I look back on years past and miss what I thought I would never miss. I regret what I never thought was regrettable and think fondly of memories that used to be hated moments.
It’s funny how, just as we change, so do the things we miss. In high school, I missed the years my parents were married and we were a family. The first few years of college, I missed financial security and the continuing ebb and flow of old and new friends. Now, I miss being oblivious to now. I miss not caring or worrying about my future, knowing eventually it will all catch up to me.
And of course, the people we miss, who were whole-heartedly taken for granted but are missed to the nth degree. Nights at hangouts that no longer exist, friends who have moved away, friends who will move away. I could scream just thinking about it, but what did I expect? Oh yeah, I wasn’t thinking ahead. I’ll never make that mistake again; or, I may continue to make that mistake forever, for peace of mind. Thinking ahead is the worst.
(Boys Club, Blake House, Meredith, Kim, Emily, miss it all)
There are places and pets I miss. Situations that went away forever, such as travelling nearly for free with parents and sending your dad the bill for car maintenance (I’m certain he doesn’t miss that).
And oddly enough, I miss feeling vulnerable. I’m not saying I’m infallible, but you reach a certain age or point in your life when you can no longer place blame or even feign innocence and ignorance. No, everyone expects you to be just so all the time. Bad moods are no longer allowed because otherwise you’ll just end up a cranky old bag. A sick day means missing heaps of work and regretting staying home altogether. Even grades in college lost their luster since the University isn’t allowed to send them home to your parents. You forget and have to re-learn how to perform for yourself, not just for your parents or the institution of education.
That’s really what giving up vulnerability means. Owning everything that is you. Those grades are yours, insurance bills come directly to your e-mail, and sick mornings require a heap of decision making before deciding to stay home in bed. Why didn’t anyone tell me this? I was unaware of how scary it is to be un-vulnerable. When I graduated college, and then again with my Masters degree, I could never quite communicate to the people closest to me the sheer and utter fear in my heart. There was no more school for me to obsess over. There was no more schedule that I got to fine-tune to my pleasantries every semester. There was no path laid out perfectly before me with detailed policies on how to achieve success. I was utterly and horribly alone in the most exaggerated sense.
(Some of the group during a birthday party at Bryan’s old apartment)
The worst is missing in a new way, a way you never thought would apply to you.
Like babies getting bigger, and how heavy it makes your heart because you want to hold them as tiny ones forever – but also the intense excitement that comes with imagining them as amazing little people and then even better adults.
(Jud and Jenny with Jack & Jackson – my favorite babes, growing up so fast)
(My lovely blue-eyed momma with my second cousin Ethan when he was just a tiny boy. Now he’s a big brother 2 times over!)
Or missing those new moments with Bryan, when I loved him secretly and shied in social situations that included us both. Of course, I prefer what we have now. But sometimes, I reminisce with him about how unlikely our love seemed at the time and how vulnerable I felt. I honestly cherish those moments before “us”, when I was getting to know him, watching him with his friends, learning from afar just how amazing he is. And yes, even believing I couldn’t have him in a second. It’s all worth missing.
(This picture is horrible but hilarious. Fourth of July out at the Teeter Manor, post-fireworks-blowing-up-Mike’s-car, illicit substances and tents littering the yard, bonfires and drum circles and firecrackers and climbing on the roof – one of the best times, part of my missing repertoire)
I used to believe that missing was a form of regret, part of a bad “grass-is-always-greener” mentality that makes you avoid the now. But I actually see it as a positive the older I get. Reflecting on the things we miss strengthens every bit of the foundation of who you are and what you want. I’m grateful for every moment leading up to now, and excited for any moment after. Especially since I have all of these fabulous things to remember.