the ghosts of our former youth

today i talked to a friend i hadnt heard from in a while.  ive noticed recently that these sorts of conversations always go the same way; hows life, what are you doing these days, where are you working…  after that the dialogue pretty much always dries up.  as if the only connection we can still make is the physical names of places and all things prior have washed away.  all of those important events and relationships from our youth that we thought would last forever  have since eroded through years of new friends, new places and major changes in our life.  which got me thinking…

once as young adults we laughed and argued, enjoyed the best of the world and most mundane of ordinaries, and otherwise did all the things that people do in good friendships.  years of such accumulation have piled mounds of these memories in our limited brain space, and eventually some are squished out or in the least mashed up enough to barely contain the whole original.  like true darwinists, the weak of our memories have died off while the success of our favorites has guaranteed their permanence.  some of the best remain, sure, but even these take some prompting, whether it be a familiar song or the smell of grandmas backyard somehow transported through time and space to reappear here, today.  and then there are the more obscure memories which are only relived after finding a formerly lost and forgotten photograph or an old birthday card, some physical connection to the past that’s possibly half remembered and half filled in with sepia-toned patches.

today i got to thinking about the latter type of memory.  one late night we all sat on the sidewalk as a good friend was about to move away.  in our twenties, these types of changes seem to happen all the time and without much noise and racket, but to a kid the world may as well have stopped spinning and sent us all careening into the night.  the world changed forever for us that night, and one of us (in my head i seem to think it was me, but of course we all know how time can make our memories into liars) said something like “things are going to change for all of us in the next year (as we go off to college) but i just know we will all be back together again someday…  i have faith in us”.  maybe that day is still to come but…

a hard days work

a hard days work

is it time and the sheer bulk of new things that happen during college and into our adulthood that dull us to these moments, have we become numb to what we once felt?  had the naivete of youth put bastard words into our mouths so that we thought a commonplace moment was so much more novel and dear?  did the child in our hearts really believe so much more in what we had, or did we just not know what else to think?

someday will i look back on to the memories i hold most dear today and roll my eyes with a wry grin, remembering the how vulnerable i was to sentiment?  or will these days and the people within them burn themselves into forever?

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3 responses to “the ghosts of our former youth

  1. Pingback: Follow Friday « All The Things I Wish I Wrote

  2. i enjoy thinking about and discussing memory (both in the specific and in the general).

    anyway, nothing much to add except that you my enjoy listening to this npr program on memory – http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/episodes/2007/06/08

  3. I’m still pushing you to be a writer. Great thoughts for a nostalgic day. Keep on rockin on craxy-

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