Lately, in the middle of the night while I’m trying to fall back asleep between feedings, I’ve been kept awake longer than I want to thinking about the past. Last night I was thinking about my time in graduate school. It’s a lot like now: I lived in the Bay Area, I visit many of the places I visited, I walk the some of the same paths, take some of the same buses and trains, see some of the same people. But it is so far away from this moment that even though I graduated at the end of 2009, I can sometimes barely remember it.
Maybe it was the stress of that time. I was functioning at a pretty high rate of output with a pretty low rate of input. I worked full time, went to school full time, read many many books, wrote many many papers, and then I also wrote my own book. I still don’t really understand how that happened and how I didn’t drown. But maybe that is why I barely remember it – there was just way too many things to catalog. And then last night I missed it, I missed it so much I ached for it.
Random Friday nights at Fly Bar with Naomi. I remember meeting a group of solar panel technicians. I don’t know why I remember that, and yet I can’t remember some of my favorite people’s names.
The way it felt to sit on a nearly empty bus at 5-something in the evening, throwing itself down Balboa. Then seeing John get on at his stop, walk through the bus and sit by me, and being grateful we were friends.
The “Portal of Learning.”
The way ink on warm paper smells fresh from the printer after making many, many copied pages.
Naomi’s jeans. I never thought I would ever be as cool as her.
A heated discussion about the word “swarthy.”
And then a few weeks ago I was kept up remembering all of the people who have come and then gone again. My social world ebbs and flows. Sometimes I have a lot of people to see and visit and invite over. Sometimes that number dwindles down to a handful. It goes with the tide and it doesn’t always mean something particular. But there are some people I wish were still around, some people that I had every intention of really, really liking and then I ended up … not. There are relationships that could have been amazing, but life happens and distance makes thing impossible. These are relationships of all kinds, amazing women who I miss, horrible people I am glad are not in my sphere, men I loved and hated and loved some more, the people who I wanted to be friends with who were not so much interested in me. Sometimes I have the best of intentions and I mess it up regardless.
So many chapters. I am in a new one right now and it is great! Life is humming and things are good. But I still wish I could revisit the old ones, the chapters that closed without me even realizing it, the people who slipped away or who I very regrettably don’t have time for. Sometimes I am sad that all of the things can’t happen all at the same time in a big swirl. The good and the bad and the ugly. The busy and the relaxed. The family and the friends, the early twenties and the late, I want it all like a glutton for experiences. I want to stuff my face with all the stuff I have already done and all the things I’m doing now. I want to feel it all just as it felt then, except this time knowing it will all be ok, this time being able to revel in the silliness or the joy without zooming past it on to the next thing, the next to-do list item, or the next chapter.
Time is nothing. We make it up as we go along. It doesn’t move faster or slower at any given moment. Except it does.