10 months ago; watching him as a 2-day-old sleep in the family room, in the bassinet we just recently gave away to our friends who are expecting a child in January. Which led me to think about coming home from the hotel the day after my wife and I got married – opening the presents which seemed to take up the entire living room. I could go on and on about all the memories contained in that house – a very modest 3 bedroom that we outgrew almost from day one. But I’ll spare you since I’m aware such memories are obviously far, far more interesting and meaningful to the one who experienced them.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to relive any of the memories I have of living in that house either. Because if I did, I would also have to re-experience the process of moving this weekend. And that’s just about the shittiest memory I can imagine.
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