Sorry for the double-a-day post, but I just took a moment to re-read a few of my older posts (on account of the large year I’ve been having) and came across something I wrote in April of last year entitled, “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.” In it, I referenced Hemingway’s description of bankruptcy and how it happens similarly to life and time–Two ways: slowly, then suddenly.
At the time I wrote about the final stages of my college career being quite obviously the “Suddenly.” The last 4 months of wedding planning were in the Suddenly as well. So where am I now? At the time, I made a joke of how, within a few years, I would be married with a house, children, and a dog. Well, I’m now down 3 for 4.
So where does the time go? My best friend’s daughter will be 3 in a few days. I remember holding her in my arms in the hospital on the day she was born. It seems so close and yet so far away for me… I was 20, a junior in college, and the weight of her birth both skimmed passed me and stopped me in my tracks. It was so big and I was still so small, still blissfully lingering in the Slowly.
And now? Now I’m a bona fide (go look it up–it’s actually 2 words) adult. Well, 3/4 of one. It happened overnight almost. And yet I remember it being overwhelming and challenging, except all I can think of is how great an experience it was. Selective memory, maybe? I have a bad habit of separating myself emotionally from my own memories, which is one of the main reasons I spend so much time lingering on the tiny, minute details of my life, in hopes that years from now I will remember that I first worked in a building with 6 floors, although sometimes there was a 9th one when people in the elevator thought they were being creative. The elevator itself creaked and grumbled its way to the 4th floor where I sat, and occasionally the sound of the cables against the wires reminded me of a group of chipmunks in heated debate. And yet all of these observances are lost to me, somewhere in the ether that is my memory, only to be recalled when specifically asked for. I guess the idea is that memories should solely create a feeling. So maybe you don’t actually remember that your cubical was gray on gray on gray (walls, floor, chair), but that’s what it felt like (or maybe, as in my case, it actually was). My home feels like a home, not because of the details (which I likely won’t recall 10 years from now), but because of the life that it holds. This is simultaneously exciting and heartbreaking. Oh, the painful sting of nostalgia and the hurtful hole it can leave in one’s heart.
My problem is that, as a result of this line of thinking, I’ve become nostalgic for everything. I’m so terrified that I will forget even the slightest detail, that I will miss Moose’s wet nose so bad, that I forget to actually enjoy them. I take in the details, rather than the feelings, because I’m afraid that the feelings will escape me one day and the details will be all that I have… but isn’t that what memories are for? Taking our feelings with us?
I’m now very much in the Slowly part of my young-adult life. The part that I will presumably refer to one day as “before children.” The part I remember my parents talking of back before I realized that they were people, too, and that I would one day be exactly like them. So here I am at 23, both my mother and my father, both independent and a wife, just moving on in the Slowly and taking it in bit by bit so that, one day, I can bring it back to me.
One response to “Slowly, then Suddenly.”
[…] remained the unattainable dream throughout my entire child and early adulthood. But eventually, slowly and suddenly, it came anyway. And adulthood wasn’t so bad, […]