Gone but Not Forgotten

I apologize in advance if this post gets a little wordy and longer than most, but its been all over my psyche all week. My emotions don’t know anymore whether they are coming and going because this is all so complicated still. So forgive me for needing to work this all out from my head and my heart both, and make sense of my past (the deceptive glamour of it) and my present (wistfulness and remorse).

I should confess I’m one of those people who looks at the past through rose-colored glasses. Only the happier moments naturally. Mentally I kick the unhappier ones under the proverbial rug in my memory.

From childhood to adulthood, no time in our lives is ever “perfect”—it is comprised of many different influences both the good and bad, but the more time that passes, the easier it becomes to forget. I think we all can agree there are moments when life felt “perfect” to each of us . . . beautiful milestones like a graduation, a proposal, a wedding, victory in a first job, birth of a first child . . . and sometimes it’s a struggle to let those special moments pass to bygones.

{ Especially if you lost someone you loved later and never dreamed that could happen. The rosy memories of the past keep their soul alive for you. }

 

As a writer, many of my “personal milestone” or “elation moments” had to do with my writing—but more specifically, how I was writing! The best moments occurred when both my head AND my heart were 100% invested into both creating and sharing something special all at once, and I was writing from pure and utter passion!

I don’t know to describe the elation that came for me with writing and ‘sharing on the fly’ like that, but I can tell you they were the most beloved and yes, “perfect” times in my life. Hours just fall away like mere minutes because I was so fully immersed in what I was creating and my mind, soul, imagination and emotions were fully engaged. It’s so real to me, a place that felt like home and freedom combined. That is exactly what I remember and delight in so much that my brain tries to relive it over and over.

So I think it’s because I do look at the past with such rose-coloring that I forget (while mentally wandering those garden pathways) it wasn’t all the high moments. There were stresses and problems, disappointments and disagreements happening back then but my brain and my personal journals don’t record them as faithfully as the happy times. I overlook that reality wasn’t perfect as much as I’m remembering a perfected version of how my life was then.

 

That brings me to an experiment I did in 2005, one that has applications to me now. In 2003, the online writing forum I loved so much closed down. Literally, it was outdated and technology had passed it by, so the site we used got shut down in favor of an upgrade and we could no longer post new topics to the old forum.

Well—time passed and I wasn’t ready to end that part of my life yet. There were so many good times and amazing memories in respect to that writing forum, and naturally I missed that once it had gone.

Booklovers know the sadness of closing the final chapter of their favorite book –the one you just can’t bear to end— because you are losing new friends and saying goodbye to the wonderful adventures and worlds you just got to know so intimately there. Well—in that same respect, I wasn’t ready to “end the book” yet on my writing forum friends! 😊

Pretty much this, except me freaking out I had no new fic to read and no friends to read my new fics!!

 

By the end of 2005, I was bored and missed the forum so much that I tried to revive it—hosting it myself and inviting back the plethora of friends I knew from the original. Predictably, this didn’t pan out as I hoped.

It wasn’t a bad experience—actually it more resembled a ten-year-reunion where old friends embraced each other, shared a drink, then they all disappeared back into their busy lives. It was nice and I think we all enjoyed it, but it also wasn’t the great revival that I wanted it to be. The blunt truth was that my friends had moved on with their lives and the forum was no longer a part of it.

It was time for me to do the same. In that experience, I learned a valuable life lesson: you can’t revive the past just because you miss it!

It’s a hard-knock lesson—but, disappointing though it was, I’m grateful for it. Because this week (in my life) again, I’m tempted to relive what’s gone by the allure of the past as I remember it.

Looking back at 2005 in hindsight, I recognize that I was in a holding pattern of life. Something special and personal to me (the writing forum) was taken away from me without my choosing to leave it behind, and I hadn’t yet found something better to replace it. That’s why I wanted to bring it back so badly.

In one sense, nothing is ever going to replace it since “those friends”, “that forum” and “those experiences” will always be unique to me, personal and irreplaceable. I’m exceptionally blessed to have those memories to treasure and that wonderful experience to look back on and to be such an integral part of what it was—and please don’t read me wrong, I do miss them still and always will!

But I’ve also grown and learned what I could from that forum. I can’t step back in time to what it was because I’m not even the same girl (the same kind of writer) that I was back then. I changed too. Instead, that experience being so educational and empowering and supportive is what gives me the strength to take the next step, to create a new forum, to help other, younger writers achieve what that forum taught me to achieve and pass the wisdom and experience forward. Now how can I do any of that while trying to relive the past?

And completely unbeknownst to me in 2005, 2007 would bring about an experience SO MUCH BETTER, surpassing my experiences with the forum and what was (to be) the next amazing, mind-blowing step in my writing journey. Not only did it utilize everything I learned from the writing forum, but it also filled that hole in my life with something new that blew me utterly away!

So . . . I recognize that (as before), here in 2017, I’m in another “holding pattern” of life. Again, I miss the hole left by the loss of another great experience in my journey—yet I also recognize the same lesson from 2005 staring me directly in the face! These “holding patterns” where one feels stagnant and where no visible progress is measured, make it a struggle to move on. Temptation keeps luring me to step back to a time when life (in my rosy memories) felt better, more complete.

BUT . . .

Instead of wasting my efforts on recreating the past (which I realize cannot be done despite my desire for it), I’m striving to take the lesson as inspiration for my future. Who knows exactly when this holding pattern will end—but it will end and I’m choosing to believe it will bring something AMAZING with it, something that blows me away and far surpasses what I, for the time being, keep nostalgically reminiscing about.

{ . . . perhaps someone amazing and I know that . . . }

 

Finally, this is my takeaway.

The Past gave me . . .

Gratitude . . . for the education experiences and my friendships that brought me to this place

Purpose . . . a sense of the wondrous things to come on my journey

Support . . . the positive and caring influences who strengthened me and are all a part of who I am today. Who still believe in me even when they’re no longer an active voice in my life.

 

The Future gives me . . .

Hope . . . that every step I’ve taken has put me on the road to something amazing!

Love . . . from those who have been with me every step of the way and those with me in spirit!

Promise . . . the next step will be bigger and better, based on how I’ve grown as a person!

Opportunity . . . a chance to recapture past magic through “passionately creating something completely new!”

 

Are there any times from your past you wish you could return to? What life lessons have your experiences taught you? 

I love to hear amazing stories from ya’all! Please share in the comments below!

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