…But I can’t trace time…
There’s just something about the change of the seasons that brings about an inward stirring, don’t you think?
Maybe it’s just me, but Spring isn’t the only time of the year I get the urge to rummage through the cupboards and toss things that are no longer needed.
Perhaps it’s the turn towards the end of the year that does it. Or it could be the falling of leaves – watching as the vibrant greens of the summer return to the earth. The literal ways we turn inward, capturing our own warmth to protect us against the chill in the air.
Whatever it is, there’s something about the colder months that prompts us to slow down and begin to reflect on the past.
I’ve been doing a lot of that lately. Looking at past and current relationships, doing a little “emotional-spring-cleaning” if you will. (…fall cleaning?)
I grew up in a relatively small town that’s made even smaller by the fact that people tend to keep to their own “side” of town. I’m from the south side of town. It only takes 30 minutes (during the worst traffic we have, usually more like 15) to get from South High School (where I graduated from) to North High School (on the opposite side of town), and yet I don’t know anyone who’s gone there. According to the people on the south side of town, everyone who lives on the north side of town is a superficial conservative. According to the people on the north side of town, everyone on the south side is a lazy hippie. (I can vouch for the fact that the latter is untrue…but having lived briefly on the other side of town…well, let’s just say, there’s a reason I only lived there briefly.)
My point in all of that is – there are days when I run errands and end up driving past my elementary school, middle school, and high school. Everyone I know knows everyone I know. There is a nostalgia fog thick as pea soup around this (side) of town, and there’s really no way to escape it. Especially at this time of year.
It also means it’s very easy to go along with the status quo and not question it much. These are the people you’ve known you’re entire life, and they are doing what they’ve always done. There is a rhythmic ebb and flow to things that can be hard to notice, let alone break out of.
Even with all of that, it’s still important to grow and change.
Finding a way to do that, however, without getting bogged down in a past that constantly surrounds you, can be difficult.
“There’s always this kind of nostalgia for a place, a place where you can reckon with yourself.” – Sam Shepard
This year, it’s my goal. Some of my most recent posts have reflected the journey that I’ve been taking – trying to sort through a future that changed directions on me, trying to decide if friendships that have been there in the past are worth carrying forward.
At some point in our lives (and really, if I’m being honest with myself here, it’s probably more like at “several points in our lives”), it becomes clear that in order to move forward, we need to leave certain things behind. It makes my heart stop beating just to write that, since I do not give things up easily. But as I step back and look at my life, reassessing those things that feel like they need a little shaking up, I find myself realizing how true it is.
This year has been a strange one. It came on the heels of one of the worst years of my life, and as much as some days have just plain sucked, it still feels like a turning point somehow. Maybe it’s because I turned 25 and that felt like a landmark. Maybe it’s because even though my health declined again, it hit a high point there for a month or two that left me feeling better than the last time I could remember. Either way, I feel like it’s up to me to keep this ball rolling in the right direction.
So, even though I may be kicking and screaming the entire way, I know it’s time to make some changes…Even if I don’t know exactly what they’re going to be yet.
Do you start to reflect on life as the year comes to an end? Do you need to make any changes in your life? What are they?