I've always been a bit of the nostalgic type...reveling in cool things that have happened in my past. Most of it tends to go only as far back as college, or it generally has something to do with family. Family, college and working in the sports industry definitely tend to be the three top nostalgic topics for me, because, for better or for worse, they were the three things that have shaped my life the most. I've been blessed with a great family, and as traditions change and we spread across the country, sometimes nostalgia's all I've got to take me back to the old days of family gatherings...hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa on summer afternoons, Thursday lunches with the ladies, Christmas chaos...the list could go on and on. I still have a great family and I know there are many more good times to come, but those moments become more and more precious as time goes on. Working in sports is right up there too, despite all the stress it caused me over the years. Ultimately I still got to live out a dream and experience things I could scarcely dream of. It definitely had its moments, and when Craig and I are old and gray, looking back on our crazy younger days in sports, hopefully we'll forget all the bad stuff. And hey, I did get a husband out of the deal, right?
College is a bit of a different animal. It definitely impacted my life in many ways...from the usual coming-of-age stuff, to amazing friendships, to taking my faith in God to a whole new level. Those four years were really unbelievable. I'm sure many people would agree, regardless of their individual experience, and as many of us know, some people hold on to that world far too long. And if you're unaware, walk into most bars late on a weekend night and you'll probably see a few examples. Anyway, I have my college experience close for years, and for mostly good reasons. I still love sharing weekends with the girls, and the pure knowledge of how amazing my spiritual life back then was gives me something to strive for now. All of that is extremely important and isn't the stuff I'm "leaving behind", per the title of this entry.
What I am talking about is this tendency I have to slip back into a time and place far from here, and feel like it was just a couple years ago. A very simplistic example of this is how I feel every summer when the back-to-college stuff comes out. It wasn't as big of a business back when I first went to school, but the mere sight of shower totes and plastic crates brings me back to the good old days. That has faded a bit year by year, but still...even something like a warm fall or spring day takes me back to the gloriousness of walking to class in picture perfect weather.
I've come to realize that this baby is going to change a lot. It's not even here yet and already it's taken over more of my thoughts than I realize. There are things I used to think about a lot that pop up in my mind, and suddenly I realize it's been a really long time since I thought about it...whether it's remembering to get a haircut, clean the house, email someone, etc. Time just flies these days. Bringing a baby into the picture definitely creates a very real separation between who I am now and the person I was even a year or two ago, let alone 10 years ago back in college. That's not to say I won't regress periodically, but a baby is a seriously real difference...more than a job or a mortgage ever could be.
All of this really struck me this morning. I was on my way to work listening to Sixpence None the Richer, the first Christian band Mary and I went nuts for back in college. Their music (a few songs in particular) inevitably whisks me back to a certain period of time back in college, and I started thinking back to the concert that started it all. And it just sort of hit me that it was 11 years ago...that's a really long time. I'm such a different person than I was then, but yet...it seems like it could be yesterday. But in reality, I'm grown up, with a job, married, and having a baby. While nothing should take away from a great memory, I just realized that each step I take in life is one step further removed from that time. New memories will start crowding out the old ones a bit. They won't disappear, but my brain probably won't have the time or brainpower to go back to them as much.
It was a bit of a sad realization, but at the same time I realized that there's so much more to come. As enriching as those experiences were, I'm about to embark on another crazy, amazing life experience. My hope is that I still will think back to those days periodically, because they were truly life-altering...and FUN. I don't want to forget them by any means, but I think at some point I'll make peace with leaving them behind (to whatever degree) and fully embrace the life I live now for the amazing thing it is.