Nature abhors a vacuum. So, what is going to take the place of all that nostalgia that was so recently cleansed from my system?
I realized this morning that when we stop investing in the past, we are suddenly fully accountable for the present. When I stop telling myself how adventurous and interesting and musical and wild I USED to be, it becomes painfully obvious that I've been using those stories as an excuse to halfheartedly drift through my present life. Yeah, it's a nonstop furious ass-kicking job being a single parent, but no one is going to live my life for me. If I want wilderness, if I want adventure and music and all the big stuff, I've got to step up and put it there. (Ay yi yi, the voice inside whines, all I REALLY want to do is take a nap!)
Here is what I am appreciating about nostalgia: if we are in control of it--though that is rarely the case--it can serve to give us a sense of perspective. Nostalgia gilds moments from the past with a patina that was never there at the outset. If we acknowledge this, we can understand that each moment we are living now has the potential to be one of those golden memories we polish long into the future. It gives the present more power. It provides a lifeline out of even those most dark and hopeless days, the idea that with the passage of time, even this will be fondly looked back upon (remember when the boys were so little and cute and I used to get so depressed about my difficult life? back when I lived in Los Angeles and never had to deal with snow or seasons or the DMV? Oh, i was sooo young...)
I am already fondly looking back at my summer of love with the rocket scientist; I know that in time even this tiny 12 x 12 house will become a cherished anecdote. I am amazed to realize that someday my boys will be nostalgic for their childhoods here in Los Angeles. I am already a character in their memories. Life just keeps going on. As Jonathan Kabat-Zinn said on a Speaking of Faith program that Zoe recorded for me:
"We have a choice: to race toward our death or open to our life. It's a choice we make moment to moment, by how fully awake we are. Or as Thoreau put it: Only that day dawns of which we are fully aware."
I so appreciate your comments. We are never fully alone, are we? Thanks for reminding me of that, and sharing your stories.